This post comes to you from HTMH listener and should totally be a famous blogger, Rachel. You can also follow her on Twitter at @seewhatyoumeme
So today I was finally able to listen to Episode 8 of Hey! That’s My Hummus.
Ok, so I’m a little behind. I’ll blame it on the apocalypse.
The third segment of the podcast inspired some thoughts on pop music. Faiqa and Shiny pondered whether Rebecca Black as Internet sensation was “the future of pop music.”
Here are my thoughts:
I’m an admitted music snob. My tastes are eclectic and run the gamut from well known acts like Dave Matthews, The Black Eyed Peas, and Allison Krauss to lesser known musicians like Vinx, Nickel Creek, and Sonos. Never heard of those last three artists? Check ‘em out! You won’t be sorry.
Pop music is here to stay. Popular songs have been a part of the American landscape since Stephen Foster raged onto the scene in the 1800s with Camptown Races, Oh! Susanna, and Swannee River. Remember those rockin’ tunes? Through the decades, popular music comes and goes. So do pop artists.
Admittedly, the Internet has made pop stardom more accessible for the amateur musician with superstar aspirations but I think that pop stars can be classified into one of four categories:
Exhibit A: The Average Joe/Jane One-Hit Wonder: These are the musicians who catch their big break thanks to the viral video or an opportunity to appear on a reality show. They hit the airwaves and catch their 15 minutes of fame but 6 months..2 years…5 years from now, we’ll see them on Where Are They Now? Examples: Rebecca Black, Susan Boyle, Taylor Hicks
Exhibit B: The Average Joe/Jane With Staying Power: Like the previous example, these musicians find success with a lucky break but thanks to a convergence of just the right elements: good connections, a marketing plan, and (oh yeah) talent, they’re not only getting top 10 hits but winning awards, expanding their career, and making a living as a musician. Kudos! Examples: Jennifer Hudson, LeAnn Rimes, Carrie Underwood
Exhibit C: The Traditional Pop Star Trajectory: Then there are the “signed” artists. These are the musicians who are discovered and contracted by the increasingly irrelevant music labels (more on that in a minute). Supposedly, these folks are vetted by the record execs for talent, poise, and star power. They rise to the scene with varying degrees of success and their staying power is just as volatile. You’d think their chances of success (monetary and otherwise) would be a sure thing but that doesn’t seem to be the case. A few who stand the test of time: Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, and Queen Latifah.
Exhibit D: The Grassroots Internet Sensation: Finally, there are musicians who find success and rise out of their relative obscurity thanks, in large part, to the world-wide-web. These days, technology allows any schlub with a video camera and some recording equipment the opportunity to market and sell their music on the Internet (either through iTunes or their own websites). Unsigned artists finally have a way to rise from the status of Wedding Singer to Rock Star with just a few clicks. My favorite example of this is Jonathan Coulton who left his job as an IT professional to make it as a musician. He’s sold and marketed his music through his website and social media word-of-mouth. His take-home pay last year? Almost $500,000! Other examples include Ani DiFranco and Pomplamoose (now finding success with Hyundai Commericals).
Pop Stars: One Hit Wonders, Viral Video Flameouts, Reality Stars, and Bonafide Overnight Success Stories.
There’s room for everyone thanks to the World-Wide-Web. If you’re lucky enough, you might be next!
Do you have an idea for a guest post based on any of our episodes? E-mail us at hey[at]heythatsmyhummus[dot]com