Why Do Artists Obsess over Contests?

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by TomRichards, May 4, 2015.

  1. TomRichards

    TomRichards Member

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    At the risk of pissing off some of the industry guys, I would like to share this for all the up and coming artists out there. Success in the music industry does not come from American idol, X-Factor, the voice or any other contest, especially local contests like The Break.

    Any contest that requires you to pay an entry fee, then makes ticket sales/attendance a very large percentage of your score to move forward into the next round, has nothing to do with talent, and says nothing about your overall and future talent and ability. They are, exactly, a money making venture for the promoter/contest owner. If they weren't, they would not have the contest every year, period. No promoter or concert organizer can afford, nor wants to, lose money before the main event even starts.

    Do the math. You pay your entry fee. Ka-ching. You sell tickets to round one. Ka-ching. People buy food and drink at round one. Ka-ching. You advance. You sell tickets, and start promoting the contest and the concert you are trying to win entry to. Ka-ching. You sell more tickets then before, do a decent performance, move on. You promote even heavier, do more social media, etc, and sell more tickets now at a higher price. Ka-ching. People still buy food and beverage. Hell, some even have to pay parking. Ka-ching. And the list goes on. So, if you manage to make the finals, you feel like you won.

    However, you paid $15-$20 just to try and be in it (non-refundable if they disqualify you for some reason), sold at least $1000 worth of tickets (and you got nothing), your family and friends spent money in the venue (a percentage of which goes to the promoter) and you did thousands of dollars worth of social media and other advertising both indirectly and directly for the promoter. And, you signed away, without compensation, for them to use your picture and likeness in promotions and other advertising, you gave them rights to use your music on their products, and in one local case, authorization to have your music on a different commercial venture the promoter owns. All with no compensation.

    If you have talent, think about how much further you would be if you spent that much time just working for yourself, doing all that on your own for you! You would probably be one of the acts that the promoter approaches and wants to perform at the festival, and will pay you.

    I have 35 years in this biz, as a touring musician, studio musician, band manager, promoter and also A&R. There will be some who want to argue my points, but they will be the ones who will not make any money after someone reads this post.

    Just to give you some idea, think about this. How many people remember who finished third on American Idol the year that Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard were the finalists? How many winners of Ed McMahon's Star Search went on to huge careers? How many of the all-time greatest music artists won a contest and that got them their fame?

    'Nuff said. I am always here if you need me.
     
  2. grind1

    grind1 Member

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    I was always of the opinion that the participants in those "Battle of the Bands" contests were unwittingly damning themselves to terminally local status.
     
  3. Heinz57Pep

    Heinz57Pep Member

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    Being memorable, having a huge career, being famous....making a living in music is not contingent on any of those things. If you can make as much money doing music as you can being a floor manager at Applebee's, you win. If a "contest" helps get you there, go for it.

    Battles of the Bands are a different animal, and should be avoided at all costs.
     
  4. Guitar Josh

    Guitar Josh Resident Curmudgeon Silver Supporting Member

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    Kimberly Locke. Josh Gracin was fourth.

    Say what you will about AI (and I gave up on it years ago), but many, many, many of its contestants have gone on to careers in the industry.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2015
  5. hellbender

    hellbender Member

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    youth = dumb. Make a meal out of some bright-eyed kid.
     
  6. TomRichards

    TomRichards Member

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    Actually, only Carrie Underwood really went on to the huge career, maybe Kelly Clarkson.

    The rest of them have had some fame and success driven by the after AI push, but most have already faded to history. Clay Aiken is in politics now. Ruben Studdard, who WON, had one album, big flop (mostly because the two Simons tried to make him hip hop instead of the Luther Vandross he was) Pickler, Gracin, living on the edge of country.

    Hell, that Constantine guy was just at one of my local restaurants doing a cover gig.

    No one argues that fame and exposure won't get you somewhere, but the way these local and regional contests make it out to be for just the opportunity to appear on the main stage of a local festival, you would think they were going to bring fame and fortune to the artist, when in reality, they are just using it to make some money before the festival and then to get a gazillion dollars of free social media and advertising.
     
  7. Guitar Josh

    Guitar Josh Resident Curmudgeon Silver Supporting Member

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    I have no idea why you say "actually" when that wasn't even part of what of what I was saying. These kids have "made it" more than you or I or pretty much every else here has or will.

    Funny how you bring of Constantine. He's one of the better examples. He virtually invented a beloved Broadway character, he is Tony nominated, won a drama league award, and has been a lead actor in two successful (one highly successful) productions on Broadway. The guy is even memorialized at Sardi's! All because of Idol.

    So really, your post doesn't do much for me because all of these people are where they are because of a "contest". And we are posting on internet message boards. That's something.
     
  8. Bogner

    Bogner Member

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  9. Sean French

    Sean French Supporting Member

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    Excellent SN song lyric reference. :aok
     
  10. greggorypeccary

    greggorypeccary Member

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    I'm not so sure artists obsess over contests.
     
  11. BetterMeThanYou

    BetterMeThanYou Member

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    What is the music industry anyway, but one big scam?
     
  12. BetterMeThanYou

    BetterMeThanYou Member

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  13. Polynitro

    Polynitro Member

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    all that time? AI takes a few weeks and a dozen performances out of a lifetime of trying to make it.
    mass exposure is all it is.
     
  14. MONSTER ZERO

    MONSTER ZERO Member

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    My Nephew recently participated in a Battle of The Bands for the Warped Tour. He, his band mates and my Sister spent nearly 10k and got nowhere with it. They are a damn good band too for the type of stuff they play.

    It's a scam plain and simple designed to take advantage of artists who think they can "make it". I have an acquaintance who was on the Rock Star Super Nova and he's making a decent living touring off of that but it's pretty rare. He's extremely talented too.

    The difference is he's business smart and my Nephew, his band, and my Sister are not. I tried to warn all of them but they just think I'm an old jealous cover band fart trying to squash their dreams. Eh whatever.

    I was there. Had my 15 minutes and bought the t-shirt. Unless it's a benefit or for my family I'll never play for free ever again. I will especially never pay to play ever again.
     
  15. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    Tom Petty, actually.
     
  16. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar...

    Chris Daughtry has a decent career going.
     
  17. Moxsam

    Moxsam Member

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    I've never thought of those contestants as "artists".
     
  18. wire-n-wood

    wire-n-wood Member

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    I totally agree with the OP. On principle, I cannot stand watching the competitions. I wish Keith Urban would stay clear of them. The talent on those shows is wonderful, but the exploitation is total and the control over the popular music market is sickening.

    Tom Petty tells it some more here. Great quote at 2:00.

     
  19. BetterMeThanYou

    BetterMeThanYou Member

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    Awesome
     
  20. Polynitro

    Polynitro Member

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    kelly pickler made it to 6th and has sold gold albums!

    would petty scoff at beth hart?
     

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