Creating an artist was the very essence of the music industry, the one thing that made it great. And with great artists came long careers, their music would stand the test of time and enrich people’s lives. Th great artists of yesteryear would also influence the up and coming artists of tomorrow, they longed to have success and be recognized for their work and the one thing that has allowed it to become a shadow off it’s former self is that that no longer applies. Real artists have careers and during any career you build a body of work, you create a legacy and that legacy is something you can sell, indefinitely and sell to the next generation of people keen to discover music. Over the years the artist benefited from a music industry swelling with a backroom of talent. It was the creative infrastructure of the music industry and what I like to call ‘The Engine Room.’ It’s where collaborations were born and where the road used to begin.
When you signed to a record company it was the beginning, it meant the start of a relationship. And the better the relationship the greater the chance of success. You see success was something everyone used to share and it was an industry that drove people to succeed. The pleasure was shared with everyone because everyone played an equal part. Today with a rapidly diminishing return I don’t think it’s a unity, it’s a jungle mentality. Eat or be eaten, artist against the record company. They want a piece of every part of the pie.
Many of the things that worked so well in the past seem to be lacking today. Yet so many of these things are quite simple when you think about it. Everyone is scared of losing their jobs and even the artists nowadays are scared of being dropped. Why should that be any different though? It’s supposed to be a risk business, it’s supposed to be about taking chances and pushing out that little bit further. We lost our mavericks and we lost our risk takers. We lost our innovators and we lost our way. We are not creating anything anyone is going to remember. And before I hear you say Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift or Kelly Clarkson, Beyonce, Justin or even Jay Z. They’ll be here next year but I doubt they’ll be here next decade.
The relationships were everywhere, the artist with their manager, the manager with the label, the label with the publisher. Then the producer and the A and R manager and it went on. The only thing that may have changed as we face up to the demise of the ‘pop star’ is that the fan has a closer relationship with the artist. Or they should have if both parties are reaching out like they should. Today artists should be connecting with their audience, a bit like John Mayer until he has his sudden whacko swings towards lunacy and he over communicates to the detriment of others and damages something he worked so hard at creating.