Promoting Music or Supporting Talent?

We’ve been down this road before, or should I say, we’ve been up and down this Elevator ride in the past (pun intended).  And I think it’s time we made peace with this simple fact: Jive is not going to do anything major when it comes to promoting David’s music.  If “Something ‘Bout Love” becomes a hit, and yes, it’s good enough to be one, then hurray for David and everyone else involved.  If not, so what?  Is our worst fear that David will be unceremoniously dropped from his label?

Funny thing is, that’s what I used to fear.  But now, I’m not worrying about this.  David is just getting started.  He’s 19, and younger than Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, and a host of other formidable music artists who started their careers in their teens but who surpassed their own potential.  I’m beginning to think David will be following this trajectory.

I think we need to start overlooking the Taylor Swifts (where is she in 2010?), Justin Biebers, and Miley Cyruses, start moving beyond “instant stardom” cum Idol or You Tube or Z100, and look at the bigger picture.  In the wider context is a young man, David, who’s charming everyone he meets, proving his talent, and slowly gaining momentum.  He may not be burning up itunes charts right now, but who says this needs to be the path that a sophomore album takes?

All I know is: David sang his new single acoustic style, and no amount of radio play or You Tube views or TV appearances will change this simple truth:

Nobody his age can pull off a song like that and not only sing it live but sing it improvisational style.  Talent like that needs support, not the music itself.

Obviously, the fanbase will now need to dig in our heels and learn the virtues of patience.  Talent like David will need more years, more nurturing, and more exposure to really be appreciated on a global level. We’re just not there yet.

And, now that I’ve had a chance to relax, get some vacation time, and rethink where we are at this cultural moment, I’d rather David wait and make a real impact than to have some instant success that means nothing when the current music scene is terribly mediocre.

When I had last checked into my blog earlier this month, it was to comment on the music video, which I found and still find to be a total disappointment.  Music videos, which are designed to promote music, are supposed to provide a compelling visual narrative that adds a new layer to the song we hear.  There was absolutely nothing relevant or remotely interesting about the video that captures the song and its underlying melancholy, nor did we learn anything provocative about the artist behind the song.  Once I saw the banal concept behind the SBL video, I knew better than to expect anything on the part of David’s label in selling or promoting his music.

It is what it is.  The music industry has completely and officially lost its way.  And this isn’t just for up and coming artists like David. All you have to do is take a look at how veterans are treated.

Although I was overseas, I was privy to the so-called “controversy” behind Eminem and Rhianna’s music video for “Love the Way You Lie.” I did not get a chance to see this video until this weekend, and all I could think of is: that’s it?! What exactly is so “controversial” about the video other than to address the subject of domestic violence?  The only offensive thing I found about the video is, not that it “glorifies” domestic violence but that it turned the topic into a cliche.

Not only has this topic been explored in other music videos, there have been far more effective ways to showcase this subject.  See Martina McBride’s Independence Day, the more comical Goodbye Earl from the Dixie Chicks, the bluesy Rain on Me by Ashanti, and the hard-hitting rap Love is Blind by Eve.

Like the music video for SBL, the video for LTWYL seemed tired and uninspired. If you listen to either song, you know there is more substance and more meat.  What we see instead is a flattening effect and no real endeavors in promoting music and its storytelling strengths.

What is most exciting about David as a live performer is his vocal ability to truly tell a story.  Unfortunately, he is now signed to a label that doesn’t know how to effectively tell the story of the Voice.  Perhaps David’s soaring talent will speak for itself.

In the mean time, he is a kite with cans attached to his tail.

May we eventually move beyond the banal concerns of music promotion and marketing and get back to the talent and what we can do to support its growth.

May David survive this downturn in musical “recession” and thrive in better times.  I have hope and the belief that he will.

Posted on August 22, 2010, in music. Bookmark the permalink. 57 Comments.

  1. Sometimes I wish that the English language was my first language, to discuss my feelings about David, I have many limitations to express my ideas correctly, will try to say what I feel:
    I always thought that Jive has not found a way to promote david, why not know how. David is a different artist that does not fit into any established mold.
    1) “We have the handsome guy who sings well and acceptable. All promotion is based on its appearance.
    2) – Then there’s the boy that no one looks perfect but is talented, in this case the promotion is based on the depth of his lyrics.
    3) “Third is the boy disney, can play many instruments, is teenager, has an acceptable voice is really handsome, the promotion is based on catchy songs without messages, but sells millions of CDs.
    At the end of the list is David Archuleta, we know that is handsome, his talent is undeniable, his voice is not of this world, every song has a story behind it. His professional and personal life is clean. Charity events are a priority. Their concerts are equal to 2,500 people or 500.
    There is something about all this that interests JIVE??
    It may be that the integrity and talent, when they are together in one person, not material to promote??
    Many questions, no answers, yet.

