Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Singing competition shows is not the way to go to start a music career

Today I read that American Idol winner Phillip Phillips is suing the show's production company 19 Entertainment so he could get out of his contract with them because of the oppressive climate he is in. You can read all the gory details about it here.

I will be up front and say that I have no sympathy for the guy. It is clear as day that the intentions of American Idol and their production company is to make as much money out of their cash cows, er, winners from the long time singing competition. You have to be pretty naive to think that if you were to win a singing competition you would have complete artistic freedom with your music. From what I have read about the situation, Phillip Phillips had to sign quite a few contracts. That in itself should have a been a tell tale sign for him that this was not going to be about what he wants to do as an artist but what 19 Entertainment expects of him as their client. People who go on these shows should know better than to expect that they would have complete control of their music.  I don't think these contestants who goes on shows like American Idol and The Voice don't even consider the "business" part of the term "music business".

Unlike American Idol, the winners, let alone the contestants of The Voice have yet to achieve the fame and popularity of those who have  gone on American Idol. In the past NBC has claimed that their goal with the show was to help the artists with their career and weren't concerned with getting hit singles/records from the artists. I find that to be utter rubbish. C'mon. The mainstream music industry today is all about the benjamins. The Voice has been on the air for seven seasons and yet most of the contestants and winners have faded into the shadows. Is this what those contestants really wanted or at least expected when they were voted onto the show? Does anyone remember the first winner of The Voice Javier Colon? I sure don't.

Today many artists are utilizing sites like Bandcamp, Sound Cloud, Reverb Nation and various crowd funding sites to get their music to their fans. Granted it takes a lot of work for the artist to make their music, promote it, and if they are releasing their music on CD/Vinyl (besides in digital form), and shipping out the music which often comes straight out of their pockets but they are not stuck in a binding contract with a company whose sole interests is making money. In other words it is a lot of work to go at it alone in the music industry with crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, getting music made and put out there for music fans says a lot about the role of record labels and the state of the music industry (which is the old way is done).

I have to ask this question to those who want to go on singing competition shows? Are you willing to sell out your integrity and artistry as an artist just so you can become famous? And do you think it is worth sacrificing your art for the sake of becoming a celebrity? Fame is fleeting as a lot of past American Idol and The Voice contestants can probably vouch for me on that statement. Music should be about art, not celebrity and being famous. I get the impression with the contestants who goes on to these shows. I have quite a few friends in the local music scene in bands. I see what they do to get their music heard. It is a lot of work. I have a ton of respect for my friends who have to go through so much shit to get their music heard than those who go on singing competition shows. Those shows are a joke and are just looking for the next cash cow/corporate slave. A little hard work doesn't kill anyone.

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