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Old 04-11-2002, 05:19 PM   #1
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U2, Inc - Money in Today's Music Industry

Many artists have been going to a poppier sound lately, with a great deal of success. R.E.M.'s Reveal, ATYCLB, Sheryl Crow, Alanis Morisette have all gone in this direction. Pop = high album sales. High album sales = lots and lots of money. Nothing profound there.

With U2, everything has been planned to happen in a certain order, with excellent timing, to maximize sales. Performances at sporting events (NBA finals, Super Bowl), a quickly released DVD conveniently in time for the Christmas season and a bizarre, and very tacky, exclusive Target release just in time for Valentine's day. And now that they're back on top, another Best Of, which will undoubtedly make them even more money (probably in time for Christmas again).

Has the art been sacrificed in this endeavor to make the big bucks? Or can one be a millionaire many times over, while still maximizing profits, and continue to be considered an artist? Are they smart businessmen and good artists simultaneously, or have they just turned U2 into a big business?
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Old 04-11-2002, 05:23 PM   #2
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*sigh*

Here we go again.
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Old 04-11-2002, 05:26 PM   #3
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Excuse me?
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Old 04-11-2002, 05:29 PM   #4
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oh nothing against you, it's just that this topic seems to come up at least every week if not more often and while it manages to raise plenty of ire, rarely goes in a positive direction. But do carry on.
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Old 04-11-2002, 05:32 PM   #5
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Well, business is business.

But even with the most well-meaning discussions that tend to flair unwantingly, we will never truly know the "Master Plan" or if there ever was one.

We should just be content with the wonderful recent years ATYCLB has yielded and gear up for whatever they throw at us next. Plan or no plan, genuine or not, U2 are fantastic - and they will continue to move people irregardless of the business plan.

No matter what morals we throw onto popular figures, thinking they would never plan out Mass Popularity on the grandest scale - at the end of the day, most bands want to be very successful and very popular.

All of this considered - no one could have known the impact 9/11 would have on certain records or musicians. U2 and their enchanting music struck a chord with audiences and hearts. That was no master plan.

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Old 04-11-2002, 05:40 PM   #6
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Hey, just because they're making a living doesn't make them any less of an artist. They were making big money when ATYCLB came out, and that was declared their 3rd masterpiece. Business hasn't affected their ability. They're as great as ever, so kudos to them for making money.

by the way-I happen to like the Target Cd, and I've been waiting a long time for the 90's greatest hits.
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Old 04-11-2002, 05:40 PM   #7
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REM's Reveal didn't sound too poppy to me. I don't think it enjoyed major success either.

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Old 04-11-2002, 05:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by david:
REM's Reveal didn't sound too poppy to me. I don't think it enjoyed major success either.
Perhaps this was a bad example to include because they did not achieve "major" success with this album. However, I do feel the album had more of a pop sound than their earlier material.
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Old 04-11-2002, 06:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by sulawesigirl4:
oh nothing against you, it's just that this topic seems to come up at least every week if not more
I wouldn't exactly know that since I haven't really been here over the past six months. Sorry about this. It's just been on my mind lately.

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Old 04-11-2002, 06:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by DC:
Perhaps this was a bad example to include because they did not achieve "major" success with this album. However, I do feel the album had more of a pop sound than their earlier material.
i disagree. i found 'reveal' to be hard to get into. but i quite enjoy it now. was it as hard as 'up' or 'adventures in hi-fi'? probably not, but it certainly wasn't poppy.

atyclb is a good effort. it is a disc of excellent music. the 'record selling' U2 are a band that, at the end of the nite, are property of a large corporation who has a responsibility to the bottom line, whether the band or us like it or not.

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Old 04-11-2002, 08:03 PM   #11
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This is a strange thread, because unless your selling albums from the trunk of your car, your probably signed to a major label if your an artist, which is big business and involves planning. Virtually every artist you want to mention does that.
U2 has always done what it wants to do just as it has with their latest effort. They want to be first, the best band in the world, and 2nd the biggest band in the world. Its been their goal since day 1 and has not changed.
Morissette does not sound any more pop than her first album as well as Crow. I'm not sure why you bring these two up since they are no longer big sellers on a global scale.
ATYCLB is a classic and may be the best album released in the best 10 years!
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Old 04-12-2002, 12:10 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by DC:
Perhaps this was a bad example to include because they did not achieve "major" success with this album. However, I do feel the album had more of a pop sound than their earlier material.
Out of Time and Automatic for the People were more poppier than reveal....Reveal was easy listening and it sounded very similar....good album, though...I wish they would tour already....
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Old 04-12-2002, 08:04 AM   #13
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U2 are so rich because in Ireland if you're an artist you pay no income taxes.

