On Flint Eastwood, “Queen” And Why Artists Should Be Able To Change Genres Song To Song

Genres exist because most acts make a particular form of music. It is rather rare that an artist jumps from genre to genre on a project. That can, of course, happen — especially these days when those of the Millennials and Generation Z demographics are living in the inner city and are listening to the same genres of music as those in the suburbs (the vice versa came long before). But it is an unwise choice for a first release as it not only confuses your target audience, it limits your ability to market and promote.

Music related outlets will rarely give such acts a shot. Even radio where a Hip-Hop and R&B station can choose to play a specific song from a project when it fits into their playlist will not do so until the act has made a name for themselves. One recent and an excellent example of this is Post Malone — he can have a song from “Stoney” playing on an Urban station, another on Rock, another on Top 40, and perhaps one even on Country. But that would have never happened had he not released “White Iverson” and had massive success with it.

For better or worse, the music industry is still very much controlled. Sure technology has granted musicians who never would have been able to allow others to hear their music, that gift. However, the outlets that are going to get your numbers up and your name out there in a significant way will rarely do that without someone with a name influencing them to do so (or handing them a rather large check to do so). Stories of the kid who recorded a song in their room then uploaded it to Soundcloud, radio just happened to hear it and began playing it, and then they were signed are scripted tales. It, unfortunately, does not work that way.

It is also the reason why you see so many acts “jump ship” to other genres after their debut albums. It is not that they suddenly found Rock, Pop, Country, R&B, or Hip-Hop, the labels need them to focus on one genre (e.g. P!nk). If they sell a ton of records, they get to call the shots on the next one. If they fail, the control continues to stay with the label. And it all goes back to the above. If you send a single to an Urban station and when they request the album sampler they hear a different genre on every other song, they will not want to add it. And it works the same way for all traditional forms of marketing and promotion. It is a business. Money is always the bottom line.

You cannot market what you cannot quickly explain. In a case such as this one, it is up to the listener and hopefully, fan (eventually), to make the musician’s success. No one else is going to do it for them. The best thing Flint Eastwood can do is take a grassroots approach. When the music is good, it catches on. If it does not, you are not working hard enough (or you hire someone who will work hard enough).