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How the Internet Affected Carly Rae Jepsen (mtvhive.com)
25 points by jseliger 1608 days ago | hide | past | web | 26 comments | favorite

(1) she's not dead

(2) she's not entitled to a success

(3) One hit wonders have always been a part of the music industry

The article isn't really arguing that one hit wonders are something new, or that people are entitled to success. It's arguing that there is a new dynamic in play. Due to the fact that she exploded so quickly as a meme from basically obscurity, no one was invested in her as an artist. The argument is that as a result of new media and technology, it's possible for a song to skyrocket without anyone following the artist themselves.

If you read on, the author points out the album she put out could be a contender for best pop album of the year, but not enough people care about her as an artist enough to check it out.

I find that pretty interesting. It's almost like a new take on the 15 minutes of fame idea, but now your 15 minutes, for whatever you did, make you famous to EVERYONE, but that has no affect on you sticking around in people's minds afterward....

There is no new dynamic in play, this has been happening to just about every one hit wonder since recording was invented. Some stay, most go.

The idea here is that follow-through has to be made by everybody, artist, label and so on to take an opportunity like this and to turn it into a marketable brand.

I'm reminded of:


Which I'd never heard of before running into it on digg, it's musically mediocre, has a fantastic video but ultimately failed to convince me to go out and buy an album.

The internet can't be given credit for the success and it can't be given the blame for subsequent failure, it is just a tool and how you use that tool is up to you.

Caring about an artist means to go and visit their concerts, becoming a successful artist means that you're going to have to slog through the 'building a loyal fan base' trough of sorrow somehow and as far as I know outside of throwing huge marketing budgets after fan acquisition (talent optional) there are no short-cuts there.

By the way, a similar issue faces websites, you may be able to get that front page on HN with your new offering but that won't make much difference in the long run, you'll still have to have the staying power and the determination to see it through for a long period without being sure if it is going to work out or not. And if you do the chances of it working out go up.

Overnight success is not a right, and if you've been handed a free head-start you can't blame your tools if it subsequently does not pan out the way you intended.

> There is no new dynamic in play, this has been happening to just about every one hit wonder since recording was invented. Some stay, most go.

The last 4 paragraphs of the article go on to describe exactly what the new dynamic is. In addition to the normal bombardment of hearing the song all the time, it is the additional flood of memes that the internet and social media bring about. As the article says:

> In the past, the worst thing that could happen to the Song of the Summer was it being played to death. But in the digital age, the pitfalls are boundless. As “Call Me Maybe” is increasingly meme-ified, it runs the risk of becoming completely mummified.


> Simply put: when you think of “Somebody That I Used to Know,” you’re less likely to think of the man, Wally de Backer, but the meme.

Both of you arguing about something that isn't even the main point of the article.

Yes, but it is the flood of memes that allowed this person to get most of the exposure to begin with. The point I'm trying to - unsuccessfully it seems - make is that exposure is not enough. If it were then one hit wonders would not be one hit wonders.

You can't ride on a wave and then complain that others are trying to ride that wave too, you especially can't blame the wave.

More choice means fewer monolithic megahits. It's like television. In the days when there were only three networks, a hit show might have a Nielsen rating of 60, meaning that 60 percent of all the people watching television in the United States were watching the show. Millions of viewers. Millions. Nowadays, the top-rated show might have a rating of 12.

The future of music is very likely to be more one-hit wonders, with a few artists who attain long-lasting (but modest) success. There's just too much choice. This is largely a good thing, IMO, especially for the artists as a group (obviously it's not as good for the few who would have been anointed as the kings and queens).

Indeed, there are plenty of other bands/stars that have turned their internet fame into lasting success. For example, OK Go is still doing just fine, they found a niche and became really popular.

I agree with everything you said, but I don't think the article is blaming the internet for anything or even arguing that it was anyone's fault but the artist (and her management). It's mostly just the author pointing out how remarkable it is that the artist did have such a huge head start and was only able to capitalize on a small fraction of it.

If the article is not blaming the internet then "How the Internet Killed Carly Rae Jepsen" is a terrible title.

Well, maybe if MTV hadn't ditched music programming for crappy reality shows, they'd have had a good way of investing in her as an artist if they felt that was warranted.

"If you read on, the author points out the album she put out could be a contender for best pop album of the year, but not enough people care about her as an artist enough to check it out."

