Who's Huge? / / Huge's Music / / Huge's Shop / / Huge's Blog / / Hire Huge / / Help Huge / / Huge's Podcast / / Blogroll Me!

September 9, 2010

Cause it feels so empty without me

Regardless of their act, esteem may attach to an artist because of their overall contribution to the culture: for example, their vocal quality, songwriting legacy, or political stance. This kind of esteem allows them increased influence through the media and the ability to reach people who may not be fans of other aspects of their musical output.

Marlene Dietrich, Aretha Franklin, and Christina Aguilera are renown for their vocal performances, which few other performers can imitate. Their vocal abilities are esteemed by fans and also by other singers and vocal coaches, who appreciate their abilities even if they are not fans of that musical style or era.

Sting's songwriting ability has transcended time, band lineups and genre. His gifts for lyric and melody are equally appreciated when performed in rock/punk or in smoother jazz/funk, though probably by slightly different audiences. Bob Dylan and Jimmy Webb are similarly renown.

Madonna has gathered much esteem for her continual reinvention and challenge to cultural norms. By provoking debate about her sexualised image, religious conversion and adoption of African children, she has maintained a media presence that reminds people that she stands for more than throwaway pop music. Similarly, although U2 boast an impressive catalogue of great songs and a great live show, Bono's political activism has been responsible for promoting their recent activities.

As with other forms of esteem, however, esteem for an artist can have unpleasant aspects. Britney Spears is just one of a number of artists whose media profile has focused on their personal problems rather than their contribution to the world of music. While this can have positive effects on the artist's creativity (redemption is a powerful thing), it can also kill careers.


Building esteem for the artist behind the songs and performances allows other elements to accrue value. Musicians can then use these elements to sustain a career in other media or use their media profile to promote their other activities.

This post is the summary of Part 2 of Dr Huge's "How the record industry got it so wrong". The latest version of the complete ebook can be downloaded here and a hard copy can be ordered here.
Posted by DrHuge at September 9, 2010 4:55 PM

Leave a comment

Who's Huge? / / Huge's Music / / Huge's Shop / / Huge's Blog / / Hire Huge / / Help Huge / / Huge's Podcast / / Blogroll Me!