After all the hype, stories in every mainstream publication known to man and an appearance on the Emmys, Elton John sold a paltry 48,000 copies of “The Diving Board” last week. And you know it’s less than 20,000 next week, and then it’s over.
Contrast this with Cher, who did do “Today” and “The Late Show With David Letterman,” but was also the beneficiary of a hit single, “Woman’s World,” which hit No. 1 on the Dance Club/Play songs chart in August. Hell, I didn’t even know she had an album coming out, and that’s the way it should be: Only the fans care.
And you simply don’t reach the fans via carpet-bombing.
McCartney just answered a bunch of questions on Twitter trying to promote his next album, “New.” You know you’re done when you employ a paradigm every hipster used two years ago. What next, an AOL real-time chat?
Don’t swoop down and try to get our attention when you’ve got something to sell, be in our face every day if you want to play the viral marketing game. Miley Cyrus posted video of herself twerking on YouTube long before the VMAs. It got the fan base energized; she showed she was an artist, not an entertainer.
Yup, today’s artists are creating all day long. And not in the same way they used to. Madonna wasn’t all about the music, and neither is Miley. But if you want to make it about the music, make good stuff.
I love Elton. But despite the sound being exquisite, I couldn’t find one decent track on the whole damn album, and I actually listened to the entire thing. Certainly no “Take Me to the Pilot” or “Sixty Years On.” Would I love to write about Elton? Of course! But now I can only say something negative.
Hey Elton! Go where the people are! Go on Twitter and post pics of your kids, talk about your frustrations, tell us what you’re listening to!
Or don’t do anything like that and release undeniable music; that’s how the Weeknd broke.
It’s creepy, all these oldsters with their faces lifted and hair dyed, trying to appear young while the audience either ignores them or makes fun of them. Baseball players don’t come out of retirement to hit home runs and pitch no-hitters. Why should it be any different in music?
If only McCartney put out a track every month. And supported it with an online presence. Maybe, one of them would hit.
Or if he’s truly that desperate, why not work with Dr. Luke. Or provide backups on a Cyrus record or drop into hits like the rapper du jour.
Anathema you say!
But if you don’t think Elton and McCartney are dying to sell their new records, you don’t know them.
And it’s very tough. Because their audience is ancient and hard to motivate. But if you do it the same damn way, why expect a different result?
Elton broke because of the undeniable “Your Song.” Half a listen was good enough. Write another one 90% as good, get Jeffrey Katzenberg to feature it in a new DreamWorks animated production, and whore it out as a theme song for Burger King thereafter.
Stop with the albums no one cares about. There’s not even any money in it anymore.
Play the YouTube awards. Sit in with your brethren. Don’t appear desperate, but HUNGRY!
Isn’t that the main appeal of Miley Cyrus, how much she WANTS IT?
Read more Bob Lefsetz columns at Lefsetz.com.