Monday, November 15, 2010

Top 40 and Target Markets

I have notoriously bad taste in music. Like, horrible. My favorite songs all can be described as "in the Billboard Top-40 at some point in the past 30 years." I admit it.

These days, I find myself being that embarrassing 30-something singing in her car along to Rhianna or whomever else is belting out a tune on our local Kiss108 station (shout out to Matty in the Morning!) That's absolutely me. If I had kids, they'd be mortified. I even overcame my aversion to Lady Gaga and Katy Perry and just sing along.

But, on Top 40 radio, they play a lot of pseudo hip hop. I call it pseudo because I'm well aware that Kanye West and Taio Cruz and Eminem aren't really singers with street cred. I know that it's hardly cop-killer happening on my radio. But I'm singing along - because I love it. Like a loser.

So here's my question. Somewhere out there when Taio is writing a song, or recording a song, or performing a song... how does he feel about ME being in his target market? If he were a shrewd marketer, he'd recognize that I bet more than 50% of his listening population is actually more "30-year-old-white-chick" than "true gangsta." While I give some musicians the benefit of market understanding, I'm betting most of them think they're just rakin' in the benjamins and not thinking about who their audience is.  Or maybe if he were explicitly catering to me, he'd put out bad music (think, Kenny G) and not good music - which is good, in part, because he didn't have me in mind. Maybe the only way to reach me as an audience is to ignore me...

I know jack about the music industry. Pri has an alter ego that knows a lot about it... can someone enlighten me?


PD said...

I feel like most artists just get into it because they want to make music for their friends and impress girls or boys. Once they get popular they get picked up by a major label, at which point the major label tells them to do stuff that will appeal to mass audiences. You know, things like not swearing so Walmart will stock the album and using a more produced sound that people like or cutting songs to be about 4 minutes for the radio. Or if you're Foxxy Brown, trying not to cut anyone at the nail salon. Or if you're Chris Brown, trying not to beat up your girlfriend on the way to an awards show. Or if you're Kanye, you know, you can keep dating blond strippers and cursing out the president because that formula (angry african american man without the facts straight) works as well for Kanye as it does for Sara Palin.

Shannon C said...

LOL! I totally relate to this. Only I am Top 40 AND 40! I am sure they didn't expect a 40 yr old white chick in Tx to be singing to Rihanna and Eminem and Pink and Ke$ha. But I do. Loudly and proudly. :-)