Idol Runner-Up to Get “Development” Deal

Thanks, Desertrat, for the heads up on the news that Idol’s most recent runner-up, Jessica Sanchez, won’t be guaranteed an album contract, unlike previous runner-ups like our David Archuleta. Instead, she may get what’s called a “Development Stage,” which may include releasing singles versus an album, an EP, doing “artist development,” perhaps opening up for big acts, doing featured vocals on other artist tracks, that sort of thing.

Here’s the thing: while some folks think that contestants are getting the shaft in comparison to how much the useless judges get paid to not judge, I actually prefer this sort of “Development” deal for a runner-up. It has so much more long-term potential.

Can you imagine if David had only released one single (“Crush”) while working on his “development”? I can guarantee you the fanbase would have been much more content in the way his career unfolded. There wouldn’t have been crushing (no pun intended) disappointment when his debut album only spurned one hit. We would have only expected one single and would have rejoiced that his one single did well.

Then, in understanding that David was being “developed,” we would have been eager to see him featured with other acts, maybe even if he did a vocal hook here on someone’s dance or hip-hop track, an opening act there while touring with Britney or whoever.

In short, David like Jessica Sanchez just off Idol, really needed the time and maturity to “grow.” So, I personally think this direction makes the most sense. After all, just on the basis of not “taking it all” by winning the show, producers have to weigh in that, despite the runner-up’s popularity, there were some obvious flaws that made voters choose someone else over him (or her). Why not take the time to really “develop” the artist for long-term success since the runner-up – by virtue of coming in second – has some wrinkles that need ironing out?

Nowadays, since neither Idol winner nor runner-up are selling as big as they used (by big, I mean selling in pop music, not country like last year’s winner and runner-up), this sort of thinking is the most logical and not what I would expect from a franchise that puts out music and entertainment like “fast food.” I just wish this had been the consolation prize for runners-up all along.

Posted on May 26, 2012, in American Idol. Bookmark the permalink. 35 Comments.

  1. I would agree with you hg that it would have been better for David if the expectations were not so high when he was runner up . David did need development like Jessica does. I just wish David had the right “team” behind him for development as I don’t think he did and has not for the past 4 years right up until he went on his mission. Kari is the one exception IMO. The expectations are much lower IMO now that all these AI winners (WGWG) are getting dropped from their labels and not selling well long-term but 4 years ago the expectations were higher. The music industry has changed so much as most people don’t buy albums anymore (except country fans) and download singles but it is still so little money. However, I still buy It will be interesting to see what happens to Jessica as I still think she will release an album as they do have the option but maybe not.

  2. I’m going to disagree with you HG. First of all I think the Jessica will get a record deal as Jimmy pretty much said as much in his interviews on AI. This contract was written up before the season began and AI did not know who the second place winner would be. I think Jessica will be pushed to do a quick record like all 1st and 2nd place winners have done, and she will do really well in the Philippines just like David.

    I really feel that after Idol the contestants have to put out music fast and do as much as they can while people still remember them. David did just that. If he had just a development deal we would not have the four albums and soon to be five albums, a book, all the appearances, mini-series and modeling, etc. David has actually been very successful compared to most musicians, and has made quite a bit of money IMHO. He had on the job development.

    I have been reading the article that was posted in comments about what other Idols are doing now. It shows just how successful David has been compared to most of the former contestants. Here’s the link for those who haven’t read it yet.

    • Some good points grammyj. I think Jessica will make an album too. I do think that they want to leave all options open in these idol contracts now. I am sure they have all kinds of outs with the winners contracts as they drop them so quickly now. I do wish that they had the patience, time, and money to develop these idol artists more but they don’t . That is a very interesting article. Thanks for posting it.

    • grammyj, I tend to agree with you, buy putting out all those albums and working on other profects, he was developing as an artist and finding his way.
      Only one thing surprsed me about what has happen to David’s career was why only one song from his first album was a hit.
      When it’s all said and done, a singer has to put out music that the masses want to hear.

      • It’s still a mystery to me how to get radio to play your music. I think David had songs that the masses would like to hear, but for whatever reason radio would not play his other songs. Radio plays lots of dreadful songs IMHO, and there are lots of songs that I feel are deserving that never get played.

      • Yes, getting radio play for music artists has become very difficult. Adam Lambert is a good example. His album sales are fairly good so far for his just released second album but he has had no hit singles with radio play from it yet. That surprises me as Adam had alot of promo and has the connections but no radio play. The problem is with no hit singles with radio play it is very difficult to sustain the album sales or itunes sales. I still think Adam will remain with his label but Kris will not. It is too bad that David could not have had a few more hit singles.

    • Have to agree with Grammy here. David has done well in spite of some obstacles. He has accomplished more than many Idols. Albums( 5 or 6), best selling book, Mini Series, Motab featured singer,Numerous concert tours including US, Asia, Europe, many charitable causes. It was apparent on his recent MKOC and Asian Tours how much he has developed. in the last 4 years without compromising his beliefs. Looking at Billboard concert this year showed such a contrast with our Idol singers and lip synchers like Justin Bieber, Chris Brown, Usher etc etc.

      I think they need to do more to help their artist’s get more radio play, promote their music etc etc

      Now David is following his own path and looking forward to 2014, In the meantime we’ll have more ne music.

      As far as Jessica, if Idol drops the ball The Phillipines will promote her like crazy!!

  3. hg, to give credit where credit’s do, grammyj actually posted the link to the article and i was one who commented on it.

    if jessica’s label, in deed, invests time into developing her, then that’s great. with the money labels seem to be losing due to digital and streamed tracks, i doubt it.

    perhaps i’m a bit jaded when it comes to the music industry and AI; i’m not convinced that the idol machine is interested in patiently developing an artist. regardless, i do hope that jessica and phillip are successful; their success may make it easier for other idol alum to be given a 2nd chance.

