Generally people are promoted by either their label or a PR firm. They come up with a programme of how they will sell your product (e.g. CD).How do people like B. Spears, T. Swift, J. Mayer go from relative obscurity to mega stars? What are contract negotiations like at each level? Something tells me it's more about their handling than their talent.
Well...again, couldn't we put the value judgments, and the arguments as to why the values don't see the big picture into another thread?I think musicians tend to get caught up in the idea that music is some sort of pinnicle of society and that all involving it should somehow meet a worthiness test before it can be called "Music" and be spoken of as a part of that ethos; that only worthy music should be allowed to stand next to Beethoven's 9th, or Wagner's Ring. When you get too caught up in thinking that way, you start to get confused by people like Brittany Spears, or Lady Ga Ga, or find yourself defending someone whom YOU perceive as being a real musician, but whom others question (such as maybe JM).
However, all of this is just BS premised on a flawed construct.
Music, as an expression of bands/musicians beyond their personal circles, is a business. It is designed to get people to pay money to see or hear performers. The more money that can be amassed, the better. It is not designed to better the Earth, or to perfect any genre, or somehow create a better world where Art is perfected. It is a business. It is designed to amass the greatest amount of money for the least effort. Anything that doesn't work toward that end falls away.
Don't take this as me being cynical. I don't mean at all to imply that I think music has somehow been lost to big business greed, or some BS like that. What I am saying is that as soon as the first musician took money to play for others, it stopped being this pure, idyllic form that so many still think it is. It is, and pretty much always has been, a way to make money. That the occassional Beethoven crops up is just the icing on the cake.
Once you grasp that concept, and stop thinking about some fantasy world where only the worthy can be famous, it all makes perfect sense and you are no longer confused by why someone who needs autotune just to speak, can become a multimillionaire "recording artist."