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Billie Eilish- a new kind of superstar? (1 Viewer)

timschochet

Footballguy
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/billie-eilish-interview-album-when-we-all-fall-asleep-xxxtentacion-a8854536.html%3famp

So my daughter’s obsessed with Billie Eilish and she played a little of her new album for me. It wasn’t bad. But what interests me more than the quality of her music is that this 17 year old girl is completely a product of the new technology. She’s marketing her music and products to go with it and already has 15 million twitter followers- and this is without the TV fame of the Kardashians. She’ll probably be a billionaire in a couple years. I’m not kidding. 

 

Ilov80s

Footballguy
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/billie-eilish-interview-album-when-we-all-fall-asleep-xxxtentacion-a8854536.html%3famp

So my daughter’s obsessed with Billie Eilish and she played a little of her new album for me. It wasn’t bad. But what interests me more than the quality of her music is that this 17 year old girl is completely a product of the new technology. She’s marketing her music and products to go with it and already has 15 million twitter followers- and this is without the TV fame of the Kardashians. She’ll probably be a billionaire in a couple years. I’m not kidding. 
As others have pointed out, this has been a recent trend. Look at the hottest song in the country right now, Old Town Road. That was a kid who bought a beat online, recorded his vocals on it and then spent months marketing it through social media and I think it eventually blew up on Tik Tok. 

 

ghostguy123

Footballguy
People are just looking for something different.  

I have watched a couple videos, no idea how many actual songs she has.  I am not even sure I can classify either as music.  Not saying that is good or bad, just that I am not sure it's music.  It's interesting, I will give it that, and I can see why kids would be into it.

 

Mr. Irrelevant

IBL Representative
People are just looking for something different.  
QFT right here.

My 11-year-old daughter is obsessed with Billie as well. And you know what? Compared to the seven hundred Drake and Post Malone impersonators that have made up the bulk of the Billboard pop charts the past half-decade, her music is refreshing. It's not fantastic in the critical sense, but then not everyone - especially at age 17 - is going to have Whitney Houston's voice or Andy Partridge's songwriting abilities.

She's taken an average, somewhat different product and uniquely marketed the hell out of it. We all called Steve Jobs a cultural icon for doing the exact same thing.

 

rockaction

Footballguy
She's taken an average, somewhat different product and uniquely marketed the hell out of it. We all called Steve Jobs a cultural icon for doing the exact same thing.
I have to gently yet totally disagree. Jobs and the iPod and his computers were totally revolutionary products. Packaged and marketed well, yes. But revolutionary in use and function, too.  

eta* And I'm no Apple fanboy. I have an Android phone and have used Windows computers up until this last one that I received as a gift.  

 
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tuffnutt

Footballguy
My Daughter's (19 ) Favorite artist right now. Surprised her with tickets to see her at Red Rocks in June. I'm pretty popular around the house right now. 

 

jvdesigns2002

Footballguy
I like her music--but don't love it. With that said--I think it's apparent that she's mega talented and I have no problem calling myself a casual fan.  Everything that I've read about her is pretty impressive.  She deals with having Tourette's syndrome--but doesn't act like a "victim" to it.   She sounds like she's a very hard working and motivated person--and I definitely respect that. 

 

Doug B

Footballguy
Never heard of him, next
You've actually made a good point here -- these YouTube/Instagram/Snapchat/Tik Tok (what the heck is that?) "stars" are not transcendent celebrities as existed in times past.

Tim used "superstar" in the OP ... yet I'd bet not one in 100 random Americans (sampled across age groups) has heard of Billie Eilish. Go back to the 80s ... my grandparents (born in 1899 and 1906) knew exactly who Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Run DMC were.

Rockaction talked about how hip hop has been trending last few years. Today, the mammoths of hip hop never achieve household-name status. Same with giants of the DJ music scene.

I guess everything these days is just THAT fragmented. I've heard the name Post Malone thanks to having kids ... but as big of a star as he is in 2019, he doesn't have a "Billie Jean" or "Like a Virgin" in his repertoire (yes, I'm sure he's hit big on the Hot 100) ... a song that everybody in society gets exposed to whether they seek it out or not.

It's sounds like I'm bagging on modern acts, but I'm really not. It's just that, well ... I think it works better when their star status is couched as "YouTube Star" or "Internet Star". Justin Beiber, for good or ill, has broken out of that box and gotten known across all demographics -- he is a superstar. Billie Eilish is still an "Internet star".

 

timschochet

Footballguy
You've actually made a good point here -- these YouTube/Instagram/Snapchat/Tik Tok (what the heck is that?) "stars" are not transcendent celebrities as existed in times past.

