MIA the next big thing? No.

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    b, 21SHE LOOKS CUTER WITH HERM & DENNY.
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    b, 21I concur.
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    b, 21 Ms. Cottontail
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    font class="post"1 Pic possibly covered in jizz, coke and lip gloss with a side of rhinestone covered dunks.

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    b, 21SHE LOOKS CUTER WITH HERM & DENNY.
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    b, 21I concur.
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    b, 21 Ms. Cottontail
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    b, 21Not at all. She is the sweetest of sweethearts, cool as hell and a very pleasant young lady. For what it's worth, I consider myself a good judge of character.
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    b, 21Don't believe what you hear and/or read.

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    b, 21 totally disposable like The Shop Boys
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    font class="post"1b, 21b, 21easy; faux is a huge fan.

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    b, 21Is MIA selling records?
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    b, 21Licensing is off the chain. But what about units? Does it even matter?
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    b, 21I still don't think your average wallmart shopper could pick her out of a line-up... even if they jam the SWAGGER record
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    font class="post"1b, 21 b, 21yes she's moving units...the main reason why was the use of paper planes on Pineapple Express.b, 21Months after the single was initially dropped it flew back on to radio and then on to both mainstream rock & rap radio.b, 21the album had disappeared from the charts and flew back into the top 100 and stayed there for a while.b, 21i think the album has moved around 300,000 units, nevermind the single.

  • Why cant any of you be honest and admit that that almost all her critical esteem is because of how damn ethnicy she is and how damn white most of the music press is? She is shit on an off day, a turd off its game, probably the worst musical 'artist' I have ever heard. I can half believe that some of you enjoy her albums to a degree, there is some decent production on there. I refuse to believe however that any of you enjoy an MIA album because of MIA. She doesnt spit, she doesnt sing, all she does is say some irritating shit for a few minutes and then bounces.

  • deejdeej 5,125 Posts
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    a href="http://www.billboard.com/bb/charts/indie_albums.jsp" target="_blank"1the numbers don't lie
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    b, 21and who the F*ck is still checking for C-murder?
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    b, 21I picked up the latest single out of the 50 cent bin...it sucked.
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    font class="post"1b, 21were u guys talking about this??? it was good.b, 21b, 21object width="425" height="344"1param name="movie" value=""1/param1param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"1/param1param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"1/param1embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"1/embed1/object1

  • deejdeej 5,125 Posts
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    b, 21I wouldn't disagree with any of what's been written here, but I do think there are some interesting things to note:
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    b, 211. The more things change, the more they stay the same: Television and Film are still the most powerful tools to break music. For all of the critical blowjobs that MIA received, she was never really able to break out of the sales and notoriety box afforded to "critical darlings". One good synch opportunity changed all of that. More proof that no one cares about music critics, which was one of my central points here. It AMAZES me how much power the moving picture has to sell music. My firm reps a singer-songwriter named Sara Bareilles who wrote a rad little song called "Love Song" that Epic quietly dumped into the market with low expectations. 10 seconds in a Rhapsody commercial changed all of that and turned it into a smash. Shit, Mario's album tanked and then his tie in to Dancing With The Stars pushed him to acceptable sales. I could probably come up with a thousand more examples.
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    b, 212. MIA is still for all intents and purposes a "one hit wonder". She's not totally disposable like The Shop Boys or whatever, but her album and single sales are about on par with Mims or Flo-Rida. Not a criticism so much as an observation that if she disappeared tomorrow, she would be chalked up as "that girl with the airplanes song". I am curious to see if she can have another single that impacts. If lightening strikes twice, it's then that the game has changed for her.
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    b, 213. The most interesting aspect of all of this to me is the amount and duration of label support that MIA received: in most instances, if an artist doesn't have strong first-week sales, they are quickly forgotten about and it's on to the next act. MIA got constant support from XL and Interscope for damn near two years. There's nothing wrong with this, in fact it's awesome and I wish that more labels would do it for more artists. I think you would see alot more "breakout" unexpected hit records/acts.
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    b, 21Her music still leaves me cold and I find some of her recent statements about her marriage and other things to be puzzling, but it's undeniable that Kanye has pushed the "mainstream" much farther in the direction of the kind of music she makes. Overall I think that's a good thing, but I cannot help but wish that lots of more deserving musicians would get the same sort of prolonged push she's gotten.
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    font class="post"1b, 21b, 21i agree w/ most of what you're getting at. im a h8r too, when it comes to this music. BUTTTTTTTT I wish I COULD agree that critics dont matter -- but they do, unfortunately. theyre controlling the discourse around this shit, how its gonna be remembered. no matter how popular some shit is, no matter how many records it sells, the people buying those records arent the ones writing about the music of now, know what i mean?b, 21b, 21in this example, why do u think interscope + XL put so much effort into pushing this shit long after she sold like 10 copies? Bcuz she seemed like a cool chick? How did the Clipse get another opportunity to record an album while Philly's Most and Mil fall off the face of the planet?b, 21b, 21i think how ppl talk about music actually does impact its long-term viability, and that includes critics and how they set up the heirarchy and the ways we talk about music and what things we value in music (thus the unwillingness of ppl to properly memorialize disco until extremely recently, beyond a niche of small-time collectors + DJs ... and of course much of black america but u know how that goes nationwide). A lot of times its a function of white privilege. it also works to devalue work that doesnt embrace 'serious' masculine values, or heteronormative ones, etc etc ...