So essentially, she has a few fans but did not make a very good pop album, let alone best of the year.

Well, I guess that depends on "best of the year" definition. In the article, the author is arguing it's best as in quality of the music, not best as in number of units sold...

It's obviously just his opinion though...

Given that she's aimed straight at the teenage demographic it looks like all this is is an attempt at doing a female re-run of Justin Bieber.

The fact that she signed on with his manager and performs at his concerts, attempts to look 15 when she's 26 and so on give a clear indication of what it is that they're trying to achieve here and I'm frankly not surprised that it didn't work.

It doesn't have much to do with her being 'best of the year', and you'd have to discount whatever success she does have in the domestic market by the Canadian laws that give air-time preference to Canadian born artists.

Kiss is the best pop album of the year, and nobody is listening.

The problem is not the artists or the songs, but the format that's being used here as a measure of success. Her album didn't do well because her fans don't buy albums. Her fans will buy songs, one at a time, at 69c a pop. The article even states that it's a "singles driven market". All of the delivery mechanisms (iTunes, Pandora, Last, YouTube, Facebook, Xbox) funnel listeners into the on-demand or magic playlist style of listening. Songs are standalone entities served up as a recommendation, a link or a search result. For this generation the idea of listening to an album is pretty much dead.

The self-proclaimed "tastemakers" hoped that the internet would make yet another bland, awkard autotuned pop song, and adopt it for the same ironic make-fun-of reasons Rebecca Black's "Friday" took off. It didn't happen, the internet didn't care.

It didn't kill her career, her career didn't take off, no matter how much they tried to force the song-meme. The "tastemakers" have little power over the Internet at large, thankfully.

>> Her debut, Kiss, has been out for more than a month — and is fantastic, living up to all its inspirations and more — but as of Oct. 10, not even 100,000 people bought it.

Translation: I'm a self-proclaimed expert in music. When the public disagrees with my assessment of specific music products, it should be lambasted.

I think you missed the entire point of the article. The author clearly explains why she believes that the above statement is the case, why Carly was so popular but failed to become a lasting commercial success. You can agree or disagree on her reasoning, but leveling a Hacker News-style personal attack on her adds nothing to the discussion.

The discussion of Ms Jepsen's singing talent is well-supported. The description of single "Kiss" as "fantastic, living up to all its inspirations and more" comes out of the blue.

Downvoted for unwarranted ad hominem sneering, which does not address the point made at all.

BTW, she's hired by reputable publications to write music reviews, because they feel she is capable of expertly writing music reviews.

The entire article is based on the false premise that taste is not subjective, that the author's tastes are shared with the rest of America (an obviously false assumption, considering the end-result), and that the singer is entitled to stardom.

"she's hired by reputable publications to write music reviews, because they feel she is capable of expertly writing music reviews"

Her worth as a corporate blogger is irrelevant to her smug irritation that America isn't investing itself in Youtube celebrities as much as she is.

We live in a strange world where 100,000 people buying your album is considered a flop.

Of course if you define "success" as "being in the Billboard top 100" then almost nobody will be successful, and being successful twice - well that's almost impossible!

I agree... that her album is the best pop album this year. Even better than Taylor Swift's new album Red. If there was ever a better definition of guilty pleasure, this is it. I think Turn Me Up would've been a better single to go with, however. 100,000 is still an impressive number. Seeing how she's on tour with Cody Simpson and Justin Bieber, don't artists make most of their money from concerts?

The element-of-blame may shift, but one hit wonders were always part of the music business. One has to consider, that artists usually work their whole life to get that one break-through song - and after that get about 12 month to deliver the next "hit". Relatively unsurprising the number of artists able to do this might be similar to those who can pull off one successful start-up after another.

I loved Called Me Maybe, went to check out the album to see if I wanted to buy that too, and simply didn't like it, so I didn't. Stylistically, the rest of her songs just weren't 'catchy' enough that I saw myself listening to them much.

Maybe for a lot of people like me, Call Me Maybe was just enough pop? I didn't need a whole album of her.

"there’s precious little being written outside K-pop circles about his other music, of which there’s a decade’s worth."

Why is what's being written about you what matters? These blogs seem to have forgotten that music blogs do not define culture - music defines culture (and same for tech).


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