What is the connection between Bill Haley and the Comets, The Beatles, The Swedish pop group ABBA, Nigel Kennedy (violinist) and Britney Spears? They all have one thing in common; They did something different.
Bill Haley and The Comets
During the 1950’s bands usually played for dance. Suddenly one band started using electric guitars and changed the music. Instead of playing usual dance music, they did something just a few other bands did. They were playing rock’n’roll, a completely new way of performing music. This started a new trend and rock’n’roll was the new music for young people, everyone would listen to and dance to rock’n’roll. Bill Haley and The Comets were the big stars.
This completely changed the music business at the time. Since more and more bands started to play rock’n’roll, there was a new generation getting the attention, and the songwriters had to change their style. Songwriters were engaged by the record companies. In this way the record companies managed to get more control over the growing income from the music business. Every new band played the same songs, some got on the radio and some of the bands even got on television. In the late 50′ and early 60’s there were so many bands that you had to be on television to get famous.
The Beatles started out as a group of young boys wanting to play some music. They were of course playing rock’n’roll, like everyone else. After having some success in Germany, they started making their own music. They recorded “Love Me Do”, a completely new song, made by themselves. This was not a usual thing to do at the time, but since they had such a success with that, everyone else started writing their own songs. From that moment you had to do something else to succeed as a band.
This was of course a golden age for record companies, they didn’t have to hire people to write the music, since the artists did it themselves, but they were the ones having all the expensive equipment you needed to record the music. The manager of the bands had to be creative to make sure that their bands had a continuing success, and as long as they kept coming up with new ideas, the bands stayed popular.
Popular music changed over the years and since the word popular is a rather long word, it changed into the shortened version, pop.
Learning from the rock’n’roll “boost”, pop music got more and more attention by completely others that the rock’n’roll fans. New styles were for other people and the Swedish pop group ABBA suddenly appearing in a more glamorous way than others. The world welcomed their entrance in the music business from their success in European Song contest.
This group consisting of two married couples, represented something new in the music business. Families working together, not just one couple, but two couples, dressed up in glamorous costumes showing the world that you didn’t have to be a rock’n’roll artist to make a success. The men in the band wrote all the music, and the women were singing. Working together, travelling the world as a family became a famous way of wanting to do a career in the music business, and it seemed that everyone could do it.
Starting out as a child star with his brothers, Michael Jackson, grew up and did his own career. He even got the title “King of pop”. His music, was of course the beginning of his success, but the way he made his videos made him a lot more attention than his competitors. He was not just singing and dancing in his videos, he told a complete story. The videos also had a start without the music, getting the attention from the start by being quite different from all the others. Videos became more important for everyone and since he could do it, everyone else did it too. Michael Jackson kept his lead, though, by doing everything differently than the others. Standing out from the crowd, was one of his great skills.
Nigel Kennedy – violinist
There have been other ways of standing out from the crowd. A violinist, Nigel Kennedy, a great musician, playing a repertoire that many other violin players were playing, did something completely different. He entered the classical stage in jeans. While the other musicians were dressed in suits as usual, Kennedy entered the stage in common clothes. He also used other kind of hairdressers than his competition, but he still played the same music. This stunt, if we can call it that, gave him a lot of attention. His old albums started selling again, and when you look at the cover, you suddenly found his name in big letters. When first released, he was mentioned as the soloist, but others had more attention on the old covers.
Being a young star, Britney Spears suddenly appeared in a school uniform, with a bunch of young girls in their uniforms, singing “Hit me baby, one more time”. Connecting school, a formal institution, with pop music was not the news, but connecting sex to the school system, made a lot of noice in the news. Her career grew quickly, some say even too quickly. What she did was something very different from what her competitors did, and she really got the attention she wanted. This made it difficult for the others to make their career at the same level (not everyone of course, but start a new one, got more difficult).
To break out from her previous history of being a child star in a television star, she got the attention from the whole world when she released a video, sitting completely naked on a big wrecking ball. The news was not being almost nude, but completely nude. The video was in the news all over the world, and there was a lot of questions about the intention of doing this. When a child star growing up with an intense need of showing that, it made a lot of problems for people who loved the television series and meant that it was great way of showing what success could be for their children. Did she get what she wanted? Attention, yes, success, maybe. One thing was for sure, less clothing on a lot of the coming stars, making the ones who kept their clothes on to be those who were standing out from the crowd.
THEY DID SOMETHING DIFFERENT
These are just a few of the examples of young people wanting to make a career. They came from very different parts of society, but they had their goals. They wanted to make a career within music. The music business has changed a lot, and it might seem impossible to make a major career, but in fact, it is the other way around. Who the next great star is, nobody knows.
Record companies are not what they used to be, they have had a hard time to make the necessary changes to keep their position and keep the sales they need to survive. Young people making their recordings at home, have made great careers and the worlds population has grown immensely.
The world is connected through electricity and internet, so everyone have the possibility to make their music at home, release it on internet, market it and get an audience bigger than the village they live in. Those who gets the most attention are those who stand out from the crowd. How to do that, will of course change all the time, but those who find their solution to this problem, are the ones who gets more attention than their competitors. They will be among the artists that did something different.
Are you ready?
What makes you outstanding?
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