Why are artists now more successful in music?

, posted: 22-Mar-2012 12:44

Stuff has an article about how One Direction have made music history:

One Direction have made music history by becoming the first British group to top the US charts with their debut album.

The boyband - comprising of Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson - have been making waves in America with their first album Up All Night, which recently claimed the top spot on iTunes in the country.

One Direction have now seen their popularity rise and have made musical history with their Billboard chart success.

(One Direction came about from X-Factor 2010)

This news, which was announced yesterday in the States, reminds me of the blog post 12 extremely disappointing facts about music - it outlines what some of today's artists have achieved when compared to artists from the past.  My favourites include:

  • Ke$ha's "Tik-Tok" sold more copies than ANY Beatles single
  • Flo Rida's "Low" has sold 8 million copies - the same as The Beatles' "Hey Jude"
  • The Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling" is more popular than any Elvis or Simon & Garfunkel song
  • Katy Perry holds the same record as Michael Jackson for most number one singles from an album
  • The cast of Glee has had more songs chart than the Beatles

Depressing huh?

Why is it so easy for artists today to break music records?  I think it comes down to two main points:

  • Ease of distribution - never before have we had the internet on more devices (smart phones, iPads for example) and we are able to easily view, listen, buy and download music in more places (iTunes, YouTube).  Add to this, all the reality TV shows (X-Factor, American Idol, America's Got Talent) which are all advertising platforms for the music labels, you can reach a wider audience, and get music to them quicker.
  • Music formulas - labels know what makes a successful song, and they are now applying it harder than ever.  Don't believe me? Ask yourself, why do popular songs last around 3.5 minutes, only consist of four chords, and have the same basic structure (intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge/rap, chorus).  Ever notice how popular dance/dub step is now? The labels do, and that's why it's being included (for example, see Nicki Minaj's latest song, Starships).

My test for a "real" artist is someone who sounds live exactly as they do on their recordings - very hard to apply digital tweaking (think airbrushing in Photoshop) in a live environment.

(Had to admit it, but I'll still happily rock out to one of these crappy pop song.)

Look forward to your thoughts in the comments below.

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New Zealand

I'm Nate Dunn, and I work for 3Bit, and am a moderator here at Geekzone.

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