Tim used "superstar" in the OP ... yet I'd bet not one in 100 random Americans (sampled across age groups) has heard of Billie Eilish. Go back to the 80s ... my grandparents (born in 1899 and 1906) knew exactly who Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Run DMC were.

Rockaction talked about how hip hop has been trending last few years. Today, the mammoths of hip hop never achieve household-name status. Same with giants of the DJ music scene.

I guess everything these days is just THAT fragmented. I've heard the name Post Malone thanks to having kids ... but as big of a star as he is in 2019, he doesn't have a "Billie Jean" or "Like a Virgin" in his repertoire (yes, I'm sure he's hit big on the Hot 100) ... a song that everybody in society gets exposed to whether they seek it out or not.

It's sounds like I'm bagging on modern acts, but I'm really not. It's just that, well ... I think it works better when their star status is couched as "YouTube Star" or "Internet Star". Justin Beiber, for good or ill, has broken out of that box and gotten known across all demographics -- he is a superstar. Billie Eilish is still an "Internet star".
To be precise I wrote “a new kind of superstar” with a question mark, partly because I recognize the caveats you mention here. 

Still, in terms of how we measure these things: (music sales above all else) she may end up  swamping nearly everyone you mentioned. 

 

Doug B

Footballguy
Still, in terms of how we measure these things: (music sales above all else) she may end up  swamping nearly everyone you mentioned. 
I'd have to see the numbers ... but admittedly, I'm biased. IMHO, a download or a listen on YouTube doesn't equal the sale of a 45.

 

Long Ball Larry

Footballguy
I'd have to see the numbers ... but admittedly, I'm biased. IMHO, a download or a listen on YouTube doesn't equal the sale of a 45.
certainly no one will make as much money from just listens.  merch, touring, other marketing deals and everything all in, not sure.  probably not in terms of total dollars generated.  in terms of how much the artist actually receives, some people today might eclipse prior stars.

 

Mr. Irrelevant

IBL Representative
timschochet said:
To be precise I wrote “a new kind of superstar” with a question mark, partly because I recognize the caveats you mention here. 

Still, in terms of how we measure these things: (music sales above all else) she may end up swamping nearly everyone you mentioned. 
Sales? She's not eclipsing anyone we remember in terms of music sales. That ship sailed with the dawn of the YouTube / Spotify era. Instead of maybe 20-30% on the sale of a $15 CD, the latter pays out approximately four-tenths of a cent per play. You'd need play counts in the literal tens of billions to match the royalties from a Jagged Little Pill.

It's a more democratic world for music now than 20 years ago, to be sure, but the only real chance 99.9% of artists have to make a living is through concert tickets, merchandise, and sponsorships - so name recognition, mindshare, influencing and marketing is the only way to climb the ladder. Whether that makes for a better or worse business model than decades past is a matter of opinion.

 
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rockaction

Footballguy
Sales? She's not eclipsing anyone we remember in terms of music sales. That ship sailed with the dawn of the YouTube / Spotify era. Instead of maybe 20-30% on the sale of a $15 CD, the latter pays out approximately four-tenths of a cent per play. You'd need play counts in the literal tens of billions to match the royalties from a Jagged Little Pill.

It's a more democratic world for music now than 20 years ago, to be sure, but the only real chance 99.9% of artists have to make a living is through concert tickets, merchandise, and sponsorships - so name recognition, mindshare, influencing and marketing is the only way to climb the ladder. Whether that makes for a better or worse business model than decades past is a matter of opinion.
:goodposting:

 

El Floppo

Footballguy
jvdesigns2002 said:
I like her music--but don't love it. With that said--I think it's apparent that she's mega talented and I have no problem calling myself a casual fan.  Everything that I've read about her is pretty impressive.  She deals with having Tourette's syndrome--but doesn't act like a "victim" to it.   She sounds like she's a very hard working and motivated person--and I definitely respect that. 
I think she and her brother- who I think creates all the music- are brilliant. and she's something like 17- brother only a couple years older. didn't know about the tourettes.

the wife looked into them- home-schooled, kids of people in the industry in LA... she and her brother do it all themselves, which as has been pointed out isn't exactly new- but they tapped into a sound that crosses over a bunch of pop, hip-hop and even indie sources and they do it really well. I say brilliant- because it's such a complete package- even their videos have a consistency of look to them that's as distinct as the music... and I think they do those themselves too. for now, I find it a bit repetitive song-to-song and even then it's not exactly my wheelhouse- so I like, not love, the music even as I recognize that they're brilliant at what they're doing.

somebody upthread mentioned Lorde from New Zealand, which is apt- although not sure if she was entirely DIY, but a similar sound and teen rise to stardom. and of course this girl is a star (and her brother- who if true that he produces all the music, will probably be the bigger star)- she's selling out her tour and getting a ton of press and recognition. Alicia Keys was given some kind of innovator award recently on one of those throw-away award shows.. she mentioned a string of legendary women artists like joni mitchell, and also included billie eilish in the list. this isn't some internet flash-in-pan IMO. 

