In an interview with Hits magazine yesterday Columbia UK Chief Ferdy Unger-Hamilton spoke about the challenges of creating a global superstar from scratch in 2019…
“The idea of a worldwide artist is tough—it’s harder to get there and it takes a minute. We’re in a song economy now, and there is not as much space for artists. Every country is a different market, every country has a different streaming ecosystem in terms of artists and sometimes in terms of DSPs [Digital Service Providers (Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, etc…)] as well, and the fight for space is real.
It’s quite hard to cut through, but I know what damage [kind of an impact] we can do if we believe in something, and it’s definitely not a time to be half-hearted. It’s still possible to create superstars; you’ve just got to focus on the people that you believe in more. There will always be a will for the audience, the DSPs, the record companies and the artistic community to create global superstars, so I think evolutionarily that will happen. Let’s find one, or if we have one, let’s grow them into that. I don’t sweat the small stuff.”
It seems that Mr. Unger-Hamilton has not been made aware of an artist already signed to his label with exactly that potential (I’m speaking of Grace, of course).
Grace already, without even trying (really, with the exception of Japan, she hasn’t made an effort to broaden her global appeal, and yet it’s happened despite that neglect). Grace is actually bigger on Spotify outside of the US than in, that is if you only consider urban listening stats (though her appeal in the broad number of cumulative smaller US markets can’t be discounted). Grace is biggest (among metropolitan centers) in Mexico, Norway, England and Brazil with the US usually coming in near the bottom of those ranks. Can you imagine if Grace toured in those markets and/or appeared on their television programs?
I imagine that with the soon-to-be released new music from Grace we will finally see a more pronounced effort from her label(s) to market her properly in such markets, and that her promotion won’t be as intentionally (strategically) half-hearted as it has been over the last two years. As I’ve said in previous editorials, I believe the label thinks Grace, at least as she matures over the course of 2019, is ready for the kind of stardom we all know she’s capable of achieving.
Apparently, the UK Columbia Chief hasn’t been briefed yet, so these plans are likely still being developed within the offices of LBI management, WME, Syco and Columbia (US).
My suspicion is that whatever moves we will see in regards to Grace’s promotion in 2019 will be markedly different than what we’ve experienced thus far. No half-hearted promotional outings, no spontaneous “why not?” appearances. Everything moving forward will be very specifically chosen and planned well in advance in order to maximize Grace’s exposure, and to ensure such exposure has maximal impact on the general populace.
We had a taste of what the label is capable of with the launch day of “Clearly”. That 24-hour period on the drop date of that single is how it should be always be done, but they, in my opinion (no hard facts to back it up), intentionally dropped the ball the following day in order to begin renegotiating her contract. It was a “Do you see what we can do for you? Do you think you could do this on your own?” ploy to get her to re-sign. Welcome to the music business.
All of this depends, of course, on the quality of the new music, but everyone involved in the creation of said music thus far has been wildly ecstatic about it, and not in a, “Well, I love Grace and support her, so of course I’m going to say nice things”, sort of way, but a genuine, “I cannot believe how incredible this sounds. Holy ****, Grace is going to kill with these tracks” kind of way. I’m speaking about her producers of these tracks, her family, and Blythe Thomas.
Disney is likely pushing for this coming hype as well as I feel they have plans for Grace that reach far beyond the confines of the Stargirl movie(s). They can only benefit from Grace’s rising star and they will likely bend over backwards to help her, and her very powerful team of managers and agents, to make that happen. The Mouse House will likely make available whatever platforms it has at its disposal (which are too numerous to count) in order to promote Grace.
I can’t wait (only a few weeks now) to see how Grace’s new music will be released, to gauge the seriousness of the label’s actual actions against my assumptions. I hope I’m right on this one. If I am, and as Dave VanderWaal on social media has teased, 2019 will be the year Grace’s career truly takes off beyond her current substantial core fan base.
This article was first posted on VanderVault’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RMyfR1R3y4&lc=UgzdQ2E_dnKiO-MiwYl4AaABAg