"The Voice" has not broken a single act worldwide. Despite the onslaught of publicity, the only people who have benefited are the judges. You see the contestants are just like the show, they’re me-too. And we haven’t had an "American Idol" star since… Well, Kelly Clarkson is a worldwide star, Carrie Underwood made it in country and means nothing outside the U.S. and Daughtry has faded and if you think that guy Scotty means something, you probably believe country stars write and produce their own records.
In other words, conventional wisdom is wrong. You’re railing against TV reality shows and they’re meaningless.
But it’s not only television that’s me-too, it’s record labels, it’s the whole damn business. People keep doing it the way everybody else is doing it, not expecting a different result so much as being desirous of getting the few conventional scraps left in this business, radio airplay and record sales…in an era where electronic music is burgeoning and recorded music sales are irrelevant.
"Q: Hyundai has pushed the envelope in its car designs, and other companies are just now catching up with the Elantra and Sonata. How did you pull that off?
A: It just takes courage and a willingness to take risks. So with Sonata, the conventional orthodoxy in the industry was midsize cars should be styled conservatively. This is typical market research talking.
Q: Why would you take a risk on design when it was conventional wisdom not to?
A: Products starting with the ’05 Tucson and the ’06 Sonata were designed in a safe and conservative manner. It didn’t move the needle in terms of sales. You go through that and you finally see the pattern. You can’t just accept safe."
That’s John Krafcik speaking, the CEO of Hyundai Motor America.
Hyundais used to be a joke. Jay Leno said you could double a Hyundai’s value by filling it up with gas. Now Hyundai sales are burgeoning, they’re the most feared major car company.
It’s kind of like BMW. A perennial also-ran to Mercedes-Benz, BMW hired Chris Bangle, revolutionized design, conservatives were in an uproar but now BMW is the dominant luxury car company. It took a risk.
Are you taking a risk?
Mainstream music is so long in the tooth, it’s a wonder it hasn’t gone to the government for a handout. Wait, IT HAS! The content industries are lobbying all over the world for three strike rules, other ways to constrict the public. Once upon a time didn’t music LEAD the public?
That’s why I’m so excited by the electronic scene. They’re making it up as they go. And all the old players are looking through twentieth century lenses, employing metrics that don’t apply.
If you have a hot product, people want it.
But it’s got to be different, it’s got to challenge conventional wisdom, it’s got to appeal to people’s hearts more than their pocket books.
Otherwise how to explain Apple’s huge success in China? It’s not like the iPhone is cheap over there. We’ve been hearing about that market forever, but only Apple and a few car companies have cracked it. Apple’s success was due to excellence. Think about it, what musical act do we want to export to China, which one will wow them? None of the usual suspects, that’s for sure.
And nobody wants to go over there, to try and set a fire. Nobody wants to learn about the new ways, nobody wants to explore, they just want to do it the same old way to dwindling returns.
Music is a second-class citizen because it stopped innovating. It’s no different from GM. Similar to Kodak. If you keep on doing the same thing you end up in the dustbin, the public ignores you and moves on.
Music is first and foremost about innovation. Taking risks, creating something new that strikes people’s hearts. And now it’s easier than ever, with all the tools at the fingertips of the proletariat. But the proletariat is in most cases dumb. Just complaining that it’s been locked out of the major leagues. It’s like a young fighter complaining about corruption in boxing when all the action’s in the UFC.
Yup, the UFC killed boxing. By breaking all the rules, by being different, by appealing to the audience.
If you think music appeals to its audience, I’m laughing.
Here you’ve got an entire industry with contempt for its audience. Music is overpriced and producers can’t stop railing about theft. Concert tickets are stratospheric and you can’t get a good one. Do you really think going down this road is going to pay dividends?