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    b, 21in this example, why do u think interscope + XL put so much effort into pushing this shit long after she sold like 10 copies? Bcuz she seemed like a cool chick? How did the Clipse get another opportunity to record an album while Philly's Most and Mil fall off the face of the planet?
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    font class="post"1b, 21b, 21Clipse got the chance to record another album because Hip Hop and Rick Rubin think they're great. I am pretty sure that neither of those guys read Tom Breihan.

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    b, 21SHE LOOKS CUTER WITH HERM & DENNY.
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    b, 21I concur.
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    b, 21(Pic snapped by Ms. Cottontail, by the way.) [color:white1 (/DJDazeNamedrop)
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    b, 21 Ms. Cottontail
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    b, 21Not at all. She is the sweetest of sweethearts, cool as hell and a very pleasant young lady. For what it's worth, I consider myself a good judge of character.
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    b, 21Don't believe what you hear and/or read.
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    b, 21Has Herm ever met a fauxmous person he didn't like?

  • DocMcCoyDocMcCoy "Go and laugh in your own country!" 5,920 Posts
    I like to think I was at least partially right about MIA, inasmuch as the immediate need to come right out of the box with big numbers wasn't really a priority for either XL or Interscope, and the fact that she'll almost certainly get to do a third album bears this out to an extent. b, 21b, 21Funny thing is, though, about six months after this thread started, I went off to work for MIA's publisher. During a roster meeting early in 2006, the topic of her second album came up, which she was just about to start work on, and, perhaps with this thread at the back of my subconscious, I asked how many units "Arular" had moved. At that point it had done over 250,000 worldwide, but they were expecting it to have peaked at between 275-300k by the time the next album was due. Everyone seemed reasonably happy with this, considering it was a debut album by a non-mainstream female artist, and the feeling was that this was something to build on with the second album.b, 21b, 21As for the issue of how much influence critical praise has on a record, "Kala" was probably more favourably received than "Arular" - perhaps because it was a better record - but that didn't seem to have too much of an effect on actual sales, at least not initially. Nevertheless, more people were talking about "Kala" when it came out, and it seemed as if MIA would indeed reach beyond the hipster constituency who were riding for her a few years earlier, even if you factor in the scepticism that's often faced by "critically-acclaimed" acts/records. However, as has now been pointed out, both MIA's sales and profile have benefitted much more from things like shrewd and imaginative synch licensing, which has helped "Paper Planes" become a sleeper hit, and which has in turn boosted sales of "Kala". In comparison, the whole critical acclaim thing has a negligible effect. Nick Drake's records died like dogs when they first came out, and even though Island kept them on catalogue, they were never big sellers. Years later, somebody places "Pink Moon" in a car ad and suddenly he's selling more records than he ever looked like selling when he was alive, whether critically feted or not. It should go without saying that records become hits when people hear them, not when they read about them.

