Hanging with a bunch of douche bag insiders for a week?
Performing on the telecast or winning one of the top four awards?
Welcome to 2018, where you just can’t get your message out. There’s too much noise. How are you going to cut through that clutter?
By appearing on the Grammy telecast.
Forget the declining numbers, forget the passage of the tweetstorm, don’t confuse your career interests with those of television and advertising. Your goal is to get your act seen and your music heard.
And the barrier to entry is nonexistent. As long as you can motivate people. That’s the hardest job today. How do you get people to click?
Don’t confuse the Grammys with the Oscars, totally different animal. Despite all the press, the Oscars are passe, movies don’t drive the culture, not even close. And you can’t click and hit play and watch the movies instantly after the telecast, most are unavailable, except in theatres, you’ve got to pay, and people forget. Whereas music is all about instant gratification. And this is a good thing. With a barrier to entry so low, you can hook people and then… Think like a tech company, gain fans first, then figure out how to monetize them. Putting the music behind a paywall is anathema. You’re cutting off your nose to spite your face. How you gonna get them to come to the show and buy your merch if they’ve never heard your music? Sure, YouTube can pay more, but not everyone is gonna subscribe to a streaming service, thank god for the Spotify free tier, back in the radio days not everybody bought music and that’s true today, although the value proposition is so good that over a hundred million people pay to subscribe.
Once again, you’ve got to get on the show. Which means you need a hit or a good manager or both. It’s a negotiation. U2’s new album is a complete stiff, but killing it on the telecast will help them sell tickets, their main driver. And despite you and me knowing that hip-hop drives the culture, many people tune out. But when they see rappers on the telecast…at least they’ll know what the rest of us are talking about, they too can become part of the discussion, they might even become fans!
And the great thing about music on television is it sucks. Especially if it’s loud and raucous. Which means you have to go to get the real experience. This is just an advertisement for the gig. And if you laugh, you’re missing the point. Everybody on this show has an audience, and after their heroes appear, they’re gonna talk about it endlessly, spreading the word.
And a nobody could become a star. That’s what happened to Chris Stapleton. He appeared on the CMAs and overnight he was anointed, winning helped too, seemed like all of his brethren dug him.
This is what occurred with Bonnie Raitt thirty years ago. But thirty years have passed. It’s about consumption, not purchase. We measure the after-effects differently. We want to know if people listen, if they’ve become FANS!
In the old days it was easy to keep up. A number one was known by everybody. Flip the radio dial and you could get an appraisal of the landscape in an hour. Watch MTV for an equal length of time and you knew what was going on. Now it’s all a mishmash, a cornucopia of influences with none seeming to dominate. The Spotify Top 50 is very different from the Mediabase chart, but the reason record companies focus on radio is because of the same thing here, it’s the easiest way to reach mass.
But radio is dying. Never ever listen to the prognosticators saying otherwise. They’re all in the industry. Just ask anybody under twenty if they’re listening. We live in an on demand culture and you stream not only at home, but in your automobile. Waiting for your favorite to come up is so twentieth century.
But we are human. We congregate, we want to be part of the mass. So we watch this show for various reasons. Insiders to rate and react, hipsters to judge, fans to swoon and outsiders to see what is going on. Get out of your bubble if you want to know the impact. We like rankings, we like coherence, we like to take the pulse of art and society.
So if you’re not on the telecast and you’re not up for one of the big awards, stay home, it’s a meaningless circle jerk wherein you think you’re important but you’re not. If the big acts have a hard time getting universal traction, what are your odds? Oh, so you want to put “Grammy Winner” on your bio… Well, think of all the greats who never won. And the organization has historically gotten it wrong time and again.
But if Kendrick wins instead of Jay Z this year…
His fanbase is only gonna get bigger. Because if everybody’s into it…
Maybe you should be too.