Question of the Week: 2

My friend asked me the other day, “Who do you think is the new King of Pop?”  We debated about JT’s staying power, I thought about Bono but didn’t mention it.  My conclusion: there is none.

Music has changed. Pop isn’t as popular, it seems.  We are less reliant on record labels and MTV for our music these days.  Even some of my favorite sub-genres have their own sub-genres now.  Will there ever be another recording audience with such mass appeal?  Look at “Thriller”- all 9 songs on that album made the Billboard top 10 and the album went platinum- 28x platinum.

Question of the Week: Will there ever be another King of Pop?

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Published in: on July 7, 2009 at 7:16 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. Madonna.

    I’m kidding. To answer yes, I’d have to impose all kinds of conditions. For example, we could limit ourselves to some authority’s catalog of “pop” artists, then measure who had the most albums with every song in the Billboard Top X and/or re-licensed for commercial use, plus CD and concert ticket sales, over a given period of time. Also, we should acknowledge and correct for extra-musical things in the artists’ lives, like scandals and political involvements. That would give us a quanatative answer, but not be very much fun. After all, we are critics and lovers of good music, not record label executives.

    Short-lived princes and princesses squabble in the court all the time, but my king will probably never be the same as yours. A song might last a season or a year, but even then, the music will tend to saturate a niche rather than appeal widely – it’s called Long Tail marketing, and it’s how things work in globalised markets like music distribution. You’ve heard of globalisation, right Brian?

    Michael Jackson pushed, defined, and owned pop in the 80’s, just as the Beatles (arguably) did in the 60’s, but that’s all done, just like nobody will ever be the king of TV producers or the king of movie directors, either.


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