  • mannybolonemannybolone 15,030 Posts
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    b, 21i agree w/ most of what you're getting at. im a h8r too, when it comes to this music. BUTTTTTTTT I wish I COULD agree that critics dont matter -- but they do, unfortunately. theyre controlling the discourse around this shit, how its gonna be remembered. no matter how popular some shit is, no matter how many records it sells, the people buying those records arent the ones writing about the music of now, know what i mean?
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    b, 21in this example, why do u think interscope + XL put so much effort into pushing this shit long after she sold like 10 copies? Bcuz she seemed like a cool chick? How did the Clipse get another opportunity to record an album while Philly's Most and Mil fall off the face of the planet?
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    b, 21i think how ppl talk about music actually does impact its long-term viability, and that includes critics and how they set up the heirarchy and the ways we talk about music and what things we value in music (thus the unwillingness of ppl to properly memorialize disco until extremely recently, beyond a niche of small-time collectors + DJs ... and of course much of black america but u know how that goes nationwide). A lot of times its a function of white privilege. it also works to devalue work that doesnt embrace 'serious' masculine values, or heteronormative ones, etc etc ...
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    font class="post"1b, 21b, 21THE LONG TAIL BELONGS TO US!b, 21b, 21No seriously though, I hear what you're saying here but I think this is grossly simplifying the complexities of how things become "popular." Does journalism/criticism play some role in that? Sure; it's not like these things exist in a cultural vacuum, cut-off from everything else. b, 21b, 21But, for example, I can't remotely take seriously the idea that journalism played a leading role in the death and marginalization of disco. Disco was universally hated on by MANY corners of America (including older Black Americans). It wasn't music critics hosting disco-burning parties in baseball stadiums even if many critics might have also hated on disco too. I can guarantee you - if there were a grassroots movement to re-celebrate disco, you'd find TONS of writers changing their tune. A lot of what makes criticism fun isn't trying to lead the charge, it's in trying to decipher the charge. b, 21b, 21Think of it another way: does Dylan or the Beatles or the Rolling Stones still loom large in the popular imagination because journalism has kept these flames fanned? Or is it the fans themselves and a generation of baby boomers hungry to perpetually relive their childhoods? b, 21b, 21And one more thing: I think it's really important to distinguish between "big on the internet" and a more traditional view on music criticism that's print-based. The latter is, of course, more irrelevant than ever but internet-based music-writing is an entirely different animal compared to the pre-00s role that music critics played. Someone like MIA owes her "reputation" to internet bloggers first and foremost and that requires a different analysis of what role internet hype (and I don't mean that term pejoratively) plays in terms of translating into actual sales. At the time of her first album, MIA might very well have become popular with the Pazz and Jop crowd but one big reason the latter even became aware of her to begin with was thanks to internet buzz first. b, 21b, 21b, 21BTW: b, 21Did MIA really sell "like 10 albums"? Do you even know? b, 21b, 21And how did the Clipse's sales stack up next to Philly's Most? I thought the Clipse undersold vis a vis expectations but it's not like they moved nothing.

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    b, 21It should go without saying that records become hits when people hear them, not when they read about them.
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    font class="post"1b, 21b, 21Perfectly put. Doc, based on what I know about you, I gotta guess you know the homie G-y M--t, yes?

  • mannybolonemannybolone 15,030 Posts
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    b, 21As for the issue of how much influence critical praise has on a record, "Kala" was probably more favourably received than "Arular" - perhaps because it was a better record - but that didn't seem to have too much of an effect on actual sales, at least not initially. Nevertheless, more people were talking about "Kala" when it came out, and it seemed as if MIA would indeed reach beyond the hipster constituency who were riding for her a few years earlier, even if you factor in the scepticism that's often faced by "critically-acclaimed" acts/records. However, as has now been pointed out, both MIA's sales and profile have benefitted much more from things like shrewd and imaginative synch licensing, which has helped "Paper Planes" become a sleeper hit, and which has in turn boosted sales of "Kala". In comparison, the whole critical acclaim thing has a negligible effect. Nick Drake's records died like dogs when they first came out, and even though Island kept them on catalogue, they were never big sellers. Years later, somebody places "Pink Moon" in a car ad and suddenly he's selling more records than he ever looked like selling when he was alive, whether critically feted or not. It should go without saying that records become hits when people hear them, not when they read about them.
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    font class="post"1b, 21>>>>> aging baby boomer critics in reviving Drake's catalog. b, 21b, 21I haven't looked into the actual stats behind this but I think "Arular" and "Kala" were equally well received; in fact, maybe "Arular" was more so since I knew quite a few folks who had MIA-fatigue by the time "Kala" came through. b, 21b, 21and yes to "records become hits when people hear them."

