Perhaps the iTunes revolution will help to detach us somewhat from the musician cult of personality. Last year I was suckered into a subscription to Blender, which is the most heinous rag of celebrity music journalism (complete with Us Weekly-esque paparazzi shots of musicians clearly unaware that they’re being photographed), and it reminded me that the primary focus of music magazines is not music, but the people who make it. Of course this has probably always been the case, but it seems like today it’s even worse, as every magazine out there has a section full of pictures of famous people at parties, famous people buying groceries, famous people doing whatever.
I do know that there was a day when a hit song was a hit song, and ideally it didn’t matter who sang it . But especially after the Beatles, the songs became unextractable from the musicians. So the musicians became more important (and easier for writers to talk about, as songs are far less often to be found stumbling out of a nightclub with Lindsay Lohan). But as we move away from albums and back to singles, just maybe the artists will become less important. MTV and ProTools have made the artist irrelevant anyway, as today almost anyone can sell millions of records, given the proper marketing push.
We’ll always be attracted to the vicarious thrills of watching celebrities, but I think as the music industry loses focus, the ocean of celebrity will be diluted. I’m probably wrong, but one can hope.
1.) If you want my full rant on Blender, say the word.
2.) So long as they were white.