Using the conceptual framework of this academic investigation looked at successful music companies making their marks in the music business promoting music, singers, musicians, and related products. The methodologies used in this academic investigation were meta-research and one-on-one interview approaching the companies identified for the research as a form of a case study model.
The meta-research as exhibited in the previous sections of this thesis presentation provide the basis for creating intentional and focused questions for the following four one-on-one interviews of successful music industry organizations in the form of case studies. The interview results that follow provides the direct feedback form the directed questioning as designed according to the meta research findings as already discussed.
4.2. One-on-One Interviews
4.2.1. Daniel, Roy, Lotus, Della, and Ten (Interviewed Music Industry People)
In response to the first question asking the method for choosing potential talent this individual interviews in terms of having an acute understanding of the music market Daniel shared how it boils down to the candidate’s capacity meeting the music industry money making criteria. An example, Daniel provided referred to the process of scouting talent. This incurs many instances of random people picked from the street, and are “very subjective, the first we are going to look at is that person’s appearance/look and your thought might be ‘oh, he/she is pretty good looking and has style’” (Daniel, Personal Interview 28 November 2014). Further, “I think for scouting part, everyone’s and every company’s angle is different (Subjectively it means looking) for someone with distinguishing feature” (Daniel, Professional Interview 28 November 2014). Daniel further explains if he see this especially handsome young man or a beautiful young woman yet, but realistically it is a subjective opinion based on the industry demographics of what sells “because either (the) music or the artist needs to have (its) own personal character” (Daniel Personal Interview 28 November 2014).
The notion behind this train of thought according to Daniel depends on the outcome of the public response once the individual gets the media exposure. He explains, “Let’s say, after the artist gets to expose to the media, is there anyone can remember him? There are so many great singers out there, but not that many people can remember them. (Thus,) this is why I want someone (different)” (Personal Interview 28 November 2014).
Most of the time, talent scouting is simply the process of finding people with (any) qualities, which can attract people. Like ‘precious stone hunters’, they find the nice rock first (in its raw form), then at a later stageshaped into precious stone by a master(s). In short, they find talents, and it is the agency and/or producer and/or director (this requires) shaping them into artists. (Roy, Personal Interview 28 November 2014).
Lotus response views industry people having a “sixth sense” (Personal Interview 28 November 2014) and is the only way to know if the artist is not only talented enough but “attractive enough to market” (Personal Interview 28 November 2014). At the same time, Della has a completely different response, “In the early time, I didn’t really know anything about the market (and) just recently started to understand it. In the begging, I just promoted things I liked” (Personal Interview 28 November 2014).
Additionally, the final among those experts interviewed has particular specifics of whom he sees:
I will start with which ‘direction’ I am planning to go as a starter. Each “direction” has its own unique traits. For example, I am trying to make an idol, and, for this direction, appearance comes first. The Taiwan market is very different from others. The market has a very strange taste; they care (tremendously) about uniqueness and personal characteristics. You can get famous from having a unique face, unique voice, etc. (An artist’s) personal characteristics have to standout; or, the music style is very different. I like to go to a live (show) and see them perform in order to observe what characteristics the artist already has (I am looking for) and what is missing (and) how the audience reacts to the artist, etc. to evaluate whether to sign the artist or not. (Ten, Personal Interview 28 November 2014)
Daniel offers his view in reply to the question regarding the type and importance of criteria and qualities music industry promoters look for searching and signing a potential new artist. He explains, “It’s pretty much similar to the first question (with) uniqueness and personal characters are a must” (Personal Interview 28 November 2014). Roy and Lotus responses expound on this noting those qualities that attract a market align to physical appearance, behavior, whether the candidate has a talent for acting, singing, and performing in general. According to Roy, the candidate exhibits a genuine mentality for this work showing they have a real ambition and determination to succeed (Personal Interview 28 November 2014). On the other hand, Della explains since his organization he personally focuses on the different abilities of Rapper style talent and in Taiwan this market draw looks at successful artists like “Eminen, MC Hot Dog, and so on” (Personal Interview 28 November 2014).
want to work with a female artist who will impress everyone. When I find my artists and promote them the main key idea is to break the traditional and to create something new. Because those qualities are pretty similar to my own personal qualities as well this is why I am prone to sign an artist who shares similar qualities as me. It is just easier to work and collaborate when everyone is on the same page. (Della, Personal Interview 28 November 2014)
Ten provides a direct response pointing out the potential of the artist must exhibit a minimum of charm because this gives something to work and expand for engaging the audience. Talking with and observing the client is the way for determining this (Personal Interview 28 November 2014).