  • DocMcCoyDocMcCoy "Go and laugh in your own country!" 5,920 Posts
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    b, 21It should go without saying that records become hits when people hear them, not when they read about them.
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    b, 21Perfectly put. Doc, based on what I know about you, I gotta guess you know the homie G-y M--t, yes?
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    font class="post"1b, 21b, 21Not personally, no. We have a number of mutual friends, but he always moved in higher, more rarified circles than I ever did. I continue to hear good things about him, though, and his record since taking over the big chair is in keeping with the rep he developed when he was purely in charge of the creative side. Compare and contrast with the fortunes of the recorded music division...

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    b, 21SHE LOOKS CUTER WITH HERM & DENNY.
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    b, 21I concur.
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    b, 21(Pic snapped by Ms. Cottontail, by the way.) [color:white] (/DJDazeNamedrop)
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    b, 21 Ms. Cottontail
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    b, 21Not at all. She is the sweetest of sweethearts, cool as hell and a very pleasant young lady. For what it's worth, I consider myself a good judge of character.
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    b, 21Don't believe what you hear and/or read.
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    b, 21Has Herm ever met a fauxmous person he didn't like?
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    font class="post"1b, 21b, 21b, 21I can't really answer that 'cause any fauxmas person I've ever met was usually just a quick handshake, a nod and a peace out. With the person in question I actually had a good 2-3 days of kickin' it (BFF/Rock The Bells/Disneyland-related) so I'm able to make a fair assessment.

  • Just Joshin - I figured you were just trying to keep up with the Dazes!

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    b, 21Just Joshin - I figured you were just trying to keep up with the Dazes!
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    font class="post"1b, 21b, 21[color:white] Peep the white text in the original post! !--color--1/font1

  • deejdeej 5,125 Posts
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    b, 21in this example, why do u think interscope + XL put so much effort into pushing this shit long after she sold like 10 copies? Bcuz she seemed like a cool chick? How did the Clipse get another opportunity to record an album while Philly's Most and Mil fall off the face of the planet?
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    b, 21Clipse got the chance to record another album because Hip Hop and Rick Rubin think they're great. I am pretty sure that neither of those guys read Tom Breihan.
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    font class="post"1b, 21i dont think those dudes are specifically reading lots of tom breihan articles, but yah pitchfork is certainly good at getting buzz going -- all it takes is a few ppl talking. "Grinding" is remembered by a lot of these dudes for being so omg progressive/minimalist whatever, so all pfork has to do is point out they have a new mixtape and you've got the right ingredients. buzz builds. rick rubin's secretary is bumping the mixtape in the whip. or whatever.b, 21b, 21i v. much disagree that this 'respected journalist' discourse doesnt matter. im not saying i think its a good thing, but ppl still defer to 'experts.' if the right people are buzzing about the right shit, it gets picked upb, 21b, 21i mean, how on earth do u think MIA got placement in that movie in the first place?? it was cuz some pfork/blog reading dude was involved w/ soundtracking the trailer. this circle of discourse is working w/in the right channels to have an impactb, 21b, 21b, 21another example is, like, rock artists from the 80s who were pretty niche at the time having national sell-out reunion crowds i.e. pixies

  • mannybolonemannybolone 15,030 Posts
    " rock artists from the 80s who were pretty niche at the time having national sell-out reunion crowds i.e. pixies "b, 21b, 21Uh...

