The Kardashian Paradigm

Kim Kardashian is the biggest star of the twenty first century.

Because she told us so. Because she and her family realized the way you win today is by being the story, day after day, month after month, year after year.

The hip-hoppers know this, it’s why Drake releases a steady stream of product. He’s satiating his customers. He’s the biggest star in their universe.

And Taylor Swift won not because she’s that damn good, certainly not since she went pop, but because she owned the news cycle, inviting reporters to her house, baking cookies for fans, the music was an afterthought, the campaign was king.

Kind of like Donald Trump. The reason he’s winning in the polls is because he’s dominated the news cycle, it’s all Trump, all the time. And like the Kardashians, the Donald knows that controversy sells, and that the audience knows you’re playing a game and gives you a break. Nobody thinks Kim Kardashian has any talent and few believe that Trump is really gonna build a wall and do the rest of the outrageous things he says. He’s just vying for attention.

And it works.

You might be living in the last decade, wherein quality could go viral. But now you’re the sucker. The audience has been buried in a tsunami of hype, of forwarded articles, there’s so much information that they ignore most of it, no matter how good the underlying content might be, they just gravitate to what’s been anointed by the media.

But the tail might still wag the dog.

That’s the story of the year, how Bernie Sanders got no love from the media but was revealed to own the youth vote and be a significant challenger to Hillary despite being labeled an irrelevant socialist. As for that moniker, does it mean anything anyway, since the Republicans have labeled Obama a socialist his entire term?

And then we have the surprise victory of Chris Stapleton at the CMAs. Turns out the voters were sick and tired of the formula, no calorie snacks known as today’s country music. They reacted.

So when there’s a vote…

Don’t trust the polls. People just say they like who’s being promoted, they figure no one else counts. Not that many people love Trump. But they do hate the establishment.

Do they hate the music too?


The self-promoting made by committee Top Forty stuff gets love from those still addicted to the old formula, the radio game. But is that really where America’s heart is today?

So there you have it. If you don’t control the discussion, if you’re not a media maven, you’re irrelevant. You’re playing the old game, releasing an album every other year not knowing it’s over in a weekend and people are wondering what you’ve done for them lately. You can’t bubble up from the bottom. And the other radio formats are nearly irrelevant, because except for the diehards, everybody’s abandoned them, there’s no there there. Come on, if you haven’t been amazed who’s number one at Active Rock or some other meaningless format you’re making your living chasing the meager returns in those genres from the brain dead people who believe that music still counts.

In the twenty first century you’ve got to tell a story every damn day. And if you’re sitting there saying you’re an artist and you want to do it like they did in the seventies…chances are you weren’t alive back then, when people of your ilk could not even get a record deal.

So start by creating and talking and pushing the envelope constantly. The press may not have cared, but Bernie was out stumping incessantly.

And Bernie’s the anti-Kim. She’s style, he’s substance. She’s plastic surgery, he’s Geritol. And it turns out in this topsy-turvy world we live in we’re looking for authenticity. That’s why Trump succeeds, he says what no one else will but we all know as the truth. We’re hungry for the truth.

Hillary’s a great politician, but she’s so busy polling she’s got no idea what the truth is anymore. Truth is intrinsic, you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. You just combine your education with what comes across the plate and make a judgment.

I’m excited about the future. Turns out the American public has no time for b.s. And those who thought they were in control are not. You could wipe D.C. off the map and most people wouldn’t care. The elected officials are sold out whores who will do whatever it takes to keep their jobs. Meanwhile, those they supposedly represent can’t get a job, certainly not one that pays the bills.

And we’re so long in the tooth with meaningless music made by the usual suspects that a revolution is gonna come and wipe it all out. Don’t doubt me, just ask all the acts that disappeared from the chart after the Beatles came out.

But there will be very few winners. That’s what tech teaches us, we gravitate to the best, to where everybody else is. And we don’t need no me-too. Come on, is there a reason for Bing to exist? So there will be very few successful artists. And I say hallelujah, I’m sick of the cluttering of the airwaves and inboxes by the marginally talented who can play because the new tools have democratized creation.

But those few who win won’t sit on the mountaintop with their arms crossed. No, they’ll be part of the discussion, we’ll hear about them every damn day. Just like it was Adele all day long from mid-November until New Year’s.

But what has she done for us lately? Does anybody know anything but “Hello”? The soccer moms drove her album up the charts but she’s not even on streaming services. She’s thinking she won, but she’s losing. She should be on TV constantly. She should be doing covers on YouTube. She should get down in the pit and be one of us. Putting out an album we all buy and promptly forget? That’s so old school as to be laughable.

But the media propped the story up.

The media is where we now live. We don’t want the words of the unanointed, we want to know you’re somebody, with a track record, with veritas.

Trump won the media war.

Will he win the election? Even the nomination?

Only the people will tell you.

But one thing’s for sure, those who thought they were in control, who were telling us they knew, who were pulling the strings…

Are not.

We want story.

We want truth.

And we want to know that everybody else is paying attention and you’re important.

That’s how you win today.

And those who will win tomorrow won’t play the old game, and they’ll be a whole hell of a lot more trustworthy than the bozos we’ve been paying attention to for years.

That’s right, Kim Kardashian opened the floodgates.

But she’s gonna be washed away.

But who replaces her?

That’s gonna be fascinating.

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