What kind of crazy fucked up world do we live in where the agents are hipper than the acts?
Rob Light at the “Billboard” Touring conference:
“Beyonce could learn a thing or two from ‘This American Life”s ‘Serial’ podcast. ‘It’s the single hottest podcast, and it makes geniuses every Thursday when a new podcast comes up – 1 million people are logged on. That’s how we have to distribute music. Why isn’t some artist once a week getting on live, talking about how he wrote a particular song and creating a way every Thursday to see what’s new? The fallacy of the Beyonce stunt, while it was brilliant in its moment, was that most people never listened to all 17 songs or watched all 17 videos. She should have been releasing a new song every Thursday for 17 weeks and engaging us every time.”
That’s right, while you’re sitting at home perfecting your piece of shit album that’s an hour long that’s got more mediocre than delicious in a world where we’ve only got time for great bitching about Spotify payments all the while the public has moved on. As Rob indicates above, despite an idiotic fawning press that treats everything dropped by a superstar who grants access as incredible, the public shrugs, continues to play “Candy Crush” or the saga of the moment, and moves on.
Instead of building that track in the studio, build it online!
Yup, week one is the basics, the drums and the bass. Eventually layer it up to the point where the final week the entire track is complete. Hell, even if it wasn’t a hit we’d be intrigued. Hell, we’d be debating all the time online whether it was until it was finished! Meanwhile, you’d get instant feedback, but more importantly, attention.
But ain’t that the music business. Where the artists’ heads are stuck up their asses believing it’s still all about middlemen when the truth is we live in a direct to fan culture, music is still the canary in the coal mine, it’s not about what you get paid per stream, but whether you’ve got fans or not, whether they’re bonded to you.
In other words, the biggest act in the world is One Direction. And it’s not driven by radio, they’ve barely had any hits, but their career is driven by the Internet and fan interaction.
But Beyonce got a lot of press. We heard about her wannabe divorce. It must have worked.
But the truth is music used to be about risk. It used to be about vulnerability. It used to have warts such that people couldn’t help but embrace those who made it. They were put on a pedestal because they touched the audience’s soul, not because they were rich and famous and dated beautiful people.
But I give Beyonce credit. As I did Radiohead with “In Rainbows.” But those were stunts, one and done. We’re still looking for how to match the music to the audience, getting people to embrace it. And it will only work when it is about the music, not about delivering cookies to your cadre, or delivering tchotchkes via Kickstarter. That’s the penumbra.