  2. Here is where David is today–> wonder why this station isn’t playing SBL?

    8/23: Performing at Radio Station 106.3 (401 W. Main St., Lexington, KY; 9:30 a.m. EDT)

    from the DJ there:
    “Chrisyour1063lex:..David’s going to stop into our station (Your1063) in Lexington, KY Monday morning at 9:30 for an interview & probably a few songs on air, if anyone knows some fans in the area, pass the word..maybe they can check it out, we’ve got a window studio at 401 W. Main Street.”

  3. raelovingangels

    HG: This is a wonderful article 🙂 and what I am holding on to is : Perhaps David’s soaring talent will speak for itself. I have accepted that we will also be learning lessons as fans along the journey of David’s career and that will include patience in the time of questions and frustration.

    I love the way David talent and voice touches across boundaries. After hearing my early 20’s nieces’ boyfriend just out of the military strong silent type was a DA fan, I think there is a huge silent majority out there of 20 something guys who are quite fans or potential fans just waiting to be tapped. I cannot imagine Jive would ever drop David- he sells albums creates buzz and has a solid fanbase worldwide. But who knows maybe at some point the other way around.

  4. raelovingangels

    no worries about the language- your points were excellent. I am reminded of what Joymus said about David having “complicated talent. ”
    Bigger than any of the traditional boxes to be sure!

  5. HG, Man, it is good to hear your voice again! Interesting article with a lot to think about.

    I point-blank asked one of his band members if David was going to switch to another label or if Jive was going to drop him, and he said that Jive sees David as too big of a long-term investment, a money-maker.

    I would be pretending if I said I understood the situation and why the promo is so bad.

    • This was interesting. Thanks for sharing! (I don’t understand the almost epic lack of promo, either. As Cmoi pointed out in the previous thread, radio play — and the chart success that usually ensues — seems to be based on money. It’s not about having the right type of song. It’s about having the money to promote the song to radio stations; in other words, paying them for playing the song.)

      • I agree. If David is an investment, then treat him like one! I don’t get it at all.

      • Maybe they are using their promo $ for their singers that can’t sing & letting David & his fan base promote David, seeing how we are so good at it, us go-getters. lol

        You know, s,v,b, & text & twitter……lol

      • SVBTT? LOL. The list of duties keeps expanding…

  6. This is the David that I love and long to hear HG….

  7. #636.

    It’s official: IMO, “Elevator” is David’s best song so far.

    • Thanks, Peter. I shall now muster some courage and click on the video to listen to it.

      By the way…
      60 53 DAVID ARCHULETA Something ‘Bout Love 296 262 34 0.855
      +2 Spins
      -13 Bullet
      -0.008 AI

  8. Hi HG
    Glad you are back. I really appreciated your post. The first part of your post really nails how I have felt about David for a long time. His talent is boundless, and so difficult to qualify.
    Getting “number one” hits is certainly something for David (and his fans) to strive for, but at the same time, for David that is only “one” measure of the man. David has been given many honors in the last two years, singing at the White House, Somos El Mundo and the Almas, the DC Fourth of July, Celtic Woman, to name a few. To me, these invitations show an appreciation of his lasting talent, a talent that will carry him past a few number one hits.
    I truly believe David will be “beloved” for a very long time; when other quick to rise singers are long forgotten. I hate seeing SBL not fly to the top, but it doesn’t “hurt” my heart. He’s got IT and IT will persevere.

  9. David sang the best acoustic version of SBL at the radio station. It was really great ! I hope there will be a MP3 ! He’s singing Crush now.

    I agree with everything you said HG but I think I’m just being a little egoist, if his songs are not hits in the US there is really little chance to hear him here … (And I really want to see him live again).

  10. David said there will be only two songs he didn’t write on the album ! I understand why he’s so excited about it lol !

  11. I see SBL moved up 5 spots today on top 40 radio….from #58 to 53.

    That’s progress……..doesn’t show progress on itunes though.

  12. “It is what it is.” That about sums it up for me. I’m not content with Jive’s marketing/promo for SBL but nothing detracts from the joy I’ve felt (and continue to feel) watching David grow as an artist.

    Listening to the interview this morning, I believe that David has claimed ownership of his dream. This was apparent during the discussion of his increased hands-on involvement with the album production this time around.

    The station said that it was the largest crowd they ever had and that people from all over the world were logged into the live-stream. Go David! Woo hoo to self-promotion! 🙂

    • The best part about that interview was the fact that David got to perform live, and to show how amazingly talented he is with just a guitar and “morning voice”. Some people always feel the need to find something “fake” about David, ’cause he’s almost too good to be true. Again, David proves (not that he needs to) he is as real as they come, all the way from his fantastic vocals to the DJ gushing over him.

  13. a tweet—>wowza….

    JennyFOD A little tidbit! David will be appearing on The Early Show this week (98% sure), probably on Thursday! WOOT!

  14. I got back from Greenville, SC yesterday and wrote about my experince in the “Golden Archies” fan site. It’s rather long but if you want me to post it here, then I could cut it down. Let me know. I had so much fun and David was great during the Meet & Greet and on stage. When you see a video or photo of him, on stage, and it seems foggy, it’s because the humidity was 98 percent and it was hot so the camers kept fogging up.

