I work in the music industry as a singer songwriter and record company director. I have been running my own record label ‘Redhed Records’ for the last 5 years and am grappling with the vast changes in the way music is marketed and accessed.
To me there seems to be two quite distinct routes to introduce and bring an artist to the attention of a music lover.
Historically, the traditional and familiar model the major record companies have used for the last 60 years to create successful album and ticket selling artists. Our stars appear from no-where and as if by magic are suddenly all over our TV’s, radios, magazines, stages and generally flooding our consciousness. The gorgeous, sexy demi-gods alongside the unique, talented and bizarre conspire to create the magical and heady business of Rock and Roll. In reality, sexy, talented or not, they are also at the forefront of a very strategic, powerful, clever and expensive marketing campaign known as ‘The Big Push’. Audibly and visually bombarded we become buyers.
Part of the reason it worked, I think, was the inherent mystery of the whole thing. It created potency. Working as a team, the artist’s star quality and the environment that was created for them by the label was an unstoppable force with the inner workings remaining just that. Now, however, with the huge popular success of the reality TV shows the internal, commercial machinations are well exposed and the artists revealed as little more than fronts for much less attractive mortals.
Who is responsible for exposing the process and bursting this particular bubble? Is it Simon Cowell for showing us Leona Lewis working in the call centre before entering the X factor on prime time TV? Do we believe it now when we see her glammed up on the front cover of vogue?