I came across this insightful article by Ahmad Izham Omar – Executive Director of 8TV, the same person who gave us the Malaysian Idol and One In A Million reality tv shows where singing wannabes battled it out for that shot to singing stardom in our local music industry:
For the Record: Beware the momentary TV Star
AHMAD IZHAM OMAR
AHMAD IZHAM OMAR shares his views on why a reality show winner is not a real music star…yet
I’VE always been amused at how hyped-up everyone gets whenever a talent-search reality TV show like American Idol hits the airwaves. I’m not talking about how people watch it religiously, changing their daily routines around it (I even get requests asking me to show it EVEN later on 8TV to fit their schedules). I’m talking about how some people exclaim, “Man, that guy is going to be the biggest music sensation EVER!” after watching a contestant rock the stage. I’m not being cynical.
But I’d like to put things in a logical perspective. There is no denying that talent-search reality shows like American Idol or even One In A Million is great entertainment.
You witness human drama, average people trying to persevere through the toughest of conditions.
You will root for your favourite and if he wins, or don’t win, you will still be teary-eyed at the end of it all, your emotions satisfyingly stretched to the limits. And then you forget all about them. Shows like American Idol lives on the hype of uncovering the next big star.
That statement is true.
But the true-r statement is: Reality shows will give you a Momentary TV Star, a person who becomes famous because they are on TV.
But NOT a Real Music Star……yet. However, as a person in the music industry, I’m not complaining.
A Momentary TV Star will get Momentary Music Buyers to buy music.
Who are Momentary Music Buyers? These are the people who are turned on with hype, eagerly consuming the latest “thing” whether its music, movies, fashion, iPhone apps, etc.
These consumers are huge in numbers, giving solid revenues to the music industry. But these people also have a short-attention spans.
They are “lalangs”, going where the latest thing is.
These are the same people who will loyally support a reality contestant, but quickly forget all about him when the season is over.
Read the rest of the arcticle at NSTOnline Life&Times
The basic premise of the article is that reality ‘talent’ shows like American Idol and the rest of it’s genre panders to the quick fix, in-the-moment mentality of our internet generation where the attention span is as short as the Great Wall of China is long. We ( and here I mean the young consumers of pop culture ) have a gazillion interests demanding our attention and are flooded with a dizzying array of images, trends, sounds and fashion every second, every minute of every single day. Information overload to the extreme. The people who make it to the top are more personalities than they are true talents be it in movies, art or music. We chomp them up and spit them out in double quick time seldom stopping long enough to realise the depth of potential that may lie beneath, always chasing after the next ‘star’ on the horizon.
So in this scenario of superstar one day and a washed out, has been the next what are the prospects for David who has the vocal chops and musical instincts for long term survival but may find himself washed away with the next change in the tide of finicky pop culture consumers? I think the paragraph below from the same article cuts to the truth of the matter and has a world of wisdom. David’s handlers i.e his management and record label would do well to listen. At least I hope they do:
…And my advice to all the producers of reality shows: make sure the winner’s album is great.
Forget the current hype surrounding the winner.
That will go away faster than you can say Fantasia Barrino.
Forget about rushing an album just to sell to the people who voted.
These lalangs have already moved on.