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So you wanna be in a rock band?: The importance of image

Rose Cora Perry | Interrobang | Lifestyles | November 6th, 2006

As I mentioned last week, it is imperative to understand that a band's marketing strategies are just as, if not more, important than a band's musical talent. If you don't believe me, look at the career of any pop-tart.

Very few pop singers actually write their own material. For that matter, a lot of them can't even perform their songs live because frankly they can't pull it off. Their producers should be awarded for their ability to make these untalented acts sound half-decent. But in actuality, so long as the Britney Spears' of the world maintain nice “t” and “a”, they will remain top selling artists. Why? Well, it's no secret that sex sells.

By stating this, I don't want you to misinterpret me and believe that I am suggesting that bands should buy into this mentality marketing themselves solely based on their physical appeal. Quite the opposite really. I loathe this practice, and feel it is extremely unfair that these perfectly marketed commodities often overshadow artists with genuine talent. However, it must be recognized that the record labels which chose to represent such acts use everything in their power to sell them and it works, regardless of the fact that these are “musicians”, who for the most part, can't even play an instrument.

It's definitely an oddity that we have models posing as musicians within the artistic world as this kind of pretentious imitation does not occur amongst painters, sculptors, writers, or the like. They are the real thing. DaVinci didn't have an artist behind him creating his masterpieces while he stood as the undeserving poster-child receiving all the credit. However, it must be taken into consideration that this is not a new trend. For that matter, pawning off relatively musically talent-less acts purely on their sexual attractiveness dates back to as early as the days of Elvis.

Though some may curse me for saying this, “The King of Rock'n'Roll” was the precursor to the Britney's of today. Though he could dance, and sing to a degree, what broke him was his physicality (largely due to the advent of the television). As well, the prevalent racism towards the black artists of the time assisted his career greatly, while leaving true talents, like Chuck Berry, under-recognized for their significant musical contributions.

Did you know, for example, that Elvis never wrote a song throughout his entire career? Thus, how can he be deemed “The King” if he wasn't even a musician, but rather a cover artist whose material was stolen from and uncredited to the talented African American songwriters of that era?

My rationale for explaining all of this is as follows: I want to make it clear that truly talented bands need to use everything they've got in order to stand a chance against these acts. Record labels don't have a conscience when it comes to marketing: if they can find something that sells regardless of the scandals potentially attached to it, they will utilize it. In the end, the ability to make money trumps everything.

Though I do not promote partaking in immoral or illegal activities when it comes to making a name for your band, I do think that a band's marketing is not a subject that should be dealt with lightly. Though these aspects are often overlooked or unconsidered, it's important to realize that a band's fight for fame begins by defining a meaningful name, strong image, and an identifiable sound.
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