The power of the internet has created an entirely new avenue for businesses to promote their products. Along with traditional businesses, this avenue has been most utilized by independent acts (musicians and comedians), whom have used sites such as myspace and youtube as promotional vehicles in the place of traditional media (MTV and commercial radio), that would otherwise never play their stuff. The great thing about this is that where MTV and radio cannot go, internet marketing is able to go around the world and back again. This has the added effective of bringing in even more fans and ultimately more consumers. Independent artist can cut out the major record labels as they are no longer needed to develop and grow a fan base. I previously discussed the power of internet marketing as a promotional tool in the article The Rise of the Myspace Artist. [This article will focus more on the product aspect rather the promotional side.]
The problem with giving every one a voice, is that people who have yet to cultivate their talent or in other words “suck” can still be heard. And perhaps, even make money of their lack of talent (anyone remember William Hung? guys probably a coke sniffing millionaire in Hong Kong right now). Although, this is the entertainment business, and whatever is entertaining should naturally receive the most “eyeballs”, this may erode the importance of talent and artistry within this anything goes culture.
We are on a slippery slope of sorts as music and other forms of art are allowed to be promoted, before the product itself is fully developed. This means the artist actually has a talent and has something to say. Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact the internet has given power to unheard artist with talent who otherwise we would have never known about. Take Russel Peters, a famous Indo-Canadian comedian, who through the help of youtube has been able to achieve worldwide success and even sold out the Rogers Centre three days in a row. People think Russel’s success was overnight, but in actuality he had been playing small clubs for over twenty years until a few years back someone uploaded his CBC special on to youtube. But the thing with Russel Peters is that he was prepared, his talent had been cultivated over decades! It was only natural he would blow.
Every single artist must make sure their talent competes with what’s on the traditional forms of media before even attempting to make a myspace page. If you are looking for feedback from anonymous people on the internet and your product is not up to par, you run the risk of damaging your name and may even be deterred to continue developing your craft. After all internet critics are extremely harsh (ahem “YoRapper.com“) for the simple fact that there is so much crap out there. Back in the day, A&Rs would go to shows and maybe see five garbage acts per night, today I personally see 500 garbage acts online per day.
In the UK, the rise of the Indian-Urban scene has turned so many brown kids into either aspiring rappers or singers, (depending on how handsome they are and if they can sing “a” note). In the US, every single Black kid who can mumble a few words together has a myspace page claiming to be the next best thing. In Canada, it’s the same, except its dweeby white kids exercising their god given right to get their eternal wigger on. Obviously, the product has suffered substantially. Aspiring artist need to focus on competing with the big dogs in order to attain credibility in the eyes of the tastemakers. Until then, you’ll just be another target for YoRapper.