The Effects Of The Internet: Contract Giveaways

WWe’ve all seen your modern reality TV show: Pop Idol, X Factor, etc. etc. The premise is a simple one to understand. A collection of wannabe musicians gather together for the chance to become a star, under the guidance and tutelage of some of the biggest names in music production and media franchise today. Honestly, who wouldn’t take the chance if it was offered to them? Any winner, and even a large selection of the runners-up, will still became vastly and vapidly rich from as much as one single release – number one or not. Becoming a star afterwards is optional; it doesn’t really matter. Many of the contestants will be handed a record contract with a bare minimum of work by comparison to the usual channels. This allows them to skip potential years of hard work making a name for themselves and building a career.

I thought that this was a fairly bad practice. I will admit that there is some work involved, and some actual singing does need to be done, but life threw one of those confusing hits at me earlier today. I was sitting at home, laptop on and fingers working frantically for a piece I’ve been working on. One of the people that I live with had on the “Alan Titchmarsh show“. Personally – not something I would have watched, but it’s a necessary evil for this article.

They were holding a “crooning” competition. There had been a fair few applicants, but no public exposure whatsoever, and yet, the winner would earn themselves a record contract, just as the winner of the X Factor was being offered. This required significantly less work.

Photo credit: Quotidiano.Net

Is the talent pool so dilated that record companies need to host such competitions in order to find the next “big thing”? The exposure alone from shows like Popstars: The Rivals generates album and single sales without question, but the Alan Titchmarsh show? Where’s the guarantee there? Is that a win to be proud of?

You all have the internet, else there’d be no way for you to be reading this right now. You know that there is an enormous wealth of talent out of there; unpaid, under listened to and most definitely under appreciated. Why aren’t they being offered these deals? They’ve worked hard to earn a following, build a reputation and garnish a career, so why don’t they get any recognition? If you owned a record company, would you rather go for something that you can hear straight away or something that you’re going to have to mould, assign songs to and write lyrics for?

Or worse, somebody who will perform a cover of a cover, and, in adding their own twist, butcher the last of the original charm that it had?

I can only wonder then if it’s the artists themselves who are failing to expose themselves to the record companies in question. Has e-mail and myspace music replaced the good old “send them your demo” method that really is required in the modern age and the previous generation. I am a writer. I write using a laptop, but I still have to double space it, print it all out, force visual appeal into it and then send it off for an agent or publisher to review, possibly edit and then consider. You can never discount the packaging on CDs either. First impressions last.

I’d like to see what you think here. Why has it become necessary for the music industry to create and mould new musical applicants through the use of competitions when there are so many artists who are desperate to be recognised for the hard work that they’ve been doing for so long?

Perhaps it’s something to do with how malleable your children are compared to those of other people. I am unsure.

Tom Colohue is a fiction writer and music instructor from Blackpool, England. Though his main works are in the realms of fantasy, he also writes modern fiction for multiple websites, as well as theoretical and practical music lessons for magazines.

Also read The Effects Of The Internet: “Making It” and The Effects Of The Internet: Music Distribution