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Old 04-12-2002, 08:54 AM   #14
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The way I see it.
U2 were on the down and outs after POP, if they released another album like that, though it is one of my favorites, they would have faded away.
They NEEDED to sell millions for this album
they NEEDED to expand their fanbase

This album was partly a matter of survival and will allow U2 to continue on to future...less poppy...albums.
I believe that if U2 released another album like ATYCLB I would be dissapointed.

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Old 04-12-2002, 04:44 PM   #15
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No matter how "artistic" a band is, if they're recording for a major label, and one that they've just switched over to (as was the case with U2 switching to Interscope in the US, even though technically, it's the same company because Universal owns Interscope and Island), there is a clear marketing plan set up. Some have argued that "Pop" was an attempt to court a younger audience, although it may not seem that way in retrospect. I agree that U2 had no other choice but to become more commercial to stay relevant or , at the very least, to still record. The key word in music business is business, and the majors do not have little tolerance for any act--no matter how legendary--to not return the label's investment (and past records don't count in the industry--when you stop producing for them, they stop producing for you. Just take a look at all the people who've been dropped by these labels). ATYCLB returned the investment, and then some.

Charging the high ticket prices may be part U2, part Clear Channel Communications, which basically controls the entire big name concert market in North America. They got a lot of money though, and they do have an entire staff they must support. It is a business in that sense, and U2 are the profit makers and the CEOS, if you will.

Artistically speaking, they really took their experimentation to its furthest point with "Pop." No matter what you thought of U2 in the 90s, they really couldn't have gone any further without suffering further commercial and artistic problems. Considering that, the change of direction on ATYCLB makes a lot of sense.

Personally, I think U2 needs to find some middle ground. They need to maintain artistic integrity, which some argue they lost after the overexposure starting in late 2001 and ending after the Grammys, and do something slightly new, but not completely experimental (for the "artistically speaking" reasons above.) As an 40-something band in an industry that discriminates by age, among other things, they still must keep their eye on the commercial prize. However, I think it will be difficult for them to top the profits of 2001, no matter how much they try.
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Old 04-12-2002, 06:23 PM   #16
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Having a been a fan since 1987 and weekly reader of Billboard magazine, I find the idea of U2 being overexposed in 2001, and the so called move to a more "Commercial sound" to be a myth. What is also a myth is the band being in some type of danger after POP.
Fact, POPMART was attended by 4 million people worldwide and to this day is the 3rd highest GROSSING tour in history. Elevation made it to 143 million in Gross, while POPMART had 171 million in GROSS.
POP the album sold nearly 6 million copies. Thats double the amount Dave Matthews Band sales on all their albums except two. WORLDWIDE in 1997, POP was one of the 20 biggest sellers. How anyone could claim that U2 were in trouble with the label is rediculous.
The bands so called "Commericial sound" on ATYCLB yielded only the same airplay results as POP in the USA. I've got all the nationwide Billboard airplay charts to prove it.
The bands increased album sales this time around are due to only one thing, the making of a Classic Album!
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Old 04-12-2002, 07:02 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by STING2:
Having a been a fan since 1987 and weekly reader of Billboard magazine, I find the idea of U2 being overexposed in 2001, and the so called move to a more "Commercial sound" to be a myth. What is also a myth is the band being in some type of danger after POP.
Fact, POPMART was attended by 4 million people worldwide and to this day is the 3rd highest GROSSING tour in history. Elevation made it to 143 million in Gross, while POPMART had 171 million in GROSS.
POP the album sold nearly 6 million copies. Thats double the amount Dave Matthews Band sales on all their albums except two. WORLDWIDE in 1997, POP was one of the 20 biggest sellers. How anyone could claim that U2 were in trouble with the label is rediculous.
The bands so called "Commericial sound" on ATYCLB yielded only the same airplay results as POP in the USA. I've got all the nationwide Billboard airplay charts to prove it.
The bands increased album sales this time around are due to only one thing, the making of a Classic Album!
I don't wanna get into this again with you Sting, but ATYCLB Has a much more poppier sound than POP and it was DEFINITELY promoted and EXSPOSED more than POP as well. Your argument of airplay is factual. However, it does not pertain to every discussion.