    • I have to agree desertrat that I am not so sure they have an interest in developing an artist . They are already on to the auditions for contestants for AI S12. Actually the good news is David has fared better with his career than most contestants on AI. However, I still don’t know how this 2 year break will effect his career.

  4. Forbes got it right, except for the season, lol.

    “Idol teaches us another lesson: First place doesn’t always ensure the most success. Idol runner ups have been more successful than the winners in several cases: Season 2 runner ups Clay Aiken and Josh Gracin, Season 3, Jennifer Hudson, Season 5, Chris Daughtry, Kellie Pickler and Elliot Yamin, Season 6, David Archuleta and Season 7, Adam Lambert.”

    • Yes Forbes sure did get it right, desertrat. They did not even bother to mention S9 or S10. lol Great article.

    • OMG. How dare they! Shirley Halperin and Lyndsey Parker will go berserk.

      • Yeah, they love Cook! Cook was actually quite successful with his first album and touring for it. Not so much his second one. I think long term that David A. will be more successful, but time will tell.

      • grammyj, I think you may be right about long term David being more successful than Cook. First, David is so unique and public really likes unique, whereas, there are a whole lot of DC type out there.
        I just keep on thinking why I became such a David Archuleta fan, because I have been always about the rocker that was funny and was kind of rough around the edges. I guess, I thought that DC was a clone of Chris Daughtry, nothing new. Nothing against DC, I wish him luck in his career, but I have no interest in buying or hearing any of his music.

      • the lol was for Peter’s statement!!

      • lol at Peter’s comment. So true.

  5. Kris Allen’s new album is streaming online at AOL music along with John Mayer’s new album for anyone interested in listening to them. Kris’s album reminds me of David’s TOSOD as it is full of upbeat pop songs although Kris’s are mainly love songs. Here’s the link:

    • TMZ did a negative story on Kris yesterday. Kris stated on TMZ he had not watched the finale and thought that AI had basically run its course and been on too long. LOL Who knows if that is accurate as you know how they report things and twist comments around. I am so glad that TMZ does not have David around now to say negative things about. AI and Nigel did nothing to protect David from negative press and that always bothered me but you never saw a negative David Cook story. Isn’t that interesting. I am glad that is all in the past.

  6. I am with you HG on the concept of a development deal and how it would have been nice for David to grow and actually develop his style without the pressures to sell. However, not trusting the record industry- part of me feels we would have had less music by David because the direction issue would have reared its head sooner and we may not have had 3 albums….

    • For sure we would have less music from David if he would have had a development deal. He would have put out a single and I’m sure that single would not have been pushed to Z100 in New York and it would have died. I’m convinced that even though Crush was a great single, if it had not debuted on Z100 and the played by that station David would not have had a hit. A new artist needs some kind of extra push to get their music played.

  7. I’m just happy that we have lots of music from David that will hold us over until he returns to making more wonderful music for us.

  8. I thought this was a very interesting article on AI runner-ups. It mentioned that Jessica should follow some of David’s career moves. Good article.

    • I’m not sure why the article said “worst case scenario” Jessica should look at David’s career moves. I guess they mean if music doesn’t pay off which is seldom does in this day and age. I’m glad that David decided to diversify and try acting and modeling. He is not alone. Joe Jonas is the new Bench model and Zach Efron modeled for a competing clothing line in the Philippines. David Cook and Jason Castro will be touring in the Philippines this summer. I’m quite sure the Jessica will as well. She’d be crazy not too. Last year the AI tour went to the Philippines. Not sure if they will this year or not.

  9. I was thinking today about where would David’s career be today if he had not gone on a mission. It seems like sense his announcement that things have been pretty good. His twitter followers have been increasing steadly, his name is out there in articles and his music is being played on radio in the Philipines. It seems things are better than after a month that TOSOD was released. I think that the BEGIN. album will keep the fans interested for the rest of the year. Now next year is going to be interesting. Hoping that there is something planned.
    Just thinking outloud and wondering if anyone has any thoughts in regards to where David would be if he had not gone on the mission.

    • if he weren’t on a mission, i think he’d be planning a summer tour and appearing at state fairs/festivals. or maybe he would be starring in that spielberg movie we heard about. 🙂 i sure miss all the fun rumors.

    • I am not sure because that would have depended on what David’s choices in his career would have been had he not gone on a mission. I mean would have he have signed with a label and gotten a great team behind him or gone to college or do some other options not career related. It is hard to figure out but I am sure David is taking somewhat of a financial loss as he could have toured Asia and here if he did not leave for 2 years. I still think that David will have a very successful music career and do better than Cook in the end if he wants to. I do miss him.

  10. Desertrat and Marie, Yay who knows what would happen. I’am with you two…miss him so darn much.

  11. I had to post this picture of the 5 WGWG AI winners. It is so funny. They do all look alike and it is 5 years in a row of WGWG. lol

  12. Thanks for the article link Marie. Is the author semi-impressed with David or not? He is the only runner-up whose picture is posted and the article also ends with his mention. I did not know that Lambert was doing so great.

    It would be nice for David to diversify his fan base with a Spanish album and appearances in Latin American countries. He should also consider revisiting Europe, Australia and New Zealand as well. I think David is on track to being a world idol more than any other if he so wishes. Not to mention becoming a fine, fine actor in the long run.

    • Lambert’s success does not surprise me at all…first and formost, he can sing, second he has found his niche, three he is gay and somehow that works in his favor and last he is flamboyant, that is a big plus. And of course, has songs that the masses want to hear.

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