In an effort to write more about music and not television (even though this is still technically television-related), I thought I would blog about American Idol. As millions of people know now, American Idol season 9 finished last week, with Lee DeWyze being crowned the winner.
On Friday, it was announced that both Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox had signed their respective recording contracts. Both of them signing was hardly a surprise, considering that for as long as Idol’s been around, the winner and the runner-up are guaranteed contracts with 19 Recordings Limited and a Sony Music label. The interesting part lies with which Sony Music label they will be attached to – DeWyze is now signed under RCA, while Bowersox is signed under Jive Records.
Based on the labels that they are signed to, I’d say Lee DeWyze has a better shot at “success” than Crystal Bowersox. Based on their track record of Idol alums signed to their label, RCA has a better track record over Jive. DeWyze is joining Kelly Clarkson, Daughtry, David Cook, and Adam Lambert as part of RCA. Based on those artists listed, RCA’s done a pretty good job with Idol alums – Clarkson and Daughtry are arguably 2 of the best selling Idol alums, while Cook and Lambert have done very well for themselves for the short amount of time since they’ve left Idol. Not to say that RCA’s track record is completely flawless when it comes to Idol – Katharine McPhee, Diana DeGarmo, Bo Bice, Clay Aiken in his early post-Idol career, Justin Guarini (all runners-up funny enough) have found better success either with smaller labels or in other endeavors. But with the aforementioned 4 making a strong precedence, it shows that DeWyze does have a pretty good shot at proving haters wrong.
On the other hand, Bowersox is joining Kris Allen, Allison Iraheta, Jordin Sparks, and David Archuleta as part of Jive. Granted, those 4 are the only alums to have been signed to Jive, but 0-for-4 in terms of breakout success doesn’t exactly make for a great track record. Sparks had a hit with ‘No Air’ and I guess a hit with last year’s ‘Battlefield’ but before Allen, she had the lowest first-week album sales of an Idol winner. Speaking of Allen, like I said, he now has the lowest first week album sales for an Idol winner, and it’s a shame because his album was solid and was very well put together for a debut (and under his circumstances of having to tour and whatnot in the 5-month turnaround from winning to releasing the album). I can’t help but point fingers at Jive for not doing a better job at promoting the album (or for letting RCA pimp the hell outta Lambert). Allison Iraheta, good album, but I have yet to hear any of her songs on the radio. Archuleta got his debut song, ‘Crush’ but that was about it. So Bowersox, despite being incredibly talented, sort of has the cards stacked against at her.
Let it be said that the type of record/music these contestants come out with has more than a little something to do with their sales and success as well. Also, everyone’s definition of success varies. Obviously, success cannot be marked purely on album sales but it is a strong factor. Their marketability figures somewhat into sales, especially with those who don’t watch Idol.
Without a doubt, label support is but one of many factors that go into whether a musician/artist does well, and that goes beyond just American Idol. Along with that, it is needless to say that the music industry and its consumers are tough to gauge these days. When radio plays the likes of Ke$ha, Justin Bieber, and Miley Cyrus (and the various other Disney stars) countless times on end and people are taking it all in like these are their last options, how can anyone expect there to be room for truly talented artists/musicians who may not be as out-there as Lady Gaga to break out and earn recognition?
Anyways, that’s my rant for the day, but I leave you now with video of Daughtry and Kelly Clarkson performing Tracy Chapman’s ‘Fast Car’ (an example of what happens when great Idol alums come together and perform).
*And just for the sake of it, more awesomeness in the form of Carrie Underwood and David Cook performing together last year.