Clay Aiken – About Being Different

So…what was Clay Aiken doing on Thursday?  Was he baking cookies?  Selling Wedding dresses? Working on a brochure for an advertising Campaign?  Well, we don’t know.

It seems that Celebrity Apprentice has moved into a secure location and maybe we won’t get anymore great pictures or cryptic messages.  The next few weeks could end up seeming like forever.  I just hope Clay is having a wonderful time and that his team is working well to make lots of money for charity.

So…life goes on and there are others things we can discuss, even if it isn’t as much fun as news about Clay.

Everytime I read about the music industry, I relate what I read to Clay Aiken.  It is fun to agree, ponder, cheer and sometimes just shake my head.

Last Monday, Bob Lefsetz wrote an interesting blog titled I Want My MTV.  In this article, Bob reminds his readers about how MTV changed the music industry and goes on to suggest some of the influence the Internet will have on music.

Lefsetz says of MTV:

MTV changed music. I’m not talking about the music business, but the music itself. Suddenly how you looked was important. And you had to fit the genre the station was promoting… Suddenly, music was all about the heavily-promoted, the heavily-marketed, it was made by beautiful people for everyone, and the people who weren’t beautiful, who’d lived a life of rejection, who considered music their own private playground, tuned out….Either you were on MTV or you were history. Either you were monstrous or you were irrelevant.

In the MTV era the music came first. If it wasn’t an approved genre, you were SOL. Sure, you had to look good and have money behind you, but if you didn’t sound like what MTV was playing, you had no chance. Now just the opposite is true. The way you connect with your fans comes first. The bond is the initial attraction. The music comes last. The point is the music can sound like anything, there are no limits, no rules, no genres you must fall into. You’ve just got to have a relationship with your fans and consistently honor it, put them ahead of all other interests.

Bob goes on to say that to day, online music is about being different…people are tired of the clones and want someone who is unique.  Lefsetz wrote seven suggestions for todays musician.

1. Dream small.

This is the opposite of the MTV era aspiration, when it was about getting on television and reaching everybody. Today your goal is to reach somebody, a single person, and then have the word spread from there. You can build something completely new or tap into a niche, but if you’re playing for everybody online doesn’t want you. Online is about the site that only appeals to you. Mass is a lucky accident after the fact.

2. Success is bidirectional.

You must know your audience and listen to it. If you’re playing to everybody you’re gonna reach nobody. Try to excite one listener who will spread the word. And it doesn’t matter what age you are, oldsters are the fastest growing demo on Facebook, they’ve got iPhones too.

3. The music is important.

But it’s not the only thing. If you’re waiting for someone to write you a check so you can stay at home and create and they can sell, you’re missing the point. You rehearse in public. People weigh in on you along the way. You grow with your audience. And money comes at the end of the game. Instead of going for a big advance, be your audience’s friend, they’ll end up giving you all their money via Kickstarter and concert tickets and merch sales thereafter.

4. The music must be available.

Never say no to your music being exposed online. Unless it’s tied in with a product or pitch. Yes to YouTube, yes to Spotify, yes to iTunes. With so much information out there, it’s hard to get noticed, don’t be your own worst enemy.

5. Creativity is king!

It’s the sixties all over again. The era of Frank Zappa has returned. You want people to check out your music to see what you have to say, to marvel at the insight, the outrageousness. One striking concept is more important than tens of thousands of dollars in promotion.

6. Different is a badge of honor.

People embrace the outlier. Music has become foreground once again. Unlike the hits du jour which are used as dance club fodder and workout inspirers, people are now paying attention to what you have to say. You can’t do skin deep unless you’re purveying irony. You’ve got to go for the heart and mind.

7. Growth curves are different.

In the MTV era you were a hit overnight. If you’re a hit overnight today, you’re gone tomorrow. That’s what a YouTube phenomenon is about, that’s Rebecca Black. If you’ve got millions of views, you’re on your way to irrelevancy. You’re better off with fewer hits generated over a period of years. Your stuff is always available online, you never know when a new fan will encounter you and decide to check out your entire output. They don’t have to sit in front of the TV and wait for your video, it’s all sitting there online, like a land mine…

…Don’t forget that the music business was in the doldrums prior to MTV. It was rescued by something the established players did not understand.

The same thing is happening today. Not tomorrow, but right now.

If you want to have a career, play to the Web audience, don’t care what the mainstream says, don’t release music based on holidays and other arcane data. If you wrote it at midnight, have it out tomorrow. Even if it’s Sunday. Your audience is online. Ready.

