I have become increasingly aware of the importance of “image” in music promotion. I grew up listing to music in 1970s which in my view was the golden era for music songwriting. I remember David Bowie playing “Starman” on Top of the Pops, which was literally unlike anything anyone had seen before. Fortunately, the visual image was as captivating as the music which has stood the test of time many decades later. During the same era Alice Cooper was similarly considered highly controversial with a carefully formulated rock image and Alice is still selling our concerts today…
Anyone involved in any music promotion or any form of marketing appreciates that image is an important aspect. Whether we like it or not, artists will often struggle to be heard unless this visual aspect is taken into account. Many record labels package artists in a very specific way to maximize what they regard as “their investments” I am fortunate to know some very well-known international artists, one of whom talked recently about “the dreaded photo shoot” It was obvious to me that the music business, is like any other business in that the first rule of marketing is that “difference dictates”. If you don’t stand out from the crowd, then essentially you are just the same as everybody else and probably won’t he heard above “the noise”
An outbreak of cute girls/boys plus ukuleles?
Online there is an increasing trend of what I would respectfully describe as “cute” girls and boys playing ukuleles. Nothing wrong with this of course, but if you close your eyes and just listen to the music on its own, its rarely original and really not that great. The ukulele is all too often more like a prop than a musical instrument for creative expression, which I think is a real tragedy. The uke is a magical instrument that is in my view like no other and quite brilliant for songwriting. To reduce its function to a stage prop is criminal and such folks should be placed in the village stocks and pelted with appropriate amounts of rotten fruit.
On the Original Ukulele Songs site (www.originalukulelesongs.com) there are all manner of really great artists that do far more than simply pose with a uke. These artists have taken the time to really develop something original. From what I see many are hardworking and really care about their craft. I saw one female artist online who has a nice voice, but all the videos were of her in a bikini (often on a beach), which I thought more than a bit odd…
Enough of the pouting please!
My absolute pet hate is carefully choreographed pouting artists. Amazingly many of these can have significant video viewings but the material is in my view just pretty bland. The ukulele is a wonderful instrument for great sonic explorations. Increasingly there are artists who are really showcasing just how expressive this instrument can be. While I may not always love the music (give me three soulful notes rather than a technical flurry of 30 notes!) the best artists have a real passion for what they are doing and a definite musical point of view. Bravo to all such folks, whose songs will I suspect be around decades to come.
(If you don’t like these views, I do have others)