TWERK VS. CONTENT
October 18, 2013
The terrifying thing is that the target demographic for this type of music is getting younger and younger. Jennifer Lopez seemingly trying to engulf the camera with her vagina on 'Britain's Got Talent' earlier this year." -- Charlotte Church, in her speech delivered at BBC 6 Music's annual John Peel Lecture ( Listen here to BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour special with Charlotte Church talking about the 'Culture of Demeaning Women in Pop Music' )
So, with all the "twerking," nudity on her "Wrecking Ball" video (and seemingly in as many places in the media as she could be naked), Miley Cyrus sold a whopping 275,000 units this week of her new album 'Bangerz.'
I suppose that's good in today's retail music market, but it's certainly not great, and I would think that with all the hype about Miley lately, some of her label's execs might have expected more. (Then again, maybe not if they were smart)
It's certainly better than her last effort because According to Billboard "Cyrus' last studio album, 2010's "Can't Be Tamed," debuted and peaked at 33 from a 102,000 start."
But still, it's been nothing but Miley everywhere since her first twerk on the VMAs, and I believe we've now seen just about every part of here body. So, 275,000 copies sold the first week out. That pales by comparison to the 968,000 thousand Justin Timberlake had in his first week with'/20 Experience' back in March. It also pales in comparison to Taylor Swift's first week sales, and others that will come as the holiday season approaches.
Nothing better evidences the fact of style (a la marketing) over content than Miley's recent antics, which in reality were of course all planned well in advance to launch 'Bangerz.'
But one need only look at the Billboard Top 200 chart every week to see the new albums debut and fall down fast in numbers fast to witness just how much style has impacted the charts, however briefly. This week (see the Top 20 albums below), there are 13 new album debuts in the top 20, and that means 13 other albums had to drop out. Look at the names of all the new album debuts (as well as some that fell out of the top 20) and see how many you'll remember in a week or two.
I quoted something Scott Shannon said years ago when he was doing promotion in the newsletter several times, "It's not how heavy you are, it's how long you're heavy."
Meaning of course, yeah it's great to have that #1 slot or that top 10 album on your resume, but it's a whole lot better of course to have your album stay on the charts a long time with steady sales week after week. The best example -- and most extreme -- of course would be Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side Of The Moon,' which had only one hit single, but stayed on the Billboard Top 200 Chart for 840 weeks. (Yes, you read that right)
But the most successful artists of today, such as Taylor Swift, Lady GaGa, Adele, Bruno Mars, Eminem, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Blake Shelton, Pink, Jason Aldean, Coldplay, Wilco, and many others, spend tens of weeks on the Top 200 Album Chart because they sell for long periods of time after great debuts.
Again, look at the Billboard chart below, and you'll see names that are nothing more than flares that will burn out fast. (Yet more evidence of REAL artist development and long-term A&R in the industry by most major labels)
Because in the end, again and again, it's about the MUSIC.
NOT the twerking.
NOT the nudity.
NOT the inane comments artists make that the media exploits.
NOT the sexy girls in every Rap video.
NOT the news about who is dating who, or who broke up with who.
NOT all the nonsense.
In the end, the twerk might work...but that's old news now, isn't it?
Yeah it is, and to sustain album sales Miley will have to do something new.
But, it will have little to do with the music she makes.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
COULD YOUTUBE HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM AS NEWSPAPERS?
In this week's Hollywood Torrent, TheWrap's Lucas Shaw explains why the video site may be in trouble. Watch his video at TheWrap
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
DAVID BYRNE DOESN'T LIKE STREAMING MUSIC SERVICES
From Rolling Stone, "David Byrne declared Monday that the richest one percent are draining New York's cultural resources, the former Talking Heads front man is leveling similar criticism at the Internet and streaming music services in a new essay for The Guardian, writing that the new landscape will leech away creative content from the world.
"For many music listeners, the choice is obvious – why would you ever buy a CD or pay for a download when you can stream your favorite albums and artists either for free, or for a nominal monthly charge?" he writes, noting that Spotify is the second largest source of digital music revenue for labels in Europe. But streaming services like Spotify, Byrne says, result in padded pockets for labels, not artists." Read the article
(Like it or not David, those services are here to stay)
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
THE BBC LAUNCHES IT PLAYER TO STREAM MUSIC FROM TV, RADIO, ONLINE, ETC.
Hypebot reports that BBC launched BBC Playlister this week.
The new service will allow music enthusiasts to create playlists of music heard over the BBC media properties, and export the playlists to their favorite music streaming service. Spotify, YouTube and Deezer are partners in the venture and will play tracks available from uploaded playlists. Read More
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
STILL MORE PROBLEMS FOR NETWORK TV EXECS
A new survey conducted by the New York Times, which presented the findings at the INMA Audience Summit in Las Vegas on Thursday, found that 34% of the so-called Millennial generation -- those born between 1980 and 2000 -- report watching no broadcast television.