  • mannybolonemannybolone 15,030 Posts
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    b, 21i mean, how on earth do u think MIA got placement in that movie in the first place??
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    font class="post"1b, 21b, 21But this was my previous point: at what point can you credit "respected journalist discourse" for that song's general saturation in collective culture? Look - I can only speak from my experience and those I know in the circles I keep, some of whom are "respected journalists" (read: print folks) and believe me, most of them are finding shit to write about based on what they see being talked about elsewhere - i.e. blogs and message boards, etc.b, 21b, 21But to me, the music journalism world is not flat. Someone like Robert Christgau (who LOVES MIA for example) is not talking to the same audiences as, say, Stereogum. One can argue who's more relevant in 2008, but it doesn't make sense to talk about them in the same breath as if their function in popular discourse is the same. It's not. b, 21b, 21So who exactly is the "respected journalist" community that you're speaking of? b, 21b, 21I think you're taking a truly TINY number of people and magnifying their influence. One only needs to look at the utter disconnect between a poll like Pazz and Jop and Soundscan charts to see how out of whack the two tend to be.

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    b, 21Has Herm ever met a fauxmous person he didn't like?
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  • and is all this debate over MIA just a little bit because she gets so much love from teh hipstaz?

  • DocMcCoyDocMcCoy "Go and laugh in your own country!" 5,920 Posts
    i mean, how on earth do u think MIA got placement in that movie in the first place?? it was cuz some pfork/blog reading dude was involved w/ soundtracking the trailer.

    Nah. I can state with 100% certainty that the music-supe side of that entire movie was dealt with by the Film & TV licensing team out of Universal Music Publishing's London office in what was actually a pretty groundbreaking deal. I know this because the head of that department told me so personally, and I've known her long enough to know she doesn't bullshit. Just thought I'd clear that up.

  • DongerDonger 854 Posts
    I don't know why people are surprised at the amount of press MIA gets. This is some pretty simple shit.

    Magazine covers sell magazines. She is pretty. Beyond her beauty, she is interesting visually, as in colorful clothing etc. This makes a perfect cover shot for a magazine. MIA is like the holy grail for magazine publishers.

    Magazines need articles to sell ads. With MIA's dad being who he is, that already gives journalists something to write about. Add on her crazy wardrobe/looks, her ethnicity, the political angle in some of the lyrics, and the fact that her music stands out from all the indie rock and rap promos collecting dust in some journalists cubicle, and these articles are already writing themselves. MIA is like the Holy Grail for journalists.

    She is perfect for magazines, and you guys should already know the business of selling magazines and advertising has nothing to do with quality of music.

    P.S. For the record, I find nothing wrong with her music. I personally won't listen to an entire LP of hers, but it's not a bad thing to me if I hear Paper Planes or some shit come on in the club.

  • mannybolonemannybolone 15,030 Posts
    Gotta disagree with most of what was written above. None of those things - photogenic + controversial father - equals a "Holy Grail" for either publishers or journalists.

    It does, in the end, actually have to come back to the music on some level. If all you needed was a good look and decent backstory, then why is it that you generally see the same faces on magazine covers (not all of whom are particularly attractive)?

    If you want a Holy Grail, then someone like Kanye West is much closer to that because 1) his records sell and 2) he has a penchant for saying shit in public that people like to write about.

    If MIA sounded like Ashanti, no one would give a F*ck. At some point, her music has to appeal to enough people for magazines to think, "well, maybe her fans will buy this magazine if we put her on the cover."

    In other words, in almost all cases, mags follow the populist trends, not vice versa.

  • DongerDonger 854 Posts
    Gotta disagree with most of what was written above. None of those things - photogenic + controversial father - equals a "Holy Grail" for either publishers or journalists.

    It does, in the end, actually have to come back to the music on some level. If all you needed was a good look and decent backstory, then why is it that you generally see the same faces on magazine covers (not all of whom are particularly attractive)?

    If you want a Holy Grail, then someone like Kanye West is much closer to that because 1) his records sell and 2) he has a penchant for saying shit in public that people like to write about.

    If MIA sounded like Ashanti, no one would give a F*ck. At some point, her music has to appeal to enough people for magazines to think, "well, maybe her fans will buy this magazine if we put her on the cover."

    In other words, in almost all cases, mags follow the populist trends, not vice versa.

    You sound like you've never worked in PR or at a magazine, but I could be wrong.

