Bobby Owsinski wrote on his Blog music 3.0 that the biggest shift of the music industry was happening when MTV became the leading distribution channel for music instead of the radio.
Labels reacted by shifting from artist development to image development. If you look at old TV music shows back from the early 80s, witnessing the heros of our youth on stage, not knowing how to dance or move, some with incredible bad, nicotine stained teeth, obviously feeling uncomfortable within this setting of a TV studio and not in front of an audience, you’ll know what Bobby means.
Today an artist can only survive on screen, when he/she is dancing on pro level, looking good, having all PR and Image advise completely incorporated and acting accordingly.
Very rarely you come across ‘products’ that work without this whole set. Actually the same happened to the print market.
In Germany there was a publication called Galore, a monthly magazine featuring long(!) interviews only, all of extraordinary high quality. Now everybody KNEW this magazine, it was hip, considered state of the art in all media, but it had to close after only few issues, as obviously nobody did read it. It’s image was it – and even though it was a GOOD magazine – it was only an image thing, not a product that could survive on the market.
Most of us will agree that image can only exist based on substantial qualities. This is why we do labels, manage artists, publish magazines, write blogs. That bands like Green Day exist BECAUSE there used to be punk, references allow images, quality inherits even in revival or look alike products, there is a source, a truth, quality.
But I want to throw this into the discussion pit:
‘we are wrong! nobody gives a shit about quality, all they want is image, and it works. For them.’