Video hosting sites were the most popular (63%) for watching online video, compared to 44% for social media, 29% for TV network sites, 28% for news sites and 17% for sports sites.
The survey included only online video users, excluding those who do not watch any online video. Read more
AND AN INTERESTING ARTICLE FROM THE LOS ANGELES TIMES...
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
THINKING OF INVESTING IN THAT TWITTER IPO? READ THIS FIRST...
Twitter's investor problem? It's not popular enough.
Huh? Read the story at TheWrap
THE 'A-SIDE' - THE BONUS TRACKS
* Springsteen's Moving Suicide Cover
* Prince Throwing a Pajama Party at His House This Weekend
* Pink Floyd Play 'Dark Side' in 1994
* Queen Play With Elton John in 1997
* Van Morrison 'Moondance' Reissue Full of Rarities – Album Premiere
* Adam Clayton: New U2 Album Will Have 12 Songs
* Prince Serves Up Kinky Meal in 'Breakfast Can Wait'
* Lady Gaga Hints at 'ARTPOP' Sequel During Twitter Q&A
* Rare Nirvana Interview Surfaces
* Eminem Returning to 'SNL' In November
* 100 Best Stones Songs
* Musician's Guide To Prep For A Publicity Campaign
* Musicians Make Little While Music Services Make Billions
* Q&A With Steven Van Zandt: 'No Way You Could Predict My Life'
* 5 Movie Deaths That Should Have Been Really Easy to Avoid
* Best Buy will give you up to $350 for your Surface tablet
* Is the Bing It On Challenge a Little Off?
* Gorgeous Sonos Play:1 speaker hits the sweet spot
* Netflix in talks with US cable providers -- report
* Loud speakers for those who like to rock out
* Bose SoundTouch throws down multiroom audio gauntlet to Sonos
* Get a GoGroove wooden Bluetooth speaker for $44.99
* Get face to face with original 'Star Wars' artifacts
* New products announced at MobileCON 2013
* Windows 8.1: New features, but same problems
* Get a Turtle Shell rugged Bluetooth speaker for $79.95 shipped
Short News Items ...
British director Richard Lester has been named the recipient of the 2014 Career Achievement Award by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Lester, 81, is best known for the two films he made with the Beatles, 1964's 'A Hard Day's Night' and 1965's 'Help!' His movies of the '60s and '70s, many of them humorous and hyperkinetic, also included 'A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,' 'Petulia' and 'The Three Musketeers. Read the story at TheWrap
Class is now in session at the Taylor Swift Education Center at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The pop star cut the ribbon on her new namesake facility in Nashville during a ceremony on Saturday morning, showing off the museum's expansion to reporters and local high school students, the Associated Press reports.
...AND SWIFT CHANGE:
Taylor Swift says the follow-up to her multi-Platinum Red will show off another side of her as a songwriter. "The goal is to continue to change, and never change in the same way twice," she said after receiving an award from the Nashville Songwriters Association. Read More
THIS WEEK'S POP STAR MARRYING A MODEL, DEPT:
Pharrell Williams is a married man. The mult-italented producer-singer-designer-songwriter wed his longtime girlfriend, model Helen Lasichanh, on Saturday in Miami.
TINA AND AMY FOR THE GLOBES:
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will be returning to the Golden Globes for at least two more years. (and since The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is a joke in and of itself, this will make for great TV. Now all they need is Lorne Michaels to produce...)
GRATEFUL DEAD ALIVE AGAIN:
Grateful Dead fans who think they've heard it all are in for a treat. On November 29th, Rhino will issue 7,500 vinyl copies of a "lost show" recently discovered. The acoustic show took place at the Family Dog at the Great Highway in San Francisco on April 18th, 1970 and was originally billed as "Mickey Hart and His Heartbeats and Bobby Ace and His Cards from the Bottom of the Deck." A CD version will be available at Dead.net on the same day, with plans for a digital version in the future.
'WALKING DEAD' WALKING BIG:
Another all-time record. Sunday's zombie drama return delivered a huge 16.1 million viewers and an even-more-stunning 8.2 rating among adults 18-49. That's up 30% in the demo from the show's previous high (the season 3 finale). And, Exclusive Video: 'Walking Dead' Is Building Up to 'Something Huge'...Read the story at TheWrap
ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME NOMS:
The nominations for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Class of 2014 are in, and the list includes Nirvana, Kiss, the Replacements and Hall and Oates. The rest of this year's hopefuls are the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Chic, Deep Purple, Peter Gabriel, LL Cool J, N.W.A., Link Wray, the Meters, Linda Ronstadt, Cat Stevens, Yes and the Zombies. Read More
SURPRISE PET SOUNDS:
The last time Brian Wilson appeared at New York's Beacon Theater, he was a member of the reunited Beach Boys. This week, after splitting once again with cousin Mike Love, he returned with fellow founding members David Marks and Al Jardine, with fantastic results. Read More
WHERE A LOT OF THAT DISPOSABLE INCOME FROM TEENS NOW GOES TO, DEPT:
GamesIndustryBiz reports that Nintendo's Poketmon X and Y has sold more than 4 million copies in two days since release. Nintendo said that Pokemon was released simultaneously in Japan, Europe and America, over the weekend. Compared with other games, Pokemon X and Y is now the fastest selling 3DS game available in the world to date. Read More
Just four years after the Recording Academy honored Neil Young with an all-star tribute concert, they are once again honoring him. This time it's the Recording Academy Producers and Engineers Wing. The seventh annual ceremony will take place on January 21st and held at Village Studios in West Los Angeles. Past honorees include Chris Blackwell, Jimmy Iovine, Quincy Jones and T Bone Burnett.
