Sunday, June 28, 2009

Will there ever be another Jackson or Fawcett?

David Segal, in today's New York Times, suggests that there may never be another pop icon like Michael Jackson or Farah Fawcett. And, the reason? The fractured state of media consumption around the world...

When Jackson rose to fame, he sold over 100 million copies of one album, "Thriller." Today, CD sales have plummeted as consumers have grown used to buying individual songs via i-Tunes, other paid services, or music pirating. The past success of MTV was linked with Jackson's rise to fame but that cable outlet no longer is known for playing videos--it's reliant upon original (reality) programming, and has suffered as a result. Even Fawcett's ubiquity in the 1970's (over 10 million copies of her poster were sold) is a past phenomenon given the number of websites and magazines where young (and old) men can find photos of women of choice.

The point is that the number of options available to consumers today--the web, YouTube, social networking sites, online music and the like--makes it unlikely that we'll ever see the rise of one personality who crosses over all of these outlets and grows to the level of stardom as that reached by Jackson, or even Fawcett.

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