So, who is the queen of pop?

Who would you say is the number one nation when it comes to producing and marketing international pop music? I grew up with English language pop music most of which was made in the UK and I often wondered why the Brits are so successful in this business. Of course the US and Canada have quite a number of international starts too.

But what about other nations, I’m sure they are able to create and sell their own pop music at least within their country? As far as Germany is concernced the percentage of commercially successful pop groups is very small. I think the situation East European countries is quite different as they keep their national pop music scene alive by promoting local groups through the mass media.

So what do think does it take for pop stars to be successful at the national as well as the international level?[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, photographs: Bricklaying[YSaerTTEW443543]

Queen of the pop?Well people called Maddona queen of the pop before but who will be now that i will not know.Perhaps Britney Spears,but not sure.After all there is somuch new female singers in latest time you cant pick which one is best.

The business press in the United States now says that Indra K. Nooyi is the new queen of pop.

The British international pop scene was able to get off the ground because in the early 1960s the pop music in the US got dull for a while. The Beatles arrived doing more or less imitations of American rock & roll from the 1950s and bad remakes of Motown songs. They were good at it – even at the bad stuff – the music was lively, and they were well promoted, so they got popular here, and Americans started to get used to pop music coming from countries other than the United States. This resulted in a lot of American money pouring into the British record companies, etc., and they were able to put more cash into promoting groups. I don’t think the British are better at it than anyone else, but they just have a lot of economic muscle behind them and can sing in English without sounding ridiculous.

There weren’t any internationally successful Swedish pop groups (maybe only one) until the 1970s or 1980s, after the Swedish government established a government agency to develop and promote pop music acts. The Irish government did the same thing, I believe, and so did the French. The French don’t succeed in most of the world at this, though, because they sing in French.

In the United States, if a pop group or singer sings in any language other than English, Spanish or maybe Brazilian Portuguese, the CDs get filed in the “International” section. This means they’re mixed among the polka accordion players and the yodelers. No matter how cool they are in the rest of the world, this is where they are filed. Few people look for music in this section, so it’s almost the same as being thrown into the garbage can. In the 1990s, Eros Ramazzotti was very popular all over Europe, but in the US he was unknown because his CDs were filed with the Sicilian folk music and things like that. German bands that don’t sing in English can escape this doom if they are more avant garde, and then they go into whatever section the avant garde music is, and not in the international section.

That’s right Jamie.
Americans consider Europian music funny because of the language difficulties.
American music has been out of date in Europe since 1995, when all the Disc Jockeys started to play house, trans, techno and all of this kind of music.
There is no DJ. in his right mind who would play pop, or rock, or rap in a night club in Holland.
In Europe only radios play pop, rockers and rappers are considered as “avantgard” just like punks.
We all know who George Michael is, we might even like him as well, but it would be a sad day of my life if I had to listen to him in a night club instead of Tiesto, or maybe Paul Van Dyke.
You might have never heard of these guys, it’s because this kind of music hasn’t even reach your country yet.
I showed an old CD to a Canadian friend of mine and he was so upset because he couldn’t buy a CD like that.
It was an old Scooter CD.
A year later the Canadian channels started to play a song of that CD and it went right up to the first place on the toplists.
A ten-year-old Scooter song :slight_smile:

Somehow I don’t think that money is the only reason why the Brits have been dominating the international pop scene for decades. Why would American companies invest more money into British pop groups than into American ones? Also, there is a vibrant national pop scene in many East European countries while I can’t see something like that in Germany. Maybe I’m biased but something tells me that the Germans are simply not good at creating pop music while the Brits are. In my opinion this has something to do with mentality and life style. The Germans are rather technical and like producing music that reminds me of military marches.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, photographs: Ball game[YSaerTTEW443543]

It’s OK Torsten, take it easy!
You make cars like Mercedes and BMW instead.
One just can’t have everything! :slight_smile:

I’d rather drive one of those cars than listen our pop band at home :slight_smile:

Torsten, I don’t think American companies invest more money into British pop groups than into American ones. Do you have concrete numbers for this? If they’re doing it, it may be because we’ve entered a boring phase, which happens once a decade or so.