Do it for them.

They’ll do it for you.

What do you think of what Bob wrote?  Do you agree with him or are you rolling your eyes?

You can read all of Bob Lefsetz at his interesting site.  Please click on his site and read the entire blog.


Now…do you think we will hear about Celebrity Apprentice today?  That would be lots of fun.


Clay Aiken News Network is an unofficial fansite. We are not affiliated in any way with Clay Aiken or his management. This website was made by fans for fans and makes no impression or impersonation of the official site, which can be found under the domain

11 thoughts on “Clay Aiken – About Being Different

  1. I miss the good 'days of Mtv when the M meant music. I think Lefsetz has some good points but I wish it were that simple.

  2. I think you are right – we won't be seeing too much about CA for a while – they caused a big stir for the day to get the interest for the show and probably will be very quiet now and keeping up the suspense until air time. About the music industry – alot of the items mentioned do make sense. I think Clay has been thinking in that way – but I don't really understand it all. So, I'll just say that
    Clay will know how to handle his career and I will continue to have faith in his decisions – If he is
    in or out, I will always be a fan and if there is a song I will be listening and loving it!

  3. Very informative, as always! Personally, I was not a big fan of the MTV era and did not feel it changed music for the better. However, I totally agree with how important it is to relate to the fans and listen to what they're saying.

    I, too, hope that we'll be hearing some Celebrity Apprentice news today!! Thanks for your great blog!

  4. Don't know what to think about Bob Lefsetz's opinions. Seems there are a lot of them to sort out. I do believe that each performer should find their own niche in the music industry and then plug away at it. If one concept doesn't work, try another. There are no guarantees that one size fits all.

    Fans tend to stay around if what the performer is presenting clicks with them. That's why I continue to be a Clay Aiken fan. It comes down to definite fascination, integrity, and overall performance style approval in my case. Guess we all have our own opinions.

    Not expecting any more Celebrity Apprentice news for now. The show has to try and keep the suspense intact. Of course, I won't be upset if there is a leak or two.

    Thanks for keeping us up to date on the twists and turns of the music industry. It sure is a puzzle.

  5. I, too, don't know what to think about Lefsetz's articles or opinions. I think Clay has a good thing going for him right now…and having a single come out on the radio..and then TCA starting in Feb. should be a good thing. No matter what he sings…I will be there..and buying.

    There probably won't be that much more news from TCA now as they have to keep it under people will watch the show. But, of course, I wouldn't object to a little hint here and there. Lol!

  6. Well, Bob always makes a reader think. The music world is certainly changing. It seems like it will get better with out the labels who fleece everyone but their pockets.

    Sure wish we could hear from Clay. I hope he is having fun!!

    Thanks for the information.

  7. yes..I was never a fan of the MTV era… It's funny how you interpret a song, when you hear it. I found many times, when they made a video of a song…it was nothing like I had invisioned it… it actually ruined it for me, and sometimes, if I loved a song…once I saw the video, I moved on.

    I think it is awful that you have to have an image, style in order to get your music played…That is so wrong.. If you have a fantastic voice, that should be it. For image for tv or the movies.

    But times are a changing!!! and I'm not too sure what the future will hold..but I do know that I will be listening to Clay for as long as he is singing. I just wish the music industry would cut him a break…because I know of no one that has worked harder, and there is not a better voice out there today, with the range, power and tone, than Clay. He's got me as a fan forever.

  8. A very interesting read about the music industry. Thanks for bringing it to us, musicfan.

    I hope you're wrong about our not seeing much of Celebrity Apprentice for a while. Our first look was SO much FUN! I've been looking forward to more of the same.

  9. I agree with Clayitagain, so many videos that have been made never had anything to do with the story of the song. IMO. That may be why Clay always had his video of him singing the song with a band. He let each listener interpret the song on their own.

    I am so excited about Clay on TCA. The last couple of days were so much fun. I kinda doubt if we do hear anything else until air time.

  10. I was a fan of MTV from the beginning, but it has changed so much over the years and really doesn't hold that much sway anymore. Mostly reality shows and one wonders where the music went. Well, it went online. Great article musicfan.
    "They don’t have to sit in front of the TV and wait for your video, it’s all sitting there online, like a land mine…" Because Clay has allowed vid taking at his concerts there is a wealth of Clay's music on YouTube.

  11. Bob always gives us something interesting to think about and I enjoy reading his thoughts even when I don't agree with everything he says.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.