  • mannybolonemannybolone 15,030 Posts
    I've worked with music magazines for 14 years and the general science of the cover is dependent on what they think will sell. More times than not, they follow the trends rather than gambling on a relatively unknown face. Even supposedly more "cutting edge" publications tend to go with whoever has the most amount of hype backing them and that generally suggests these are artists who've managed to stir up populist interest already. Being photogenic and having a good backstory doesn't hurt but it's hardly the only thing going.

    To put it another way too - most music magazines, overwhelmingly, put men on their cover, even Blender (which Maxim started). If it was about finding pretty girls with colorful clothes, why don't we see more magazine covers sporting hot chicks in neon spandex (well, besides Gwen Stefani)?

    I agree with you in terms of why MIA is an appealing figure from a marketing point of view. I do think your invocation of "holy grail" is overstated but maybe I missed the wall to wall MIA coverage since "Arular." I think she's done quite nicely for herself in terms of PR but not necessarily more so than any number of other indie-ish type acts.

    I should add, I quite agree with this statement:

    "the business of selling magazines and advertising has nothing to do with quality of music."

    But my point is that music still matters since part of why any new artist picks up some degree of attention to begin with is that people actually like their music. It's not a quality issue but it is a popularity issue.

    I should add: I'm really not trying to turn this into a dick-measuring contest (which Donger's last post seemed to be pushing towards). I just think that the decision-making process at magazines tends to be even more conservative than he does. He's looking at traits that generally make for sound marketing decisions and I don't disagree that MIA has benefitted from her "exotic looks" (which he didn't even state but that's what we're talking about) or her backstory. But to me, I was focusing on the question of magazine covers which are perhaps one of the most conservative of all choices and in that case, someone like MIA only gets chosen once she's already proven herself to be market-viable through other means.

    Somewhat related:

    This reminds me...my first cover story for a mag was interviewing Prince Paul for URB back around '98/99 and while I was happy as hell to be able to do it, I later found out that issue was one of the lowest selling in URB history.



    Apparently, my fandom for Paul didn't carry over to the rest of the magazine's constituency. Maybe if we had paired him with Oakenfeld...

  • DongerDonger 854 Posts
    Some good points, but keep in mind that I am not just talking about music magazines.

    There are tons of fashion and lifestyle publications that don't really care how good the music is, if the look and back story is right.

    I should probably mention that I went to school (FIT) for, and worked in PR for a few years. I've since then worked in the fashion industry (not PR related), and my boss now has me working on our PR too. (recession wearing many hats related)

    So I can see you have more music mag experience, and I have more fashion experience. That explains our POVs. When worlds collide!

  • DocMcCoyDocMcCoy "Go and laugh in your own country!" 5,920 Posts
    There was a minor controversy over here in 2006 when the time came for NME to do their annual Cool List issue. Topping their Cool List that year was Beth Ditto of The Gossip, who isn't photogenic in the same way as you'd call MIA photogenic. They put Muse on the cover. Not only does that tell you something about what magazine publishers think is likely to sell copies, it also says a lot about artificially-constructed notions of what is or isn't "cool". Seems you can be fat as well as cool, which is cool, but if you're fat, you can't be cool enough to appear on the front cover of a magazine that's declared you not only cool, but The Coolest Person In Rock.

  • mannybolonemannybolone 15,030 Posts
    There was a minor controversy over here in 2006 when the time came for NME to do their annual Cool List issue. Topping their Cool List that year was Beth Ditto of The Gossip, who isn't photogenic in the same way as you'd call MIA photogenic. They put Muse on the cover. Not only does that tell you something about what magazine publishers think is likely to sell copies, it also says a lot about artificially-constructed notions of what is or isn't "cool". Seems you can be fat as well as cool, which is cool, but if you're fat, you can't be cool enough to appear on the front cover of a magazine that's declared you not only cool, but The Coolest Person In Rock.

    I'm of two minds with stuff like this because ultimately, I want magazines to stay in business and if that means someone lesser deserving artist gets a cover story in order to help float circulation, I can't be that mad. On the other hand, it can be frustrating trying to argue the merits of why someone is deserving - just on G.P. - when you think it should be obvious. This applies to any number of publications, both big and small.
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