The Next Big Superstar
Daniel Watters asks:
In your lectures, you often talk about the next artist that everyone will unite under and a new genre will be born. However, i am a little speculative about this. A phenomenon like The Beatles could likely not happen in today's age because people are simply exposed to too much information and media via the Internet. And at the dusk of the post modern record industry, there is no longer any money to advertise and force artists down the throat of consumers. So at this point, what people listen to is becoming more of their own choice (or the choice of bloggers who advise the public). So in an age where customization and niche marketing (Have it your way!) dominate, doesn't it make sense that people will be more inclined to develop smaller niche "Idols" that they associate with more personally than a one all-consuming superstar?
There will be a next big thing. It would defy history for that not to occur. Digital technology has leveled the playing field and exposed The Music Renaissance. There is more music in play, across more genres and into more listening devices than ever before. Access is instant and free to the taker.
The traditional format for the postmodern record business was to select and push certain songs through radio to a thirsty audience. The listeners in turn selected from the short list what would become their favorite songs. Those are called hits. This system still dominates the top of the charts, but does not accrue high volume sales as in the past. There is only one platinum album from a new artist in the Billboard top 100 for the entire year.
The Internet provides an easy access, facile system for exposing new artists and their songs. This is the new radio. The main difference is there are an infinite number of stations where one can access their music choices. This creates a niche marketplace where any style of music can be explored and distributed to an infinitely broad base of music fans.
Low cost recording and easy promotional systems put the artist in charge of his own destiny. He no longer needs endorsement from an archaic system. He can invent himself on the Internet. If he has talent his music will be spread by armies of music mavens who want to discover the next big thing first. All that it will take to succeed is a vigilant interactivity that puts the artist in direct contact with the potential fan base for his music. Quality will tell the rest of the tale.
Even though millions of artists participate, the percentage of viable professionals will remain low. Approximately ten percent of the contenders will earn one hundred percent of the money. Those who succeed in making it to the survival plateau will compete for a ubiquitous audience. Sooner or later a supremely gifted artist will offer the right songs in the right package and it will spread around the Internet in a virtual explosion of enthusiastic file sharing. This will begin in a niche market, even from an obscure or original genre, but when that superstar rises everybody will know about it, and many will follow, creating the next big music movement. It will take a lot of telnet, charisma, sex appeal and luck, but it will happen.