When a Band Goes Off a Cliff

This is the gist of a Leftsetz Letter today.  (It’s not in the archive yet, but it’s coming.  Eventually, you’ll find it here.)

(1) You’re big and adored for one album. 

(2) You go into the next album cycle feeling pretty good.

(3) When the follow-up album comes out. no one cares.  And it doesn’t matter how good that record is.

This happens a lot more frequently these days given that CD sales are in an irreversable death spiral.  Leftsetz points to Feist and her Metals album which has managed to sell fewer than 65,000 copies in the US in the three weeks it’s been out.  Then again, she doesn’t have an iPod commercial to help this time.

Then there’s this article from today’s Guardian:

You sell a couple million albums. You’re adored. Then 90% of your fanbase deserts you – and your record label isn’t far behind. Rob Fitzpatrick investigates band collapse syndrome.

If you’re in a band, it’s scarier than anything you’ll get out of Halloween.  Read it here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ 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.

Alan Cross has 38464 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

2 thoughts on “When a Band Goes Off a Cliff

  • I think it has a lot to do with how long they wait between records. The Reminder was four and a half years ago! The Beatles used to put out two albums and a few singles every year during the peak of their prolificacy…

  • each year we are consuming at an exponential rate. If you are a developing artist you need to be in peoples faces for a few years via mediums by which people consume. Similar to how radio testings don't begin on a song until after 200 spins. Just then people are starting to become familiar. Same goes for the artists career. You can't come out big and then leave. You need to come out big and keep yourself on the minds of the consumer so you, the artists, becomes habit IE Favourite band.

    Funny thing is its easy for everyone to point a finger at everyone else. Because everyone else are beind the scenes and mildly faceless. PS the bands are the bosses.


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