The modern music industry is a business of numbers. Number of records sold, number of shows played, price of guarantees, number of radio spins, number of downloads, etc etc. All of these values are maintained with the hopes of calculating the odds of success with any given band. In this paradigm, the artists that rise to the top are either extremely talented musicians with a good sense of melody and hooks, or extremely talented business people with a good sense of marketing and promotion. Either way, the numbers must add upâ€¦to something.
Similar to beefing up a resume for a new job, a one-time gig pay out of $500 at a friendâ€™s birthday party, a third pressing of a cd due to stolen boxes, being the 10th caller on a radio station, or an opening spot in a â€˜sold outâ€™ benefit gig can greatly increase a smaller bandâ€™s worth when spun right. This small scale fuzzy math only gets bigger and more complicated the higher up you go. A platinum selling artist doesnâ€™t have to sell a million copies. A number one radio song in the country can sometimes be attributed to less than 20 stations. Somewhere, there is a cluster of intern computers with 10 thousand copies of a particular itunes exclusive. Surveys and tests that claim a random sampling are usually anything but, and results stay in line with whatever the conductor was out to prove in the first place. Ever notice how every radio station is #1? Everything from the collection of the data to the results can be manipulated and skewed in whichever direction youâ€™d like.
Most people know this goes on and they turn a blind eye, if for no other reason than complete disinterest. The â€˜bandwagonâ€™ strategy seems to work better on music executives than most music listeners. I donâ€™t care how many copies of â€˜Glitterâ€™ Mariah shipped to retail, or how much she paid for the chart position, I know sucks when I hear it. After factoring in spin, payola, human error and hype, numbers become virtually pointless. So the real question is, if numbers donâ€™t really mean anything, how is anyone to know if a new band is good or not? Your guess is as good as mine.
In other news, Kings of A&R is ranked the #1 music site in the history of the internet according to our latest poll of staff members.