 
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Doug B

Footballguy
Lorde is an interesting comparison.

I don't know if she broke on the Internet first or the radio first ... or else kind of both at once. But the first time I heard of her was when she was spoofed on Saturday Night Live -- one of the female cast dressed as her and sang part of "Royals".

Not long after that, I saw a blurb in Sports Illustrated about how Lorde named her song after seeing the word "Royals" on an old George Brett poster or something like that. Not long after that, I started hearing her songs as background music in public places. So Lorde was definitely getting cross-promoted all over the place for her work to make it into my sphere. She has been able to transcend Internet stardom and achieve what is pretty much indistinguishable from that "all over the place" 20th-century stardom.

Acts like Billie Eilish, Meek Mill, Avicii (RIP), Nipsey Hustle (RIP), Post Malone ... they ain't there yet.

 

Nick Vermeil

Footballguy
Doug B said:
You've actually made a good point here -- these YouTube/Instagram/Snapchat/Tik Tok (what the heck is that?) "stars" are not transcendent celebrities as existed in times past.

Tim used "superstar" in the OP ... yet I'd bet not one in 100 random Americans (sampled across age groups) has heard of Billie Eilish. Go back to the 80s ... my grandparents (born in 1899 and 1906) knew exactly who Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Run DMC were.

Rockaction talked about how hip hop has been trending last few years. Today, the mammoths of hip hop never achieve household-name status. Same with giants of the DJ music scene.

I guess everything these days is just THAT fragmented. I've heard the name Post Malone thanks to having kids ... but as big of a star as he is in 2019, he doesn't have a "Billie Jean" or "Like a Virgin" in his repertoire (yes, I'm sure he's hit big on the Hot 100) ... a song that everybody in society gets exposed to whether they seek it out or not.

It's sounds like I'm bagging on modern acts, but I'm really not. It's just that, well ... I think it works better when their star status is couched as "YouTube Star" or "Internet Star". Justin Beiber, for good or ill, has broken out of that box and gotten known across all demographics -- he is a superstar. Billie Eilish is still an "Internet star".
Drudge, CNN, The NY Times, etc. all ran stories when her album released. It seemed to me it was a bigger media event than Taylor Swift's last album. She had multiple hundreds of millions of plays for each of her songs on Spotify before she ever even released an album. All of her shows are sold out and "superstar" musicians of our day are pimping her because their kids are obsessed with her.  

Tim is prone to hyperbole sometimes but I'm comfortable with the superstar label here.  

 

MTskibum

Footballguy
They play Billie Eilish "Bury a Friend" on alt nation a little too much. I have no idea which musicians are more popular than the other ones, however Billie Eilish does not stand out as anything unique or all that great, not bad either.

Just generic modern alternative rock music.

 

Doug B

Footballguy
Drudge, CNN, The NY Times, etc. all ran stories when her album released.  
I gotcha ... and I know I'm old and behind the times.

But think about it: when an artist really breaks huge ... you don't have to find out about them by reading a newspaper article or checking out a website. Their music is just inescapable, across many demographics in many public venues of many types. You know?

Maybe it's just that today, it's easier to insulate oneself from right-now pop culture than it once was. Especially music.

 

Nick Vermeil

Footballguy
I gotcha ... and I know I'm old and behind the times.

But think about it: when an artist really breaks huge ... you don't have to find out about them by reading a newspaper article or checking out a website. Their music is just inescapable, across many demographics in many public venues of many types. You know?

Maybe it's just that today, it's easier to insulate oneself from right-now pop culture than it once was. Especially music.
Check the last two years of FFA album threads.   ;)

But I get you.  Times they are a changing.  

 

nirad3

Footballguy
You know when the Dan Patrick Show mentions you, you've made it big.

But yeah they discussed her this morning and played a snippet of one of her tunes.

Had never heard of her before this morning.  

Get off my lawn *shakes fist*

 

El Floppo

Footballguy
I have no doubt that my two daughters probably listen to her and I also have no doubt I would hate it.
the music isn't typical cynical record company fabricated pop crap. so yeah- you'd probably hate it. 

