Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The 20/20 Experience

The 20/20 Part 2 A 20/20 Move?


With Justin Timberlake’s brand new album “The 20/20 Experience” hitting shelves this week, fans will enjoy JT’s latest work following his seven-year hiatus from music. As usual, Timberlake’s album is almost entirely produced by legendary super-producer, Timbaland. The two have worked together throughout JT’s career, and have been responsible for many number one smash hits over the past two decades. Only a day before the release of his new album, Justin decided to confirm the rumor that this album is only the first part of a two-part album. This album, containing only ten tracks, covers just half of the project’s twenty track cut list. Is it smart to make fans aware of a part two before part one even comes out though?

Notoriously throughout music history in recent times, it usually is not a good thing to promote future projects before or around the time an artist’s current project is being released. For obvious theoretical reasoning, promotion for future projects takes interest away from the release of the current project. It is, however, possible that Justin Timberlake is just too big to even be affected by such tactics. Timberlake probably figures he will sell a boatload of records regardless.

Personally, I have always thought that promotion for future projects around the time of a current release translates to: “I think my next stuff is better.” In JT’s case, I have listened to this ‘part one’ of his new album, and I think his work is nothing short of spectacular. Once again, maybe Justin’s superstar status just propels him past the competition, regardless of his marketing strategies. As a huge fan of both he and Timbaland’s music, I am just happy The 20/20 Experience delivers in terms of quality.

Whether it is smart or not for Justin Timberlake to be talking about the ‘part two’ to his new album now, his music is spot on. He will sell records no matter what, while he is also prepping for a ten-date tour with hip-hop legend, Jay-Z. The two together will be making their way across the country in the following months to come. The 20/20 Experience truly is music that people can see, no pun intended. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Independent Sample-Free Success

Independent Sample-Free Success


Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ decision to stay independent for the release of The Heist was bigger than simply rejecting countless major label deals. Their decision has paved a new road to success for today’s artists, and their tactic should not be forgotten any time soon. Not only did Macklemore decide to push away Interscope’s major label deal, he also refused to use any samples in the album’s music. Along with Ryan Lewis, the duo decided it was just easier not to deal with all the lawyers involved in clearing samples. Also, they did not feel like spending the additional money. The Seattle-bred group decided to record real musicians, use real instruments, and keep all their work 100% original.

The fifth single on The Heist, titled Thrift Shop, has stayed many weeks at the number one spot on Billboard and iTunes. It also reached the number one spot in the UK. All in all, Thrift Shop has already sold over 3 million copies worldwide. This is truly incredible, granted the hit song being the fifth single from a totally independent album release.

Ben “Macklemore” Haggerty battled substance abuse all throughout his twenties, but finally decided to give up the drugs for a shot at music success. Since the release of The Heist, it seems as though it has been all success for Ben since sobriety. Not only did the album quickly become one of my favorites and an instant classic in my mind, it has also found commercial success resulting from taking every non-commercial step along the way. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are living proof that people can find success staying true to form, making music that is not watered down to satisfy the current industry standards.

In the day in age where there is such pressure to come out with a hit under a major record label, along with a decreasing emphasis on artist development, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis controlled their own destinies. As true artists, they did it their way. They believed in themselves as people, and decided not to lose creative control over their work. As a result, The Heist contains homemade music that touches the souls of many music fans worldwide.