Are We Going To Get Any More Superstars?

Submitted by Peter Åstedt

I wrote the same line around 2005. Internet was taking over, MTV was dead, and it seems like we were splitting up in our media consumption that there were no trends, just niche things. Back then my question was if Eminem and Britney Spears would be the last Superstars! It looks like it, nothing big really came out.

 I was wrong but it took up to three years more, almost to 2009 before it really happened again. Then it was Lady Gaga and after that, we got several Superstars. I don’t know what made it possible. Did we actually start to look on the same channels just to make it possible? Did someone have the formula to get their things in several channels at the same time? I know for a fact that Lady Gaga put all PR in Europe for example, but at the same time was just a fluke.

I get the same feeling now. There are no superstars in the making. Of course, nowadays you have competition from influencers and other phenomena that comes online. I guess we are more than ever split up between different media channels. I guess I’m wrong again, at least I hope so. But I wonder what channels that will attract us so much that the majority would watch the same content to make it happen?

And would music matter? In today’s freakshow online you don’t need to have a talent. That was already established with Kardashian and Paris Hilton. You can be famous just to be famous. Music needs you to have some sort of talent and that you have something to say. Will it be a space for that?

I guess we need to have that space to get the musicians a chance to make money. Sure, you just need 5000 superfans to make a living. Still as a musician, you want a larger audience, something outside those 5000 fans. 

Still, I meet so many really intelligent industry people that just shake their heads and have no clue what to do with a talented artist today. The outlets are gone and most just happen by chance. More and more are starting to discard social media and their numbers hunting. The truth is that even with millions of streams on Spotify, YouTube, or Apple it is very uncertain that you really have real fans. Even if you don’t cheat yourself the systems cheat for you. A hit on Tiktok is probably worth pretty much nothing, I still see those artists playing on small stages and have no attraction at all on bigger events, mainly because they are not real artists just a small snippet out of a song that is famous just to a certain group of people online. And above all, most of them don’t really become famous until they hit mainstream media.

Here in Sweden, it has been a scandal with the fifth biggest YouTuber in Sweden. The scandal I don’t really care about but  what is interesting is that I have never heard about him until this scandal was brought to light in traditional media.  In several traditional media outlets. Imagine then how to get that recognition with not a scandal but instead with good music?

My question is when will it turn and in what channel will it be?

Editor’s Note: Peter Åstedt has been working in the music industry for over 35 years. He has started record labels, distribution systems, and publishing companies. Peter also runs several major showcase festivals and is an advisor for INES and co-founder of MusicHelp/Discover Sensation. He has worked with the Top Ten most streamed songs and had music on both the Olympics and Super Bowl. Peter has currently taken up the seat of Station Manager of Cashbox Radio, working with MD, PD and station owner, Sandy Graham. In 2021, he worked as the European Consultant for Heal the Earth – An Earth Day Celebration. His latest venture is a new Showcase Festival in Sweden, Future Echoes Peter is a Managing Partner and Editor of the newly launched Record World International.