The Week In Music: Let The Music Madness Begin
While the NCAA officially ushered in March Madness on March 15, Billboard.com has put their own musical spin on the annual college basketball tournament. As 68 NCAA teams vie for the national championship, 32 recent No. 1 songs will slug it out for Billboard's Hot 100 March Madness supremacy. Dating back to March 2010, each of the 32 songs scored at least one week as the biggest song in the United States, and now they're going head-to-head. First-round matchups to watch include B.o.B featuring Bruno Mars' "Nothin' On You" vs. Katy Perry's "Part Of Me"; Rihanna's "Only Girl (In The World)" vs. Adele's "Rolling In The Deep"; Ke$ha's "We R Who We R" vs. LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem"; and Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera's "Moves Like Jagger" vs. Mars' "Just The Way You Are." Other artists representing include Britney Spears, Wiz Khalifa, Lady Gaga, and Pitbull. This bracket may be too tough to call, but if partying is akin to a killer jump shot, LMFAO could be the sleeper pick. Make sure to fill out your bracket here. The Hot 100 March Madness champion will be crowned March 30.
The annual South by Southwest Music, Film and Interactive Conference is well underway in Austin, Texas, and many musicians and thought-leaders alike have congregated to share their ideas about the current state of the industry as well as its future. And who would be better qualified speak on behalf of all up-and-coming music makers? Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan? In an interview during SXSW on Tuesday, Corgan candidly described contemporary artists who have scored a record deal as " just the fresh stripper." He continued by adding it would be nearly impossible for him to break into the music industry today as compared to more than a decade ago, and that he would need to set himself on fire on YouTube just to be noticed. "Don't call it rock and roll," Corgan added. "I was part of a generation that changed the world, and it was taken over by poseurs." Fortunately, Corgan and company didn't have to set themselves on fire back in the '90s, but they did take a trip to the moon.
If you ever wonder whether producers of one-hit-wonder shows and lists will ever run out of one-hit wonders, wonder no more. According to a new study, almost half of all charted hits from 1955–2005 were one-hit wonders. Yes, nearly half of all artists chart once and then never chart again, according to University of Colorado Denver assistant professor Storm Gloor. The worst years were 1979, which saw more than 68 percent of debut artists never return to the charts, and 1998, at more than 67 percent. The best year was 1965, when only a little more than 35 percent flamed out. What's the lesson in all this? Save that first royalty check for your retirement fund. There's a 50 percent chance there won't be another.
To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of deaths that are greatly exaggerated seem to be a part of, well, life. There was Twain's own premature obituary. German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, and Time magazine, famously proclaimed that God is dead. And rock and roll has died and been revived so many times it's like a B-rated horror film or a 2012 Republican presidential candidate. So now comes the latest dearly departed: Apple's iPod. OK, so calling the iPod dead is our word choice, but there are some eye-opening figures pointing toward its demise. The iPod has seen a steady drop in sales since 2008, from about 55 million units per year to less than 40 million. Meanwhile, the iPhone has soared during that time, from approximately 15 million annual units to more than 90 million. And since 2010, the iPad is following suit, growing in approximately two years to more than 40 million units annually. Against new smart phones and tablets that do just about everything, including play music, what are the survival odds for a little old music-only player? Consensus: slim.
Speaking of Republican presidential candidates, last week TWIM reported on Ted Nugent's endorsement of Mitt Romney in the ongoing race for the party's nomination. This week, ABC News catalogued the celebrity endorsements for all four remaining candidates. In addition to the Nuge, Romney counts Kid Rock, Donny Osmond and Kiss' Gene Simmons among his music supporters. Rick Santorum has strange bedfellows Pat Boone and Megadeth leader Dave Mustaine in his corner. Newt Gingrich gets Buddy Holly portrayer Gary Busey. But it's the libertarian Ron Paul who really has the musicians lining up, including Michelle Branch, Kelly Clarkson, Snoop Dogg, Aerosmith's Joe Perry, and Mobb Deep's Prodigy. Nothing like a "Maximum Freedom" tagline to get the music folks on board.
Fun.'s "We Are Young" featuring Janelle Monáe is tops on the Billboard Hot 100 and iTunes singles charts.
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