This year has been a wildly enjoyable and exciting year for me. I find myself often on the move making new memories, through both my work and personal life. These outings have varied from sports, to debuts, to exclusive experiences, and some behind the scenes content as well. Throughout all these ventures one thing has remained consistent. Each and every outing I attended featured an artist performing as the musical entertainment for the evening. The artists have varied given the settings, demographics, and time of the events; which I always feel is a nice touch. Also, there have been a variety of artists for said events, ranging across genres and generations, which is always refreshing. Most artists whether newer or older performed their more known and popular work. While some sprinkled in some cult classics to play to their core fan bases in attendance as well. After an older artist did a rather short medley of hit singles, I got to thinking about something. How could they tour or have much opportunity once they step out of the main spotlight? Which I then tied into newer artists today predominantly focusing on a big record more than anything, which in turn meant they could experience this issue as well.
It’s hard enough to have one solid single let alone a career full of them. However, in retrospect only having singles may not be the best thing in the long run. We all know this can be tough even in the immediate moment because fans may not engage with the actual project; they just flock towards that one record. But, when you make a career off of individual records things tend to be more difficult in the future. There are a few reasons why happens too. Songs die down due to changes in music or just being overplayed. Artists make similar or better records that take the steam away from that initial record. The artist somehow damages our view on them and we just don’t rock with a record like we used to. Whatever the case is, this makes it tough for a song to have substantial lasting power. This normally leads to DJs only playing parts of the record in a mix, which in turn leads artists to only performing a certain part live.
So here is my greatest concern. In smaller settings this set style is perfect. However in larger venues it leaves a bit more to be desired. Some songs bring back nostalgia as they put us back in the moment when they released, but there are some that don’t have that same lasting power. This makes things troublesome because unless someone is doing an ensemble show, it’s hard to have a substantial set. This isn’t something we saw in the past with other genres much, but this seems to be a looming concern for hip hop artists. This is mainly due to two things, short run appearances, and some artists never really playing full sets to extremely large crowds. This causes a lack of stage presence, crowd participation, and can make shows feel rushed. To add to all of this, if the focus is primarily on the big record it tends to mean it’s more of a catchier record than anything. This also means it can lack a substance that truly resonates with the listeners. After time that lack of connection with these songs are actually the most damaging part to the overall longevity of the artist.
There a few newer and older artists that come to mind with this topic. Some hit the upper tier of the industry and some sit in a level just below. Only time will tell how things play out, but I think the message is obvious. It may not be best to go out looking to make music for the people. It may be best to make the music you feel at the time and just be confident that the people will flock to it.