Madonna: The Rolling Stone Interview
“Feeling regret is really destructive. I’ve learned a lot from my marriage – mostly about myself.”
Here we learned everything about Madonna in the 1989 interview with Rolling Stone Magazine. We learned about her marriage, regrets, sleeping habits and run-ins with the police. It was transparent, at least we believe it was honest. It was a good read though, especially for fans of Madonna. Moreover, the biggest female celebrity in the world had a chance to show her human side talking about insecurities and fears.
Today, artists control the narrative. In many cases, the biggest artists won’t even engage in tell-all interviews. Taylor Swift won’t. Drake dropped out from giving any substantial interviews. Here is the difference. In 1989, celebrity journalism made a significant impact in the lives of artists. Consequently, social media replaced it. Artists are in 100% control of the narrative. Instead of talking with their audience in an interview setting, they “talk-at” their audience by means of scheduled social media posts. Which means? The death of celebrity press.
The New York Times says this:
“Since the 1960s, in-depth interviews have been a crucial part of the star-making process, but also a regular feature of high-level celebrity maintenance — artists didn’t abandon their obligations to the media just because they had reached the pinnacle of fame. Answering questions was part of the job. It was the way that the people making the most interesting culture explained themselves, whether it was John Lennon on the breakup of the Beatles, Tupac Shakur speaking out from jail, or Courtney Love in the wake of Kurt Cobain’s death. It was illuminating to fans, but also something of a badge of honor for the famous, especially when the conversations were adversarial. Stars like Ice Cube and Madonna used to thrive in those circumstances — the interviews revealed them to be thoughtful, unafraid of being challenged and alive to the creation of their image.”
As the internet grew, it eroded the monopoly and the effectiveness of print publications.
“When stars’ comings and goings began to be documented on a minute-by-minute basis, those changes triggered celebrity reticence. On its own, that wouldn’t signal the death knell of celebrity journalism as it’s been practiced for decades. But the pressure being applied to celebrity journalism from the top might pale in comparison to the threat surging from below, where a new generation of celebrities — YouTube stars, SoundCloud rappers, and various other earnest young people — share extensively on social media on their own terms, moving quickly and decisively (and messily) with no need for the patience and pushback they might encounter in an interview setting.”
Instead of spilling her emotions in a TV interview, Ariana Grande wrote a heartfelt message on Instagram with the passing of her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller. Lil Xan documented his life struggles on social media that included relationship problems to health issues. What was once reserved for TV or a publication is all revealed on social media. Imagine The Beatles documenting their trip to India on Instagram. Consequently, if The Beatles existed during the time of social media, Paul McCartney wouldn’t be on the cover of GQ telling the untold stories. The stories would have all been told in real-time.