Jun
28

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Artists leaving labels? Labels should do their job properly

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Just a quick one I was inspired to write.

I literally just read this, and was surprised but not surprised all in one. People in Country land seem to drop labels and pick new ones up by the truckload (which to my knowledge doesn’t happen to anywhere near the same degree in other genres) but this seems an interesting way to celebrate Kellie’s birthday.

About 4 months ago I was doing a university assignment which involved reading forums dedicated to various country acts and reporting on the social interactions there. I read through some of the communication on Kellie-Fans and found that many of her die-hard fans were disappointed in the lack of promotion her third album, ‘100 Proof’ had been receiving. I can’t comment as most of the promotion would be done in America and I am in England, but I trusted their judgement. Admittedly the album is far more traditional-sounding than her previous two efforts (which were rather pop-orientated, no doubt due to her American Idol label, 19 Recordings) but it begs the question: if record companies are as powerful and controlling as I know that they are (having read real record contracts in the past) why would they allow Kellie to make the creative decision as to such a dramatic sound change if they weren’t going to promote it? Remember they’re the ones making the most money, and they’re the ones making it first (they’ll allow her an advance to make the album, then that must be paid back in royalties before she can earn a dime). A record company can drop an artist if they so wish at any time, so they clearly wanted her on their roster. I would also argue that out of the rest of the acts on 19 Recordings (solely for American Idol alumni), with the exception of Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, she is one of their highest selling acts.

So none of this makes any sense. I suppose with Carrie’s fourth effort out about 6 months after Kellie’s, and Kelly Clarkson’s new album around the same time as Kellie’s, their attentions were diverted, but it just seems a little odd. ‘Tough’ came out a while before the album hit, and then no new singles were sent out to country radio until probably at least 6 months after the first one came out. When ‘100 Proof’ was finally chosen, it was given little promotion along with the album, and there were far more commercial offerings on that album that could have been singles. It just seems the record company handled it all wrong, and just made a huge mistake.

The stupid thing is the album is not all that traditional if you compare it even to songs from the 1970s, never mind before that. It’s quite a modern take on a traditional sound. So I don’t know what their game was.

Either way it’s not the first time they’ve done it. When Kelly Clarkson released ‘My December’ in 2007 a very similar thing happened. The album had involved Kelly having a lot more creative control and she had chosen to go in a far more rocky direction. It was a vast different from her smash hit ‘Breakaway’. It just seems odd. A&R people are employed by record companies to control this aspect and make sure the artist is doing what the record company wants them to do in regards to sound and song choice. I’m not saying this is right, I’m just saying if the label didn’t like the album, then they shouldn’t have supported it and then released it. By releasing it they’re approving it and therefore should be promoting it, considering the sales that ‘Breakaway’ achieved. I can’t remember now whether Kelly was dropped or her contract ended and she left, but it was very similar to Kellie’s situation.

It’s not the first time they’ve done it and I don’t think it will be the last, but I hope Kellie finds a record label that is more interested in promoting her in a way that’s efficient and appropriate, because sometimes promotion that is both of those can achieve more sales and exposure than that for a really commercial act.

So good luck to Kellie, she’s still got a bright future ahead of her. As for 19 Recordings? I think they’re on the plummet.

About Vickye

I run this joint. Country music blogger extraordinaire, fangirl, coffee drinker, Twitterer, bunny lover and rather too opinionated for her own good. Feminist and equal rights advocate. Has a laugh that you can hear for miles.
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