One thing that happens in the United States is that you get music running in cycles. You’ll have some appealing sort of music burst onto the scene, and it will get very popular, but then the industry starts to package it, or something else they want to push on us, and most of the pop music on the market gets fake and boring. Then suddenly something else comes out that the producers don’t have that much control over, and things get interesting again, only to get boring later for a few years.

Historical examples: The lively jazz and swing scene of the 1940s gave in to a very boring (I consider it almost morbid) phony pop style in the early 1950s. Kids got sick of this, and in the mid-1950s rock & roll got popular. The industry got more control of rock & roll, and then things got boring again (except for Motown music from my native city and some things from Philadelphia). When things got thoroughly boring, the British Invasion started, which was pretty much just an imitation of what Americans were doing in the late 1950s, combined with some bad imitations of Motown (the Beatles did the most outrageous job of massacring soul music, really awful!). At the same time, the country scene had also gotten boring, and Buck Owens and some other musicians from Bakersfield, California, performed almost he same function that the Beatles did, which was to make the music hillbilly and fun again. This mid-1960s stuff gave way to the psychedelic stuff (and in my city the forerunners of punk music), but around 1973 the industry got more control again, and things were boring again until Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello and some punk groups appeared about five years later.

Spencer, the music you’re describing that you think makes the scene in Europe so cool is another aspect of the European music scene that is funny to Americans. To come up with a hit in Europe, you don’t even have to be able to write songs. All you need to do is get the right disco or techno beat, include one English phrase that even beginners can understand, and repeat and repeat that phrase again and again. American music that is that shallow will often go right down the toilet here, but it will get wildly popular in Europe. Hearing the same three idiotic phrases repeated over and over, pouring out of every radio and out the front door of every discotheque, everywhere you go, gives Americans a very goofy impression of the European music scene.

And if the US is such a backwater, then explain to me why once a year my city of Detroit holds a techno music festival that fills up with Europeans who claim that techno music STARTED in Detroit and think of the city as some kind of Mecca, which by any normal measure it wouldn’t be.

I don’t agree that Germans are bad at popular music. It depends on what you mean by the term. I’ve always thought that Herbert Gr?nemeyer is good, and there are current German groups that I think are really terrific.

It may seem strange that a 10-year-old European hit would get popular in Canada, but it’s not unprecedented for some American hit to get popular in Europe 15 or 20 years after it was originally released. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I think it’s healthy.

Jamie, have you seen the movie Terminal?
Believe it, or not there are people who don’t think America is the center of the world.
If Americans think Europian music is funny, and let’s say they are right, who cares? Americans listen old music, for God’s sake! :slight_smile:
It doesn’t matter how hard to make that song, or how simple it is, only matters how it affect you.
Britney Spears is a little frog with no voice and look what they did to her. :slight_smile:
Hey, I didn’t say German music is not good, Torsten did.
I just cheered him up a bit. :slight_smile:
Jamie, according to your writting you’re not an expert of house music, 'cause that kind of music you described went out of date about the same time when it came.
Only Americans think of that as Europien style.
I don’t want to get it started, there are about twenty different styles in this music that you mentioned, it’s like if I put rock-and-roll and death-metal under the same title.
It’s just another proof you have no clue about what you’re talking about. :slight_smile:
It’s OK, 'cause Americans think of it as funny music, some Europians think of America as a funny country.
I think THIS is healty :slight_smile:

Spencer, you’re developing a habit of thinking that my posts address you directly, even if I address another person by name.

Jamie, I think there is quite a number of pop songs made in US that are rather primitive. Spencer already mentioned Britney Spears (Oops I did it again?) and I’d like to add “stars” like Paris Hilton and Ashlee Simpson.

However, in general I do agree with you. Germans do have a tendency to listen to music that doesn’t contain any meaningful lyrics and are based on monontonous triads that remind me of songs we used to listened to in kindergarten. In the US you can find more groups that create songs whose lyrics make you think. Or at least their lyrics are intriguing enough for you to ask about their background. With many European songs there simply is no background and nobody cares about the lyrics anyway.

