Why Some Artists Make It and Some Don’t

It’s time to finally generate our first discussion about music. For anyone who bothered to read my introductory post, you know that I am a fan of hard rock, metal, and classic rock and that I despise rap, hip-hop, R&B, new-wave pop, and country. Sorry if that turns off a lot of people, but I hope you will find my discussions about lesser-known music to be enlightening.

Staying within the genre of hard rock, why is it that some bands experience great success in terms of popularity, and that others with at least equal talent do not? There are three main reasons: Softer songs, management, and luck.

Of course, some recent hard rock bands, such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Creed, and Nickelback, have hit it big. But more often than not, these bands had to go soft to achieve that. Shinedown, one of my favorite bands, has seen a huge growth in popularity in recent times, but it is largely due to their softer songs (such as “Second Chance” and “If You Only Knew”). While I like those songs, I feel that their other material (which is heavier and sometimes a bit raw) deserves equal merit. For whatever reason, the masses prefer softer songs…maybe they like the greater ease of singing along, maybe they have negative connotations with heavy music (some people think that hard rock is automatically Satanic, which is absurd)…..who knows? The bottom line is that people eat up softer music.

Another issue is management. A great example to illustrate this point is the story of Creed and Alter Bridge. Creed was an enormously successful band, but broke up over differences between vocalist Scott Stapp and the rest of the band (though they reunited last year). The other three members (including insane guitarist Mark Tremonti) got back together and recruited the super-talented Myles Kennedy as their new vocalist, and Alter Bridge was born. Alter Bridge’s music is comparable to Creed, except better in almost every aspect. The guitar work is better (Tremonti is more free) and Myles Kennedy owns Scott Stapp. And while they’re generally a slight notch heavier than Creed, they have some softer songs as well. So why have they not hit it big? A significant reason has to be management; the band switched labels because they were dissatisfied with Wind-Up Records’ promotion. They also aren’t getting the exposure they need, so clearly these issues come down to management and marketing.

The last factor is luck. If a band happens to run into the right person or people who like their material, that can make all the difference. A big part of it is just about catching breaks. When you catch no breaks and have poor management, even great talents like Submersed (how many of you have heard of them?) become defunct. Hopefully Eye Empire, which features the former vocalist and former drummer from Submersed, will have greater success. They sure do sound promising, but of course, that is not the big issue.

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