SQUARESPACE ADDS MUSIC:
Hypebot reports that Squarespace is now adding Audio Collections to its fully loaded online website. The company provides a website building and hosting platform, which includes a variety of features like blogging, e-commerce and website templates. Audio Collections is an audio player designed by the company for uploading and playing digital albums, along with the display of artwork. Musicians like Chance the Rapper, Real Magic and The Lone Bellow, are already using Squarespace. Read More
HOT 100 MILESTONES:
The cast of Fox's "Glee" returns to the tally with its record-extending 207th entry, as its cover of the Bob Dylan-written "Make You Feel My Love" debuts at No. 84. Meanwhile, as "Everything Has Changed" (featuring Ed Sheeran) climbs 41-32, Taylor Swift moves past three iconic acts for sole possession of the 10th-most top 40 hits (42) in the chart's archives. 'Glee' Cast, Taylor Swift Add Hot 100 Milestones
EM AND KERRY:
Eminem will perform November 2nd on 'Saturday Night Live,' with 'Scandal' star Kerry Washington hosting.
Following last week's episode of 'Glee' – in which the cast bid farewell to Finn Hudson, the character played by recently deceased actor Cory Monteith – 'Glee' co-creator Ryan Murphy has revealed that he had to rethink the ending of the series, which will end with its sixth season next year.
The official Facebook page of the Platinum-selling all-female '80s band Vixen announced that founder and lead guitarist Jan Kuehnemund lost a fierce battle with cancer on Thursday, October 10th, 2013. Jan was 51.
Maxine Powell, the Miss Manners of Motown, who as the director of the label's in-house finishing school in the 1960s was considered in no small part responsible for its early success, died on Monday in Southfield, MI. She was 98. Her death was announced by the Motown Museum in Detroit.
Ed Lauter, the incredibly prolific character actor who played a butler in Oscar best-picture winner "The Artist" and whose film and television appearances numbered in the hundreds, has died. He was 74. Lauter was diagnosed in May with mesothelioma, a form of terminal cancer most commonly associated with exposure to asbestos.
Quotes of the week
"They're not good musicians, that's why. The best musician in the Stones is Charlie (Watts) by a country mile."
-- Ginger Baker in Rolling Stone, responding to the question why he doesn't ever see The Rolling Stones play live.
"If you're gonna riff, make sure you know where you're gonna end up."
-- Cher to 'Voice' contestant Monika Leigh during rehearsal for the second night of the battle rounds. (And "knowing where you're gonna end up" is a problem with too many vocalists on too many shows like 'The Voice')
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
Bruce Willis Seriously Considering Doing More Films
LOS ANGELES—Saying he hadn't ruled anything out with regards to his next career move, 58-year-old actor Bruce Willis announced this week that he was strongly considering the possibility of starring in more feature films.
Willis, whose long list of screen credits includes 'Pulp Fiction' and 'The Sixth Sense,' told reporters that while he had appeared in numerous movies already, he was still very much open to the idea of perhaps appearing in more movies, possibly even ones that fall under the genre of action or action-adventure.
The Music Industry Past, Present & Future, And The Internet I answer questions on EconTalk
I did an interview about the industry and the Internet at EconTalk with host Russ Roberts. Russ is also a professor of economics at George Mason University, blogs at Cafe Hayek, and has written three novels that teach economics. He's also the co-creator of the Keynes-Hayek rap video. (And if your understanding of the economic meltdown that occurred needs to be enlightened, this video will do it)
In the interview we talk about the evolution of the music industry, the impact of the digital revolution, and I give my reasons for believing in the virtues and potential of the Internet in enhancing the music industry. I point out, as I have many times here in the newsletter, that the internet allows numerous artists to make money from their music and it can enhance revenues from live performances by expanding an artist's base. We also discuss the challenges facing record companies and I suggest that the full potential of the Internet as a distribution channel has yet to be fully exploited. There's a lot of ground covered, but based on the comments already posted of those who have tuned in, they've enjoyed it.
Read more about it by clicking here.
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Smart Marketing Consulting Services has been in business sixteen years, and consults clients in the music, entertainment, attraction, media, and technology industry on branding, marketing, online exploitation, maximizing new media, and more.
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"Work is life, you know, and without it, there's nothing but fear and insecurity." -- John Lennon