Friday, September 3, 2010

When the Stars (Industry Contacts) Align: Teenage Dream

On DailyMusic, I really prefer to avoid CD reviews, especially reviewing artists that are currently being reviewed by 30 other music "journalists" on the web.  Regardless, I felt it was important to discuss the Marketing and behind the scenes aspects surrounding the release of Katy Perry's new album "Teenage Dream."

From an industry standpoint, Perry's campaign is notable in that in terms of today's record promotion, the (we will call it) "Teenage Dream campaign" is arguably the largest dollar amount a label is willing to dish out for any single record in this day and age.  Sure, these campaigns happen multiple times a year with other artists but rarely to the extent of "Teenage Dream."

Rather than review the content on "Teenage Dream," which do to outstanding number of competent co-writes and printed production credits equal to the length of the lyrics is a collection of, simply put, hit songs. 

Now that the review is out of the way, I was hoping to focus on the outstanding amount of industry supporters Perry has garnered over her short term in the spotlight.  Many might not know that Perry has been signed and dropped multiple times from other record labels before receiving a push from her current label for the ever so risque "I Kissed A Girl."  A genuine and dynamic talent, Perry has become a product of the label and fixation of top 40 radio since that release.

I think more than anything Perry is a perfect example of an artist that still had to prove herself even after being signed in order to get a push for her singles.  A great question is:  How and when did Perry go from being dropped in multiple instances all the way to the high budget production of "Teenage Dream?"  Some might say this happens when the "Stars" align.  No, I don't mean those twinkling things in the sky, I am talking about industry contacts and talents who are all now ready and willing to grab a piece of the Katy Perry pie.  No pun intended.  These contacts, in turn, make a record less "risky" and a good promotional investment from the standpoint of the record label.

The funny thing (and perhaps, the point) is that although Perry is an unbelievable talent and has garnered belief from industry professionals over and again throughout her career, never have so many talented artists, producers, songwriters, etc. ever wanted to be a part of her success (at the same time.)  See, from an industry standpoint, Perry was a "risk" for years.  When your album arguably lacks what I will call "big (unnameable) names"  whom are essentially behind the scenes, your songs are what I will call:  not a guarantee.  You might say:  "Well, they put 'Kissed A Girl' on the radio didn't they?"  Yes, they did, it got a small initial promotion, but at that point what percentage of listeners and industry professionals deemed Perry's silly antics and tongue in cheek tune essentially the makings of a "one hit wonder?"  Since the tune hit the ground running the label all of a sudden decided they wanted to get behind Perry and they did, in a big way.

Something to think about here is that, right now, the label has put their belief in Perry in terms of a dollar amount, which is well deserved.  But, in a recent interview with Billboard magazine, Perry put it in so many words that she realizes she is not changing the world with her current singles.  While she has industry contacts on her side I look forward to her willingness to bend in her new found stature and deliver an album that digs deep.  For now, let's be thankful Perry's 9 year struggle to the top has allotted her the dollar amount to be recognized in some way.  We can only hope that the stars align for other true talent more often than the standard total solar eclipse and that there are still some dollars left for those deserving individuals.