Keith Negus Reading

In Music Genres and Corporate Cultures, Keith Negus details his experience as a struggling musician attempting to make it big. He mentions that most conversations with music industry figures would include questions such as, “What type of music do you play? What are your influences? What do you listen to?” He explains that in the music industry there are other factors aside from talent that dictate whether an artist will get signed or become successful. Negus says, “The artists signed by record companies and the repertoire prioritized for recording and release are not in any straightforward way a reflection of the talent that is available,” (Negus, 1999). The factors that matter have to do with market demand and salability of the artist, their sound and their “look.” Sound and look essentially describe someone’s brand. A musician’s personal brand needs to be shaped by the production company in order to make their image and music profitable to the company. We talked in class about how each individual person has their own personal brand, but the entertainment industry seems to be a more extreme example of that. Negus says he wonders if some signed musicians of a certain genre even prefer that genre or even like their own music. He believes that many performers must adjust their image, sound, and brand in order to keep their contracts. This connects to the word taste. Everyone may have their own personal preference, but as a signed musician, does it even matter if that preference doesn’t go with your brand on display for the world? For a signed musician, their career is reliant on that brand. That brand is what they rely on to make money and thus access to resources. I chose this recording of a Youtube video that compiles every artist known to make a comment about not liking some of their own songs. Listening to only the first couple minutes gives you the main idea behind the recording. Music is such a personal thing, so it is interesting and a bit strange to know these artists are not fans of their own music. In this sense, however, Negus is correct in his theory that some artists are pressured to shift their brand due to the label’s demands. The image I chose is of a well-known music label, Universal Music Group. I believe the image of the famous logo connects the audio with the quote because it grounds these concepts in something familiar to the public.