Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Bigfoot Diaries Round Table Question # 1

In a brand-new segment we will gather the staff here at the Bigfoot headquarters once a month or so, and ask them to answer one particular question concerning what we deem (un)popular culture. The idea of this segment is to allow the reader to get a better view of who we are - the writers, the artists, and the technicians who make this site possible. Also, it's just kind of fun to get everybody in the same proverbial room if you will. Thanks to Grant's Tomb for producing this great idea!


Our first topic of discussion concerns television shows such as American Idol, The Voice, America's Got Talent, etc.The question: Are these shows good or bad for the music industry?

Turtle Boy: No. Well I don't know cuz I don't watch 'em. American Idol has a pretty catchy theme song. And the dude from The Voice is always wearing Misfits/Danzig shirts so that's cool. That's my 2 cents.

Mr. Clean: I feel shows like The Voice and American Idol are searching for the latest pop star cash cow, and not unique vocalists. In the years of these shows being on the air, never have I once heard a powerful male/female vocalist blow me away with their vocal talent. Most honorable singers from the 1920's through late 1990's got their success by their hard work, hard practice, and decent connections--not by American Idol contests. If I turned on any local pop music radio station in Des Moines, I'm bound to hear mediocre but highly produced songs that status quo finds catchy. This isn't real music, it's a waste of three and a half minutes until the next waste of time. I miss vocalists and pop stars like Michael Jackson, Prince, and Madonna being on the radio or on television for their latest albums. There is so much crap on the radio that hogs up time for a better artist's song. What's really bad is even in rock music, there hasn't been up and coming artists with albums worth buying. This is why I'm glad internet radio is taking over. As for The Voice and American Idol... they should have stopped at American Bandstand and Star Search.

Samantha L. Thomas: I think these people are hungry for 5 seconds of fame and they will do anything to get it. American idol, the voice blah blah talent show garbage is polluting the music scene and killing peoples ear drums for good music. I haven't seen either of these shows in years and doubt I'll be trying to look them up any time soon. I think if people want to get into the business they need to work their way up, create their own sound and fuck the standard quo of what is "good" at the moment.

Cveckian: On the whole, such shows do not provide sustainable careers past the season a particular act is a part of, nor is it really their responsibility to do so. The ones who do well are often called back in future seasons, for a gig here and there, and that is about the extent of it. Most of the people I have talked to about reality talent shows (and I will admit that number is quite small) have confessed to watching it for the inevitable train wrecks that occur when someone completely lacking any talent whatever gets annihilated by the judges. We as a society love to tear down people more than we do enlightening them and the media feeds that self-righteous hunger of ours on a regular basis. I personally think this is acceptable punishment for attempting to getting that golden ticket early in life and sometimes does lead to some impressive talent being discovered from time to time. I cannot blame the contestants for trying either. In most cases, not only are they subjected to the ire of their peers, but they have to put it all out there for the masses. Not just a bar full of people mind you, but literally millions of people worldwide. Most people crumble under that kind of pressure, so when a Carrie Underwood gets up on a stage of that magnitude and sings her pretty little heart out, I have nothing but respect for her... Despite my disdain for most things Country. Sustainability is where the wheat gets separated from the chaff and that is more on the artist than anyone else... As it should be.
Bob Patton: Shows such as America's Got Talent, The Voice, and American Idol --- especially in the early part of each season --- are good for discovering vocal talents that otherwise may never be revealed.  Granted, 98 percent of the time, those vocal talents are best suited for sterilizing farm animals, but still...

Shep: Well, where these things seem to have the most impact is in the television industry. In the sense that lots of people watch this stuff and in generates big money in advertising. A lot of the girls at work are always talking about these shows so whatever, it seems to be working; which I don't understand because it's a lot more fun watching The Munsters or The Flintstones. In regards to whether it's good for the "music industry", yeah probably. They have gotten a small hand full of bankable stars like Carrie Underwood, and to maybe lesser degrees Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson. These shows also help propagate what seems to be the corporate mission of the music biz, to reduce everything to the equivalent of vanilla ice cream. Boring, bland, and unexciting music, but put it on t.v. and have celebrities tell people it's great and the masses will lap it up like pigs at the trough.
T. Church: It's funny. I never really gave this question much thought. But then again, why would I? I have never timed my evening so that I was sure not to miss one of these shows, and when I did see them, usually as the result at being in the wrong place at the wrong time, I was utterly bored. That being said, I suppose it is good for the music industry from a corporate standpoint because obviously these shows are popular and draw in truckloads of advertising dollars. But it's not good for the music industry in terms of it force feeding more "mainstream" down our throats. The last thing I want to see is some pretty boy butchering "Beast of Burden." At some point, it becomes more about the money than it does the music, and that's when it gets ugly. More so, it seems to me that these shows are about the judges more than they are the contestants, so there's your X-factor... It's a parade of clashing egos that frankly, make the shows redundant, boring and over-hyped. And in that aspect, it's not good for the music industry either. That being the case, I offer a compromise: Give me a talent show where you have Andy Shernoff sitting at the judges table next to Dee Snider and Wayne Kramer... I'd set the Tivo to that.
Grant's Tomb: It may be somewhat of a loaded question, especially given my penchant for bashing all things corporate music related, but (and I emphasize the but), there is something to be said for artists-I use the term loosely-like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtery, and Taylor Swift who have been able to use the success gained from said "talent shows" and move on to greater success. We all know the Grammys are a joke, but consider the amount of records the individuals above have sold. Does quantity equal quality? Obviously not, but on the same token you simply cannot discount their fans. Sure most are mindless/brainless zombies clutching to any trend mass media and pop culture is (and always will be) willing to crank out. Do these shows lead to sustainable careers? Yes, for as long as producers and record companies are willing to shell out the cash to promote them (and as long as these "artists" are turning a profit). With all of that said, these shows promote soul-less, flavor of the week style pop garbage that can be taken out with the trash on a weekly basis. Remember Clay Aiken? I didn't think so.
Would love to know, what do you think?



Tami W said...

Love this post and reading your thoughts, definitely think you should have these kind of posts a bit more!!

Anonymous said...

It's a matter of pop music vs. grass roots. Is one better than the other? It depends on the metric used. There are some damn catchy songs that have stood the test of time, performed by one dimensional talents who have long faded into obscurity while others toil on as a well practiced groups, playing songs we'll never hear.

If it was only about versatility and hard work in a practice space, we'd all be listening to Dream Theater, and nobody needs that.