Essay on Image vs Talent in Music Marketing and Success

Essay on Image vs Talent in Music Marketing and Success

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Pop music has long been defined by “idols” and superstars that are subjects of high levels of adoration from severely devoted fans, whose love of these superstars often blurs the line between fandom and obsession. This love is mainly based off of physical looks and charm more often than actual musical talent, as majority of the songs written by these massive superstars are not written by the artists themselves, instead by people hired to write for these artists in a way that will best connect with a crowd willing to spend their money on these manufactured stars. Therefore, it has become evident that in the world of popular music, image has overtaken talent as the determining factor of success in the industry. Instead of skill and songwriting ability, good looks and the ability to draw large crowds of impressionable people have become the main factors of fame in music.
The first main example of physical image becoming a major marketing point in the music industry lies in the career of Elvis Aaron Presley. His image was the building point of his reputation, as he represented the first major example of a sex symbol in music. Presley has been described as a “sex god”, which inspired other artists to emulate him in the future and use sex to sell their music. (Long, “Elvis the Sex God”, Vox Magazine) and various television and music executives described how visually captivating his performances were. Although Presley had undeniable talent, his talent was not the only selling point that his handlers used to market him to the public, which was quite a departure from the classical and jazz eras, where musical skill was the prominent issue in determining the popularity of musicians such as Beethoven, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington. L...


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...rickson, Steve. "No Ordinary Fad: Making Sense of the Beatles, Whose Music Has Been Digitally Remastered and Featured in a New Video Game." Los Angeles Magazine 1 Sept. 2009: n. pag. Print.

Garber, Marjorie. Vested Interests: Cross Dressing & Cultural Anxiety. New York: Routledge, 1997. Print.

"Global Talent Shows There's More than One Direction to US Success." Music Week 13 Apr. 2012: n. pag. EBSCO Music Index. Web. 12 Nov. 2012.

Herrera, Monica. "Justin Bieber: Young Money." Billboard 27 Mar. 2010: n. pag. EBSCO Music Index. Web. 15 Nov. 2012.

Long, April. "Elvis the Sex God." Vox Aug. 1997: n. pag. EBSCO Music Index. Web. 21 Nov. 2012.

Rodman, Gilbert B. Elvis after Elvis: The Posthumous Career of a Living Legend. London: Routledge, 1996. Print.

Smirke, Richard. "Headed For The Top." Billboard 1 Oct. 2011: n. pag. EBSCO Music Index. Web. 21 Nov. 2012.

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