Daniel’s response to the question concerning the process preparing the new talent for their marketing debut aligned to the post-signing of the contract proves essential. While some of the new talent have innate star quality requiring little grooming, Daniel explains that is not the typical case. “If you want to become an artist, you have to at least know how to dance and sing because when you turn on the TV every artist can sing and dance. There are many reasons behind it like is this artist working hard, has the luck in this industry because in entertainment industry working hard is important, but doesn’t mean everything. You have to have the luck in order to succeed in this businessof course the artist must finds an agent who believes the artist and his potential” (Personal Interview 28 November 2014). Roy sees the post-contract preparation means the artist has the correct mindset to practice, identify or create and build his/her own product concept, and learn the industry basics. “Entertainment, by nature, is a hyper changing behavior model and environment. When we look/hear at same thing for too long, we lose interest in it. When we see everyone doing the same thing, we lose interest in itonly good and unique things (artists) catch our attention” (Personal Interview 28 November 2014). Lotus’ answer describes assuring the talent whether individual or group is mentally prepared so they do not break down under, the pressure the hard work requires in the music industry. This means being clear on the realities they face and this process can have unexpected outcomes without monitoring. “This is why some music label companies don’t succeed is because there’s definitely something wrong with their leader. To them, it is not about music anymore (and) it’s all about making moneytoo commercialized” (Personal Interview 28 November 2014). Della sees training as starting out doing small audience work and building up to bigger ones as the best type of training because with his specialization in sponsoring Rappers it is a different process than other types of music entertainers. He gives feedback to his entertainer from the perspective of what the audience sees (Personal Interview 28 November 2014).
Ten on the other hand gives a more detailed answer:
You need to analyze what type of people (the music potentially draws). Then you have to set up artist’s target market. Let’s say I am about to debut a female singer, and songs and lyrics are aiming at modern city women then I will set the target market at proper age range. Image, music, and content all have to align with the target market. In this generation, you need to have a fan base. Once you have a fan base, you can start releasing your music online. You will know how far and how much the artist can reach through internet. The meaning of debut is very vague and broad. Most of the people think releasing an album as debut. Honestly, once you have something, you just need to push it to let people know about it. (Personal Interview 28 November 2014)
Responses from the interviewees on how they decide when their artist are debut ready Daniel says it is problematic because of how it relates to the status of the market activity in Taiwan. Well trained and prepared new artists finding success is rare. Interestingly, Daniel explains a too well prepared new artist can come across as superficial and his personal opinion sees a shyness quality as more marketable in a new artist along with having an above average ability in his/her/their performance as making them ready for debut because they have a balance of readiness and just enough bashfulness. Roy sees the guidance in the training as a basic factor and the artist them self shows a particular readiness or an inner light that makes them shine. Regardless of their readiness as a good and talented performer the fact remains few make it in this market (Personal Interview 28 November 2014).
Another response from those interviewed has a different perspective:
I honestly think it’s all about by feeling. Album/music industry is very subjective. People often ask, how to write hit song? If there’s a reason or way be told then everyone can write hit songs. It’s something you can’t explain. That’s why this industry is different from others. There is no format for it. (Lotus, Personal Interview 28 November 2014).
Della who focuses on just Rap Musicians and Hip Hop style music he sees the artist or group ready for debut according to the amount of creativity he sees in the ability to write no less than 4 or 5 songs. He also cites whether he observes genuine aggressiveness connected to motivation as a sign of debut readiness because when they tell them they are ready is not enough.
