Disposable Culture

Last week, I brought up a couple of blogs I’d read where a bit of a How To was given on Superfans.  These blogs discussed how to create them, and how to keep them.  My commentary was based on the premise that to cultivate such a group of fans would feel completely synthetic and contrived. I still wonder just how successful the effort will be seen in the long term.  Will fans really stick by for 30+ years, or will it end up being a situation with many “flashes in the pan”?

Not long after writing those blogs, I watched an episode of America’s Got Talent.  It’s not my favorite show, but for whatever reason it was on our television that night, and it occurred to me that the idea of creating a “hit” or the “next biggest thing” is the prevailing drive in the industry these days.  Nothing is allowed to happen naturally.  Not the talent, not the music, not the image, and definitely not the fans loyalty.

It should make one wonder if maybe, just maybe, there isn’t a simple correlation between sales  in recent years and the history of such shows as American Idol, America’s Got Talent, X Factor,  The Voice and many, many others. (Research just how many “one hit wonders” we’ve had in recent years.  The numbers are astounding!)  We’re so busy creating stars, buying one or two songs from them and then immediately moving on to the next big thing that we’re completely missing the bigger picture at hand.

My curiosities about the current culture will only be answered in hindsight many years ahead, being both the beauty and curse of history.  I am certain that as my children enter their thirties and forties a band of historians will dissect this moment in time as we have done to decades prior.  Will my children and others in their generation have similar tales to tell about continuing to follow the same band(s) well into their adulthood?  How will future music listeners look back on the beginning years of this century? 

If Duran Duran were at it’s beginnings today, just how different would they be from the band we knew in the 1980’s?  The obvious mentions are of course the image and styling – assuming the band would still be as forward thinking, but would the process be nearly as organic for them, and would fans still be as drawn?

Thankfully, I never have to know.  -R

2 thoughts on “Disposable Culture”

  1. I don't think things could have been the same. A big part of DD success was the exposure they get with video. At that time it was new and everyone was fascinated, now I don't believe videos can do that. All the perception of music is different now, many top artists don't even sing live. What people want is a show with dancers etc. I don't see how Duran Duran could fit in that patern. Of course they would have been popular in a way because they got talent and their songs are good and catchy. But I don't think they would have been as huge. So… lucky us they were there in the 80's when music still had his place.


  2. Good points…I would imagine that given the fact DD can't seem to get airplay these days as it is, that much the same would happen if they were a brand new band just starting out, unless of course they decided to go on X Factor or something similar. I wonder if they'd win a show like that! LOL 😀 -R

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