POP DID NOT sound like U2 to most Americans. ATYCLB did sound like U2. That is why it sold so well here in the states. It was not a repeat album, but it is a catchy, poppy, solid, guitar-friedly album in comparision to POP(the guitar work is apparent on POP, but the guitar work is distorted and foreign to most Americans).
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Old 04-12-2002, 07:24 PM   #18
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Again, it is a music business fact that Airplay, Video play, and concerts are 80% of exposure. Brief single night Telivision appearences creat brief sales spikes. U2 did them for POP as well.
Many people especially in Europe would consider Discotheque to be a more mainstream sound than Beautiful Day. As far as calling ATYCLB Poppier, I guess if its only four people playing in a room with minimal distortion on the Guitar, then it has to equal being "Poppier". I disagree. If that is the formula to determine what is Poppier, then you could throw out much of U2s catalog as being POP. Again I totally disagree, nor do I find it truely more commercial than POP itself. ATYCLB is superior album and classic. Quality music sometimes get just enough exposure that it sells amazingly well, better than you would expect, and that is what happened with ATYCLB.
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Old 04-12-2002, 07:40 PM   #19
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When U2 went from somewhat underground in the early 80's to huge stardom with JT they lost fans and gained fans, when they went from JT to the ZooEra they lost fans and gained fans, going from the 90's stuff back to ATYCLB was another career change and once again they lost fans and gained fans.

Over the years they have added well more than they lost, thus an indestructible fan base, STING is right on 2 particualr things, POP was not a failure like many think, and if you make records that get played almost anywhere, unless you're selling them from your trunk, you are signed to a major label and you make tons of money, U2 is gonna make their money they did early and they do now. I dont think they try to make more money at all, but here is where I disagree with you STING, they made a poppier album 'ATYCLB' to become more relevant, you dont think its poppy, well fine. But they did all the marketing because they wanted to be on the charts with all the garbage thats out in the mainstream. They didnt do it for money, we agree, but they definitely marketed themselves to have more exposure, they made a fuckign movie in 1988, I think they've done this before, as far as marketing, but they are hitting the US harder than they have in years, probably since 87/88 and probably moreso.

MOst of us agree that they run the risk of overexposure in the US, but U2 arent for people who want a catchy song on the radio and then go buy the album, usually when some gets 'hooked' by U2 it doesnt matter, they'll end up gettign the whole catalog, thus the transition between ATYCLB and 'the next project' will encounter more lost fans and more gained fans. For everyone who thinks U2 is the greatest band on earth, there is somone who thinks Bono is a complete asshole. Thats fine, thats the way it is. U2 doesnt want to be bigger in the billfold, they want to be bigger in the hearts of people everywhere. So they lose people and gain people all the time, so what if people think they are selling out or whatever, so what if people dont want them on the Super Bowl or Jay Leno or have a Target CD, they are the same people who made POP and Zooropa and War etc. The message hasnt changed, the forums for displaying your music has, and U2 are adapting as a band who's been around 20 years and fought the mainstream, made vast changes is style, taken bold steps and been brave enough to risk aliennating their fan base.

Expect more of that in the future, I just think they wanted to get the message back out there, so they made a poppy rock-lite album, hell it's really good. But it does have a poppy sound and it is not the same as Pop or Zooropa or much less Achtung Baby.
It doesnt make it any less of an album in my mind, I have some that I favor over it, but it accomplished what it was supposed to do.
Propel the Elevation tour and get people believing in their message again. The music changes, the hearts of U2 don't and that includes the fact that they dont care about money, as Bono says "I'm overpaid anyways".


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Old 04-12-2002, 07:41 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by STING2:
As far as calling ATYCLB Poppier, I guess if its only four people playing in a room with minimal distortion on the Guitar, then it has to equal being "Poppier".
Lyrically, ATYCLB is very, very weak and often borders on just plain cheese. Take this groaner for instance:

In New York summers get hot
Well into the hundreds
You can't walk around the block
Without a change of clothing


or perhaps this one:

The last of the rock stars
When hip hop drove the big cars
In the time when new media
Was the big idea
That was the big idea


Now this is just my opinion - you don't have to buy it. But I don't think this album is a "classic" as you say, and to me, these lyrics are more pop than rock. To me, this is rock:

The world is a vampire, sent to drain
secret destroyers, hold you up to the flames
and what do I get, for my pain
betrayed desires, and a piece of the game


and definitely this:

Johnny take a walk with your sister the moon
Let her pale light in to fill up your room
You've been living underground
Eating from a can
You've been running away
From what you don't understand...
Love


I'm sure you can see the difference. Now, don't get me wrong. I like ATYCLB, but I am not about to bow down to its power. It just doesn't seem like they're "fucking up the mainstream" anymore. Rather, it looks like they're just diving into the mainstream and going with the flow.

I can't believe Bono can shout out "USA!!!" and be happy with himself at night when he's rightfully criticized this country so many times in the past. Open criticism, even though we're on a war that's killing thousands of innocent people and taking away the civil rights of hundreds of others, just wouldn't do well for album sales in the US, which is now their biggest market. And yet it may open people's eyes to the evil that's going on. But instead they've become patriotic, even though they're not even citizens of this country. It's just becoming a big turnoff for me. But again, that's just my opinion. You don't have to like it, you don't even have to read it.
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