The radio stations are dominated by artists that have been solely created to be “hit-factories” and to fill the billowing Top 40 pool of uninspiring pop drones. These acts were nurtured to satisfy a need for a temporary experience and would therefore be replaced by yet another experience that followed the same formula and further dilute this pool of contaminated talent. Does U2 have any role to play in this disposable society?
The answer lies in whether they can follow their own successful formula or not by using the talents of Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. U2 had after all successfully altered their image to survive the clueless 90’s. Much of their success could be attributed to the promotional work early in their career by giving college stations copies of new albums before commercial stations got a copy. Bono would expose their brand to a wider audience by showing up at the artists’ concerts like REM and Bruce Springsteen. Artists like Kylie Mynogue were also supported to tap into the Top 40 audience as well. This audience chasing became quite obvious in the 90’s as well with the garish Pop album with its eclectic mix of alternative rock, techno, dance and electronica. New production techniques were even used including sampling, programmed drum machines and sequencing. It became a short term success as lifetime sales are among the lowest in U2’s catalogue.
The arena has changed somewhat since the eighties as the US radio industry introduced deregulation in the 1990’s allowing companies to own several stations in a city. Radio station owners also introduced ancilliary business encouraging record labels and artist management to make various business deals as leverage for radio airplay. These promoters would subsequently influence the music programming and money was transferred through this middle man. U2’s “Beautiful Day” was promoted in this way at double the going rate and their come back was orchestrated. It reached #21 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The chances of U2 performing that feat these days seem slim as it would be impossible to appeal to the provincial Top 40 market. Perhaps U2 should start a quiet revolution on the internet away from the daily machinations of emotionally unattached promotions and focus again on “fist in the air”themes. Start reading the newspapers again Bono!
However, nobody truly cares about changing the world these days. The youth is after all enthralled by the seemingly harmless fad machines that promote materialism and promiscuity as a norm in its most simplest of forms and blips. But it does feel that the Indy market is where we can find this relevance and meaning perhaps and our heroes will never be mainstream again.
U2 - A ROCK CRUSADE | Full Documentary
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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