Bono: Last of the Rock Stars?

We are never, ever going to see artists of the magnitude of the old timers ever again. No one will ever be as big as the Rolling Stones, Springsteen, Madonna, Nirvana or U2 ever again. Why?  Blame technology.

With each of us now empowered to seek out any song we want, anytime we want, wherever we happen to be with whatever device we choose, old cultural gatekeepers–radio, video channels, record labels, music magazines, record stores–have lost the power to influence the way they once did.  Without those entities to help form consensus among the masses–a tightly filtered selection of music deemed fit for public consumption and commercial exploitation–it’s impossible for artists to grow as big as they once did.

Which brings me to this LinkedIn post by Paul Koldis Jr.

“The last of the Rocks Stars. When Hip Hop Drove the Big Cars. And the Time When New Media. Was the Big Idea. – Paul Hewson.”Remember Bono?About eight or nine years ago, he was the biggest thing on the planet.In fact, the term Bigger Than Bono, was an uneasy homage to both his reported Messianic complex and the sheer weight of his fame and celebrity. He could do anything. He could do no wrong. It was as though he was the super glue which bound popular culture and our time in space together. He was the humanitarian for all humanity.

We know he is busy, but we hardly see him anymore.

If you BING ‘what’s Bono up to these days.’ (that’s right I BING when you GOOGLE, but more on that later.), the top four of the staggering 99,200,000 reference results bring you to Cher’s child.

Interesting.

Bono is spotted at various very important meetings with world leaders, global activists and nu gurus of all stripes, and the odd Jimmy Fallon appearance, trying to change the world or drop a song, which is a very good thing. In fact, I had the pleasure of seeing him last year, within a 50 foot range, hanging around VIP styles, side stage of the Global Festival Concert 2013, a larger than life anti-poverty event which attracts 60,000 people, founded and powered by an amazing team from Australia and my pal and esteemed colleague, Hugh Evans.

But apart from that, he isn’t really in our face anymore.

And we miss that.

Continue reading.  Meanwhile, it’ll be interesting to see how U2 will resonate with the masses with their upcoming album. What can they do to cut through?  One suggestion (via Larry) is that the new album might come pre-loaded on the iPhone 6 which will be launched September 9.  We’ll see/

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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