The Kids These Days…
One of the ideas or thoughts I have always tried to avoid is getter bitter about the music industry and pointing to different examples of why music is terrible these days and that it was soo much better in the time of XXXX. It doesn’t serve me and it certainly doesn’t serve you.
Let’s go through a brief history. At least the history where I was involved in the music business and I was observing trends. As humans, we evolve. And even more rapidly, businesses evolve to the changing market forces inside and outside their industries. The music business and artists are not immune to this.
Before MTV, what an artist looked like and how they were marketed was not as much of a priority. It was all about the music. People found music and artists they loved by listening to the radio and the “look” of an artist was very secondary.
When MTV came into the picture, that all changed dramatically. All of these great artists were suddenly forced to make videos. Which meant that people can now see these artists close up. Many times a day. So what they looked like, mattered. Many great artists weren’t up to the task and looked pretty silly trying to pull it off but that’s the battle they were facing.
Over time, we started getting artists that looked even better than their music. Some of them didn’t play at all while others were barely competent. But they looked great.
This went on for a while as artists did start to become better while their required look was a constant but then a thing called piracy hit. Just like that, the labels were bleeding cash and profits. They could no longer afford to market the artists the way they did in the past.
In walked in the pre-marketed artist. Artists that were already successful in other fields. If you were an actor or an actress on TV or movies, you could make a record. In fact, the record labels preferred this route. You already had a marketing and promotional team. The label just had to make the record. You were a known entity.
Again, this was not ideal as actors and actresses are not going to be your best musical talent but it did sell records with a cheaper investment. At least, on the marketing side.
Luckily, that trend has gone away. Unfortunately, you do still need to look great but because the marketing budgets are smaller for all artists, everyone has a shot. The rewards aren’t as plentiful but the artistry has improved dramatically.
I can think of no better time where the talent pool has been so rich. Where pop stars can actually sing and great writing is still viewed as an asset. I no longer hear bad songs performed by pretty people. The industry has evolved to a place where you do need both, but that’s a great thing for us listeners. I still believe that the best song performed by the best artist is still the best avenue to take and the eye candy, while required, is just the whip cream on the top.
And while technology has made it easier and easier to make great records, it never seems to replace the great song performed by the best talent. And hopefully, it never will again. RIP the 80s. :)
You can learn more by watching my videos at www.groove3.com
I hope this message finds you well. Kenny Gioia