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Entries in debut (1)

Tuesday
Oct302012

The Social Media Bandwagon: Everybody "Likes" a Winner

Mumford & Sons released their 2nd album Babel a few weeks ago. It’s hard to know what any listeners think of it. But one thing we all seem to know — Babel sold 600,000+ copies in its first week. That statistic was re-blogged and re-tweeted thousands of times, blindly hailing “the best debut of 2012.” Everybody {likes, re-tweets, +1’s} a winner.

Does a splashy debut lose significance as media transitions from the physical to weightless digital? We’ll get to that later. In any case, debut has replaced legacy as a benchmark of worth.

Artistic works that build their audience slowly and sustain it for long periods are becoming rare. Most works live and die with their debut. Open big or enjoy staying under the radar. In music, Adele’s 21 is the most recent outlier. No one saw it coming, and then nothing could displace it for more than a year. In the back catalog, Pink Floyd’s enduring hit Dark Side of the Moon returned to the Billboard Top 200 (at #156) for the week ending 21-Oct-2012. That’s 817 (non-consecutive) weeks on the chart (more than 15 chart-years).

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