  15. #584 (was #636 this morning).

  16. raelovingangels

    Can’t wait for the ballad he references.

  17. These are all great points that everyone is making, and great article HG!

    Maybe we are over-estimating what the label can accomplish, even with promo, top producers, and money? I’m thinking about Allison Iraheta and Adam Lambert. Alison got top producers (Max Martin, etc…) and yet her album has not had any Top 40 hits. Adam’s first single pretty much flopped after the AMA debacle, but he rebounded with his second single. Just seems like there might be intangible factors at play that the labels can’t totally control, you know?

    Also, I could see the “long term investment” theory as well. Maybe Jive sees David’s huge talent, but that also he is just now getting more freedom, and that his performance style could still use some polish. Perhaps they’d like the album to perform well, but that it’s not the end-all be-all if it’s not a smash. Just a thought.

    Wonder what @manincap has been up to?

    • Adam’s label seems to have an endless amount of money to promote him.

      • Agreed, and that second single of his is kind of lame, and very obvious. JMO 😀

      • His third single seems to be doing pretty well, too. I think he has performed “Time for Miracles” and his three singles on all major talk shows.

      • Oh I was talking about his third single I guess! I always forget about that “Time for Miracles” lol. Yeah I’m talking about “If I Had You” where he sings about partying with “girls in stripper heels.” CLASSY.

      • “Time For Miracles”
        “For Your Entertainment”
        “Whaddaya (or whatever) Want From Me?”
        “If I Had You”

        Right? “Time For Miracles” isn’t regarded as a single, I think. (I’m surprised how much I know about Adam Lambert’s career…)

      • You are quite the expert, peter! Are you sure you’re not just visiting us from GLAM NATION? 😉

        Guess I’m referring to single #4 then 🙂

      • No, IIHY is single #3, I think. Glamberts are very particular about TFM not having been an actual single. Now I guess I have to take the “Elevator” to leave Glam Nation.

      • jmo – adam’s label found themselves caught up in a very expensive and public face saving game after he lost the title – they had their script all laid out, and allen winning threw a major wrench in that, so in their arrogance and ego, they decided to pretend the results of s8 never happened, and they have carried on ever since in this campaign of denial, pride and ego – to force lambert into a superstar slot, whether the public outside the idol bubble wants him or not. 19e, or rather simon fuller, has the power and connections to make a lot of things happen, and make no mistake – these suits like fuller in the entertainment industry are really nothing more than little brats and immature little boys, just with more money and power to have and try to get their way… ethics, morals, professionalism – what are those things when big money and power are to be had, or made, lol. adam for now is their pet project, but that won’t last forever – no support on this level is infinite. some new, less expensive flavor will supplant him, as they all do, and the cycle will continue.

  18. Remember the girls that cried so when Cook won AI? They’re going to be on tv on Wed.

    This week, Daniel gives the American Idol Girls a chance to redeem themselves. (And maybe even meet David Archuleta…OMG!!!!)

    Tune in this WEDNESDAY at 10:30pm/9:30c on Comedy Central to see them scream again.
    Catch an all new episode of Tosh.0 Wednesday at 10:30pm / 9:30c on Comedy Central!

    • what? this is promo??

    • OH NO! Not again! Enough with the Cook/AI history already!!!

      • david will continue putting distance between himself and idol, but he will never fully escape the legacy. it’s hard for a lot of media to write about him, or any recent idol winner, runner up or contestant w/o the idol reference thrown in. it has it drawbacks and benefits, and the only sure way to make it kind of irrelevant is to attain a measure of massive success – on the scale of carrie or kelly or jennifer hudson, to mute the idol label, but even with those 3 bonafide superstars, the idol ‘stigma’ still echoes around the edges of all their press. at the time, i thought that this video was hysterical, because truth be told, it mirrored many of our emotions – many saw themselves embodied in these young girls reactions. myself included, for a brief period. 2 years have come and gone now, the shock and awe of david not winning the idol title has gone, the raw visceral emotions for me about the loss are no longer there – i’m curious now to see how it will be handled, how those girls feel now… this is a comedy show, so i’m prepared for anything, lol… i think i’ll try to catch it…

    • Tosh.O’s tv ratings are currently higher than “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report”. I just read some of the comments re. this upcoming episode and I doubt that David will make an appearance. It appears to be the type of show where the girls may be mocked as well as David. Has anyone here ever watched the show?

      • I watched it a couple of times when it used to air after TDS and TCR. Very “animal house” type humor. lol I’m sure there will be no kind words for David.

  19. from a tweet:

    Correction: so instead of The Early Show, David will be on Good Day New York on Fox Thursday morning. WOOT! @DavidArchie on TV! 🙂

  20. Elevator goes up
    Elevator comes down


  21. 59 52 DAVID ARCHULETA Something ‘Bout Love 294 273 21 0.839

    #52 on top 40 radio

    one spot up……it’s getting close to 50! 🙂

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