Saturday, June 07, 2014

Are singing television shows relevant?



Back in the day, we had Coca Cola Pop Stars, a Coca Cola sponsored singing competition show which drew in most households in the country and popular amongst the aspiring singers who just wanted to be like Brenda Fassie. Who can forget the day 101, the group which gave us Pam Andrews owned the denim era and Ses’fikile number by Adilah? The show followed the success of the other old shows in the 1990s like Shell Road to Fame which is believed to have birthed Rebecca Malope’s queen-dom.

Unlike Rebecca, some of the artists from these shows disappeared as soon as the promo tours were completed. Lately we have seen this trend with Idols SA winners (and finalists). However, they had their first black winner who Joyous Celebration fans call Khaya Mthwethwa. They boy rode on the fame unlike Musa who took forever to release a proper album available at music stores. Amidst the opportunities all these shows open, it is evident that not all the contestants of these shows are interested in building solid careers in the music or entertainment industry. Where is Melissa, Tshidi? (I have not seen them succeeding, if you have, please share) The list goes on and on.

X-Factor is one similar singing show which is scheduled to air on SABC 1 sometime this year. Let’s not forget that One Direction and Leona Lewis have since succeeded in capturing the hearts of their respective audiences, however, Melanie and Tate Stevens in the USA, do not have any solid and reputable careers like their UK counterparts.

The question is: are these shows relevant? If so, who are they actually benefiting? Americans have moaned so many times that the X-Factor specifically failed in their country but they have never said anything about the artists’ eagerness to make the best of the situation, if there is/was any. While we cannot say it will fail in South Africa or even succeed, the reality is some artists fail to capture their audience. Talent alone is not enough, if there is no connection with the buyers of the music they produce, well, Donald will continue selling 50 000 copies uninterrupted.

Speaking of Donald, apparently his hits are released under his label and owns all the publishing rights. Maybe, these artists in SA should stop focusing on being famous and actually treat their brands as businesses. And while they are that, they must make sure they make profit.

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