Rise of the Fake Artist

The mainstream music industry fucked up a long time ago for a variety of reasons. Mainly because its leaders lacked vision and were too lazy to make changes while they had a chance.

Napster destroyed what could have been a lucrative market for artists because the industry didn't litigate soon enough.

I even know the multimillionaire inventor and entrepreneur that originally went to the record labels proposing to digitize their entire music catalogs and sell the music through the internet back in 1997. They said it was a terrible idea that would never work. Needless to say this said independently wealthy visionary didn't need their money and wasn't going to waste time trying to convince the unannointed.
Funny, but devastating at the same time.

So basically, what happened is that the industry was left with very few ways to make tons of money because one of their primary sources (physical recorded music) went away.

So what they did was come up with a business model that used to be art centered and made it product centered. If you listen to my podcast you hear me talk about art vs. product a lot. It used to be that you made lots of art and the shit that resonated with the market became product. Now, the industry and their FAKE ARTIST executors strictly create product for the marketplace that in many cases is not even good. Ever wonder why you hear that same shitty song or artist on the radio? It's because they are a Fake Artist and in this post I'm going to explain how labels, corporations and the music industry as a whole props these fakes up and tries to convince you that they're worth listening to.

  1. The concept or brand - Just like any great product, you have to come up with some sort of image or brand that is going to be its face. That's what happens here. From the clothes the fake artist wears to how they are portraying their image on instagram, all of this is part of the brand that is being pushed. The brand must be consistent and not deviate. For example, if you are a teenage heartthrob, that's what you are. If you are a doo-rag wearing gangster rapper, that is what you are, you will not deviate from that because just like every great brand or product, coca cola for example, the formula is never changed.
  2. We Make you famous, then you perform - It used to be and still is for greats that you become so good you can't be ignored. Everyone unanimously agrees you have some sort of skill that can't be replicated. Society rewards you for this unique skill by way of attending your concerts and requesting your songs to be played on the radio. Not today. today songs are handed by major labels directly to program directors where they are given orders by executives on what to play and how often. Once the Fake Artist is made famous, the said artist that may not have any performance experience will then go perform and learn as they go. The quality of the show or product is not as important as how shiny we make the brand.
  3. We tell the radio stations to play your music - They use various tactics to get the Fake Artist's music on the radio. It could be providing exclusive access to other artists on their labels or as blatantly criminal as sending envelopes of cash to program directors through a practice called payola. Whatever the case, nobody is calling in requesting this bullshit music until they are instructed to do so. The radio station goes on the airwaves saying that this is the next hot artist. The general public is so mildly retarded that they start listening to anything that comes over the radio because it is played so much that it becomes familiar. What is familiar naturally becomes popular.
  4. They pick one angle and break the artist with that angel - If you hear a new artist come along and ask different people what they stand for and they all say the same thing, there is a high chance this is a Fake Artist. For example, "He wore a camo backpack everyday for year and that's why he became the camo backpack rapper!" or "he wrote this verse that has everyone upset and now everyone is writing verses back to him!" These are angels. Anytime everyone is repeating the same thing you're experiencing a basic public relations strategy called Staying on Message. When you Stay on Message it allows you to control what is said or perceived about your artist or product absent of the facts. Look at it like overwriting the file on a computer. It doesn't matter what the previous file was, you can rename it and overwrite it and that then becomes the file.
  5. They rise too quick & have no organic history of moving people - If an artist comes out of nowhere, this means there was a catalyst. There is always a catalyst and that is an immutable law.  Nothing just gets on the radio. Artists don't just blow up "overnight". There is only one way to determine how an artist "blew up" and become successful overnight. Either they had a long history of creating art and then one of their products hit the mainstream or resonated with the masses, or they were created and pushed into the spotlight using the methods listed in the above listed points. Every Fake Artist usually has a meteoric rise. Many Fake Artists also have shitty backstories. The bottom line is that most Fake Artists skip the line and lean on their label to created a sustainable career through perceived success.
  6. They can't impress people that don't already know who they are with a Unique Skill - If you are already famous or known, then whatever you say or do is going to be met with praise. Real artists are incredibly wary of this sort of attention because they know it has nothing to do with the quality of their work. That being said, if a Fake Artist was shipped to some remote village in Bangladesh and asked to present to perform for their youth and keep their attention for an hour or more by themselves, could they do it? No they couldn't. This means they are not a real artist. A real artist can make a connection with people from any and all backgrounds because they are REAL. Real people are always able to make people respond.
  7. They are praised for doing or trying, not for artistic excellence - If you're a pilot flying an airplane, you don't get praised for trying to land the plane. You get praised for landing the plane. This is their version of artistic excellence. They have become a mastery at their craft and therefore get rewarded for their efforts. This is not the same with a Fake Artist. A Fake Artist is praised for everything they say and do regardless of it's quality. This speaks to The Power of the Brand. People allow their minds to be manipulated so heavily that symbols warp their reality. So basically someone that is into a Fake Artists and "enjoys" or patronizes their content is worshiping a false idol like in the Bible. The quality of their work has no bearing on the impression of their followers.
  8. They amass fortunes quickly, which allows them to sustain the lie and eventually turn the lie into a truth - While many Fake Artists do not have the stamina to persevere and become a good artist after their initial successes, some do. A dedicated Fake Artist understands that their initial popshot success provided them a launching point and large warchest for them to build their house of cards. The basically get paid to go through the process that most real artists toil for years over. So they get paid $25,000 a night to play a show that displays no entertainment or performance value whatsoever, they eventually get tired of being terrible and will eventually improve because there is nothing left for them to do in life because they are already rich. They may begin to take up playing a real instrument and may rebrand themselves as a diverse talent and rockstar or whatever the case may be. Because they already have the platform, they can say whatever they want and that's what gets written into the history books.
  9. Their handlers, managers, agents, and publicists craft Fake news around their artists and solicit awards to validate them in the public eye -  Public relations is the not so secret weapon of the Fake Artist. Basically, what happens is that they use the warchest of the Fake Artist to make up stories that make the fake artist appear well rounded and deep in the eyes of the public. Their handlers lobby for them to receive awards and strong arm, influence and politically motivated people behind the scenes to do the artists bidding. While this is incredibly smart from a political standpoint, artists are not politicians. They are artists and if you use political tactics to make you appear better than you are then you are a Fake Artist. Real Artists don't have to use those tactics. Their work speaks for itself.
  10. What happens when a Fake Artist is not prepared for war - If a Fake Artist does not dedicated himself to his craft, eventually a real artist may come along and challenge his abilities relative to the image being portrayed for him. This can be an instant career killer that shatters the Fake Artists' so called ideals and image. It is extremely difficult to challenge a Real Artist if you are a Fake Artist. Though it may not be the Real Artists' goal to hurt the Fake Artist from a personal standpoint, the contrast he creates is necessary to maintaining the integrity of the landscape.