Kreayshawn is an artist that deftly used the internet, her colourful personality, an active web presence, and one smash hit song “Gucci, Gucci”+ video to create a career that had her fighting for “Best New Artist” at the MTV VMA’s.
Within days of posting “Gucci Gucci” it spread virally across the internet and within months she was signed to a major label and work was started on her debut album.
I have been watching Kreayshawn’s career throughout the last while and when I saw that her anticipated debut album got a 3.0 on Pitchfork I realized that her abysmal rating on the hugely powerful website doesn’t really matter. It’s true that although a large part of her original fanbase won’t be interested in her debut album she STILL will have an audience. This is because in the age of the internet the idea of a one hit wonder is gone. Disappeared. At least in our traditional definition.
You see, One Hit Wonders of yesteryear were limited and stifled by the record industry, not by their songwriting skills. Either the record label, or radio, would not let their next song reach a larger audience because essentially their careers, the way their music reached their fans, was something that they could not control. The gatekeepers said no.
BUT because Kreayshawn had enough sense and value to invest in:
- A Mailing list
- More videos/songs/content
- An active and engaging online presence including – Tumblr, Twitter, + Facebook
She’s reaping the rewards and now has a fanbase that is listening…more or less. I’m not saying she’s as big as she once was, but I am saying that as a modern “One Hit Wonder” she now has the capacity and tools to at the very least to keep her “artistry” going (keep her content coming) if she wants. She can use the fans she still has to get noticed on a bigger scale and as a previous One Hit Wonder she will still be able to get people interested because of what she once acomplished. I would argue a similar career path is in store for Gotye, Carley Rae Jepsen, and maybe even Cee-lo…. The age of the One Hit Wonder is dead now the One Hit Wonder just has the capacity to build on what they’ve already created. We’ve now entered the age of the “One Hit Starter”….. mmmkay maybe the name needs some help but you get it right.
I agree with what you are saying that One Hit Wonder is dead in the sense that Artists who are all the buzz for a short time with a catchy song now have the ability to keep making a go of it providing music to their 1000 fans they truly reached.
But now we may be faced with real one hit wonders, where someone just buys a catchy written song, pays for the recording and production, pays for for the production of a video and for whatever reason the song goes viral. But they really only do have One Hit and nothing, no album, no musical skills to back it up and keep it going.
I agree. But an important thing to do is to redefine the vision of success. I keep meeting musicians who want ‘to make it’. Which seems to mean getting signed so you can just sit back and worry about nothing other than making music. Sure it’s still possible but for even fewer than during the record industry hey-day.
The much more achievable goal for many more is now the ability to keep releasing music and to a greater or a lesser extent fund yourself.
Yes it requires you to become a business person as well, but the odds of getting this kind of success are far better and don’t exclude the possibility of ‘making it’ the old way.
Still, I’m surprised that so few artists are willing to put this kind of work in and would rather focus on trying to get noticed and signed.