Why are The Stones selling out stadiums 50+ years later? They’re in their 80’s and should be getting ready to die. Why the relevancy?
Because They’re Not Forcing it?
Nothing worse than our favorite bands changing their sound to fit in with younger bands, that all sound the same.
It’s Kinda Gross.
Same thing when an artist goes country just to sell albums. There’s a few that pull it off, like Darius Rucker and Aaron Lewis, but for the most part, it’s a mess.
After working 3+ decades in the radio industry, I watched countless artists come and go, and many of them fought becoming irrelevant by trying really hard to stay relevant, which always ended in their downfall.
People can see through desperation easily. Especially music fans. There’s no bulls—ing your core audience because they love their artist deeper than that artist may love their own art, and sometimes, they may know that art better than the artist.
There were many occasions when I was on the air not being myself because a program director or GM suggested “tone it down” or “try being more friendly and less harsh with your opinions”.
I would take their suggestions, then watch my ratings take a dump in the next ratings book.
This was an ongoing battle between me and upper management for decades. It was a roller coaster, and a complete head game. My core listeners wanted and appreciated the brutal honesty that came naturally, but upper management wanted to see my audience grow, but wrongly believed that softening me up could do that.
They lacked courage to embrace fear, and to fight off the temptation to sell me out.
I don’t believe it was a coincidence that during the years I was winning state radio awards, voted favorite personality in local publications, and had my highest ratings, were the same years I was being me 100%.
You can rarely fake it to make it in entertainment that’s centered around personality and artistic vision. Radio broadcasting (specifically personality radio) is an art form. It’s an expression of one’s self, and it’s centered around creativity. Even though it’s not taken seriously as art… it’s art!
The same thing happens when the record company goes to an artist and say let’s “tone it down” or “try being more radio friendly” and it doesn’t get more radio friendly than country radio. That’s where the money is, but that’s also where the soul selling is happening at an alarming rate.
The Rolling Stones have never sold their soul. They may have had some huge radio hits, but those radio hits came from the artistic vision of the band. They dictated their art, and in doing so, they’ve managed to keep their core fan base intact, make themselves very wealthy, make everyone in their tight circle wealthy, keep the fans happy, set trends, inspire other artists, and bring in new fans – which kept them relevant.
I’m not a huge, die-hard fan of the Rolling Stones, but I am a fan of their purity. I love everything they stand for and I appreciate the integrity.
Bands like The Stones, radio personalities like Howard Stern, directors like Quentin Tarantino, singers like Lady Gaga, writers like Stephen King, and actors like Joaquin Phoenix all have something I appreciate and cherish.
They don’t work at staying relevant to win.