Ten, again, offers a focused reply to this inquiry:
When I can find a reason regarding to the artist and just even only one reason and I can be convinced by it then the artist is ready (and) vice versa. You have to be 100 percent sure (about) what your artist’s music can bring to the audience like changing your lifestyle, music can touch your heart, music brings you some stimuli. Once you know your artist can represent that special character in everyone’s heart then it’s time. (Personal Interview 28 November 2014)
Getting to the psychological underpinning, of the consumer buying music, and attending concerts look at the last of the responses to the one-on-one interviews persuading the market to spend their money on the new artist. Della sees it as a process of offering the market the right product expectation such as a young audience remaining supportive of their current idol. A strategy for marketing a CD from Della’s perspective means making it a souvenir quality keepsake for the buyer. At the same time, keeping abreast of the current trends, enlarging, and maintaining the demographics. Roy sees the music industry as impulsive buying by the market along with creating fan intimacy as well as applying known marketing and selling concepts (as outlined in the previous chapters) remains the same. Lotus views the market as an impatient consumer requiring the product gets exposure to the buyers looks at album signing sessions and taking advantage of the compulsive purchasing practices of the consumer. Daniel sees giving the artist as much public exposure from a Taiwanese perspective remains the best strategy for getting impulsive buying of CDs. Whereas, Ten clearly shows that understanding the market as a promoter provides the best chances for a music artist particularly making a success in Taiwan by knowing the public through applications of empirical observation and applying the information as basic to the marketing schema (Personal Interview 28 November 2014).
The final remarks Daniel takes a philosophical approach:
Maybe it’s a culture thing, but, in the whole world, Taiwan is the only country that I know that train artists to be super friendly and nice and close to their fans. When you look at Korea, USA, Europe, etc., not all, but majority of the artists do keep a distance between themselves and fans. They don’t really go off the stage to shake hands with their fans and whatnot. However, you can’t use “distance” in Taiwanese culture. In Taiwan, artists have to go shake hands and be close with their fans- zero distance. (Daniel, Personal Interview 28 November 2014)
4.3.1. Result Analysis
Clearly the implications coming through with analysis of the four one-one-one interviews when gauging the psychological framework of the target market in the music industry, aligns to that found from the meta-research previously discussed and that is the fickle nature of the consumerism and the music industry. From the promoter perspective, the need for an experienced and instinctual assessment of the fickle side of consumer trends does prove prevalent when considering the interview feedback (Reinhard 271).
Another aspect about the music consumer and Taiwan seems a direct link to what Roy called “fan intimacy” (Personal Interview 28 November 2014) that suggests a psychological demographic explained by Clark that the audience “need to be center stage on the flattering nature of our media-saturated environment” (38). That also connects to what Lotus referred to as an impatient type of consumer (Personal Interview 28 November 2014).
Exposure of the artiste comes across from the four interviewees as a fundamental aspect of marketing success fitting the tendency of the consumer for impatient behavior also addresses its fickle nature. As an audience, the consumer of the music industry want new and different types of approaches even when they have an idol as also came out in the interviews. Comparative analysis of the Taiwan music consumer with the Western demographics also suggests a strong cultural characteristic that ties to an artist as marketable. The Taiwan audience ideal artist cannot have a polished appearance or demeanor and this again suggests understanding this as far as marketing skill has psychological understanding of the consumer (Clark 2006; Personal Interview 28 November 2014).
One expert in the field according to Clark, sees the music audience as, “Courted and pandered to at every turn, the audience becomes solipsistic and fickle. ‘The flattered self is spoiled’ (and it)never gets enough (attention). It feels unappreciated. It whines a lot. It wants attention. (As well as additionally) noting that one of its most pernicious effects is an inescapable self-consciousness-a sense of always being ‘on’” (38).
The results of the meta-research and the case study interviews clearly substantiates a link to the psychological framework of the fickle consumer desiring the most for their money even in the music industry products. Combining the academic, scientific, and professionals in the music industry perspectives leaves little doubt there indeed exists psychological aspects to consumer behavior to buy music products as well as marketing an individual's musical talents as a professional entertainer
Clark, Jessica. "YouTube in MeWorld.” New York Times Oct. 2006: 38+ Print
Personal Interview. Daniel, Roy, Lotus, Della, Ten 28 November 2014
Reinhard, Keith. 16 – Old-Fashioned Salesmanship in a Newfangled Medium. Schumann, David W., and Esther Thorson, eds. Advertising and the World Wide Web. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1999. Book