I'm amazed kids are liking it tbh... 

But Nelson, who composed the music for the episode, was ecstatic. She’s a fervent supporter of Billie, and seemed genuinely shocked that Eilish and company would be inspired by her work.

“Can’t say enough about that girl,” she says. “She is, to me, one of the finest young artists of today. She takes risks. She’s herself. She marches to her own drummer. I love what she did with that. I thought it was brilliant. I could hear that she got slightly inspired by the beat. I respect and admire her so much. I’m honored that I have anything to do with inspiring Billie Eilish.”

 

SoBeDad

Footballguy
New to me, but my 26 year old daughter said she's really good. She was introduced to her music via FB. I'm not sure if I'll like it, I won't know until I hear her music multiple times. 

 

El Floppo

Footballguy
why do you say that?
it's not prototypical record label force-fed pop that my kids typically like. darker, more idiosyncratic. has roots in hip-hop and indie- both of which can transcend to pop-dom... but she and her brother have figured something very zeitgeisty here that can appeal to kids and to indie-snobs.

 

Long Ball Larry

Footballguy
it's not prototypical record label force-fed pop that my kids typically like. darker, more idiosyncratic. has roots in hip-hop and indie- both of which can transcend to pop-dom... but she and her brother have figured something very zeitgeisty here that can appeal to kids and to indie-snobs.
not sure if you left out  the word "my"  before "kids" in the original post (i certainly wouldn't have questioned it then).  In general, I agree that she and Phineas have captured something that straddles the line between being both familiar and novel.  They have the combination of the dirty, DIY soundcloud/trap sound but mixed with folk-pop and with better vocal melodies, as well as being able to work the social media landscape in a way that makes sense to kids but also seems more raw and authentic.   kids are so comfortable and versed in these media and understand the fakery behind it (even though they are still influenced by it), so they want to live in that world but also want something genuine.  She is also able to hold contradictions, both being extremely vulnerable and confident at the same time, and just kind of experiencing and accepting the full emotional gamut, somehow not getting low or too high.  That's probably actually the kind of trick that most great artists have been able to pull over time, it's just now happening through a different platform.  I could be totally off about it, but I guess having a very emotionally complex 14 year old girl and trying to understand her has me on a certain wavelength in terms of how I think about what she does.

Musically, I personally would like to see her do an album with a more accomplished producer at some point to get a more fully realized vision of what she can do.  Maybe Phineas will grow further and/or doesn't want to (and certainly they certainly need my ### telling them what to do), but I found the full package of these songs to be a little bit lacking.  I'd like to see a supergroup of El-P, Danger Mouse, K Flay, Akwafina, Q tip and Billie.  That seems reasonable, right?

 

El Floppo

Footballguy
Long Ball Larry said:
not sure if you left out  the word "my"  before "kids" in the original post (i certainly wouldn't have questioned it then).  In general, I agree that she and Phineas have captured something that straddles the line between being both familiar and novel.  They have the combination of the dirty, DIY soundcloud/trap sound but mixed with folk-pop and with better vocal melodies, as well as being able to work the social media landscape in a way that makes sense to kids but also seems more raw and authentic.   kids are so comfortable and versed in these media and understand the fakery behind it (even though they are still influenced by it), so they want to live in that world but also want something genuine.  She is also able to hold contradictions, both being extremely vulnerable and confident at the same time, and just kind of experiencing and accepting the full emotional gamut, somehow not getting low or too high.  That's probably actually the kind of trick that most great artists have been able to pull over time, it's just now happening through a different platform.  I could be totally off about it, but I guess having a very emotionally complex 14 year old girl and trying to understand her has me on a certain wavelength in terms of how I think about what she does.

Musically, I personally would like to see her do an album with a more accomplished producer at some point to get a more fully realized vision of what she can do.  Maybe Phineas will grow further and/or doesn't want to (and certainly they certainly need my ### telling them what to do), but I found the full package of these songs to be a little bit lacking.  I'd like to see a supergroup of El-P, Danger Mouse, K Flay, Akwafina, Q tip and Billie.  That seems reasonable, right?
Nailed it on all fronts.

My son is 11, and I was talking kids generally, not mine. But I suppose I was transposing my kids age out there and being surprised- her music fits perfectly for a 14+ yo.

Agree that the music as a whole on the album is becoming a bit of a wash without enough variation (for me). Also agree she or both would do well working with others...which they've already started doing. I was imagining him having the longer career legs by doing this.

Also want to reiterate how impressed I am with their cohesive sound and visual direction...even if I want more from the former.

 

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