What he should have said

One of the most convincing arguments, it seems to me, in favor the current sg charting system is not the one Ken Kirksey makes on his blog today (that sg is just too small-time to do any better). Rather it’s the argument that for some up-and-coming groups, the only way to get the recognition that will grow your business and ministry is to get yourself a “hit.” A couple of people have written me this morning reminding that early on, the Crabb Family had their fair share of hits nobody was buying. But in part on the basis of those early “hits,” they established themselves enough for their music to take hold in a real and lasting way (I say in part because the Crabbs’ success is the product of a very savvy marketing strategy that includes but is in no way limited to radio). If you want to defend the SN chart as it currently operates, seems to me you should point to this kind of rags-to-riches success story as evidence that sometimes, people can’t buy and support music they haven’t heard, and they won’t hear it unless some noble, brave promoter works tirelessly to get the music on the charts and some noble, brave magazine prints the chart results.Reader DL was saying something similar (without the sarcasm), I think, in an email in which he wondered if my post yesterday was “implying that only headliner groups would and should be able to chart because they sale more product or sing to larger crowds.” That’s not what I was saying, but I can see how you might come away with that idea and his objection is a good one. What I was and am saying is that radio and charts aren’t the only way to success and that most sg types seem to not realize this, seem to think radio is everything, that you won’t be successful unless you have “hits” on the charts. But this is not the only way. In other industries where radio is reserved for real nationwide bestsellers or old favorites, up-and-comers and aspiring stars could never dream of getting on the air or the charts. So what do they do? Besides winning American Idol, they form alliances and connections with established artists and promoters, get themselves on tour as the opening act for big(ger) names, seed their success for years and years through a mixture of opening-act tours, small gigs on their own, and product sold the old fashioned that sg knows plenty about. In the meantime, they also work to improve their sound. Those who have it and stick with it rise to the top (in sg, Janet Pascal comes to mind as someone who eschewed the typical model of career building to great effect). Those who don’t, won’t. Granted, this is more difficult and requires more patience than paying a radio promoter a few hundred or thousand dollars to get you a hit. But the success that comes is more authentic in the end. And more durable.

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