Why does an album that features a song voted 'the most irritating song' sell 11 million copies? In fact, the album was announced as the new century’s most successful album by a British artist.
The album? 'Back to Bedlam', the artist, James Blunt.
An article in the Times, tries to answer two questions. 'How – or, perhaps, why – did James Blunt become such a success? And what has this success done to him?'
Lets look at the first question. James Blunt describes songwriting as an 'emotional outlet, where he says, to strangers what he feels; He can’t express it in conversation, but he expresses it through this magical medium of music,’ and they respond, that’s just how they feel too. That's why they buy his albums. No prizes for guessing what the ones who didn't buy felt.
Now this is a lesson marketeers can learn while marketing 'creative outputs'. That is, they can't follow a staid standardised formula to churn out an output that would then be expected to strike a chord with target consumers. It never works that way. This is primarily the reason why most record companies fall out with their artists. The reason why record companies resist the lure of 'creativity' is so that they run lower risks. but that's exactly why they fail even after a well oiled marketing machinery does what its supposed to do. The flip side to this carries risks too, i.e., allowing the artist to carry on to the domain of marketing which again is not his area of expertise.
Therefore, the middle ground is, for the artist and the marketer to know what their respective parts are, and to play that to perfection. If done with care, albums will sell.
Album Cover : www.radioparadise.com