For such a creative and progressive place the internet has an awful lot of blood on its hands. If we are to believe the popular music press the internet has so far destroyed the album, the guitar band and indeed the music industry as a whole.
I am Internet, destroyer of worlds.
But amidst the din of recycled and regurgitated whinging there is one question lying quietly dormant, cocooned in the chrysalis of a tale formed in the early days of social media. It is a question almost as old as this year’s Song Of The Year Grammy winner Lorde.
“Who will be the first act launched to a classic level of recognisable superstardom solely via the internet?”
There have been many pretenders to this throne but all have sooner or later been outed as products of old industry promotional tactics thinly veiled as democratic viral phenomena.
I mention Lorde not only to appear topical but because with the release of her debut single “Royals” last year the New Zealand singer-songwriter prompted a lot of industry pundits to drop their cynicism and admit that any song able to garner such mind-boggling viewing figures with a fully-clothed and seemingly gimmickless youtube video featuring an unknown adolescent with no famous relatives must surely mean that Web 2.0 had finally come good on its promises.
Of course, it’s never as simple as that. It’s no secret that Lorde’s been on a Universal contract since she was fourteen and, though one could argue major labels have forgotten how to shift units in the digital world, they still know how to massage youtube algorithms. The interesting part isn’t in the Hows and Whats and Whether-Or-Nots, but in the very familiarity of the discussion…