Still, we haven’t answered the question why Great Britain is the number one country in the world when it comes producing and promoting pop music. Jamie, you suggested that American companies were pouring money into British labels and that triggered my question as to their motives for doing so. It somehow strikes me as odd that Americans would invest into British groups. What I’m trying to do is find the reasons why some nations have local pop scences that are thriving while others rely on imports.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, photographs: Scuba divers in action[YSaerTTEW443543]

I’ve traveled a lot and lived overseas. I don’t know why you’d be saying this to me, unless you’re using me as a proxy for other Americans you’ve met.

Americans typically don’t worry about the era their music was recorded in. My nephew is quite young, but he listens to a lot of stuff that was popular when I was in high school. Strange but true. It’s just part of his mix, though. If Europeans reject music that’s not new (which I personally don’t believe they do), then it’s one more reason to think that Europeans are something like Americans were around the year 1960.

And Europeans who do not understand English well are largely affected by that heavy thump and a simple, repeated English phrase.

Wait a minute. You think I’m telling you that house music, a style that started in Chicago and Detroit, in the early 1980s is a European style? No, I’m not. I’m telling you that it flourishes in Europe more than it does here, for the reasons I mentioned. My friends’ kids are into more language-intensive stuff, and they don’t pay attention to house music. That music is thought of as European pop music here, because you don’t hear Americans listening to it that much.

We apparently think of “rock” and “pop” as broader categories than you do. We think of death metal as a form of rock & roll, because that’s what it grew out of. And we think of rock music as a type of pop music, since “pop” is just short for “popular”.

Hi Spencer,

Thanks for offering some comfort :-), as a matter of fact, I think that German car makers are under a lot of pressure and they are have to make concessions. Although Mercedes and BMW are traditional German brands, they are becoming more and more international which is good. It’s no longer just ‘the Germans’ who are producing German cars.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, photographs: Running into the water[YSaerTTEW443543]

Don’t count Paris Hilton and Ashlee Simpson as musicians. Here they are thought of as stars, and not all stars who sing are musicians. They’re basically celebrities who are famous for nothing, and they happen to have recorded a song or two. That’s a different type of animal.

I have CDs of German music with lyrics that make you think, but they’re in German. And sometimes the lyrics are clever. One of my favorite lines goes, “Was f?r eine wilde Zeit; Alles ist im Fluss. M?de wird wer immer aufw?rts schwimmen muss.” And like the song or not, it’s got some ideas in it that don’t normally show up in popular music and are quite the antithesis of it.

I don’t agree that it’s the number-one country in the world at that. It looks that way when you’re in Germany watching MTV Europe, but from here it doesn’t appear that way. Besides that, there’s a whole pop music scene that’s not even in English. Hong Kong and India have bigger film industries than Hollywood, and I’d imagine (but have no proof) that their pop music industry is bigger than that of the British. I think the Latin American music industry is as big or bigger than the British one also, but it just doesn’t look that way to someone sitting in his chair in Leipzig or Chicago. (Well, maybe in Chicago, but not in Leipzig.)

The American popular music industry sometimes gets too much control over the “product”, and they’re taken by surprise when the populace starts going in a different direction. When I was a kid, they got taken by surprise by the soul music coming from Philadelphia and Detroit, and when I was a teenager they were surprised by the popularity of a lot of hard rock that was coming out of neighborhood garages. When this happens, the industry goes wherever it has to to sign acts. During my high school years, a lot of the bands that played at our local dances got signed by huge recording companies, and some of them became, and still are, huge stars, appreciated more in other places than here. After the industry could find acts like that in California – or create them – they stopped scouting here as much. Sometimes the industry does the same thing with the UK. At the moment, the pop music in the US is kind of boring, and the music industry has to find music that white people will listen to that is a little fresh. Sometimes when they need this, they go to the UK for it. Also, some British bands move to the US to pursue a recording career.

I still think you can’t rule out government funding, promotion and protection as a factor in this. The Swedish government was able to bring Swedish pop music from nearly zero to a major factor in the world scene (not counting North America) just by setting up an agency that developed and promoted the acts.

In Eastern Europe, the communist governments exercised a lot of control over what music was played, and even over what music was allowed into the country. This gave their pop music groups, singing in their language, room to grow and get popular, and when communism fell and more foreign music invaded, the pop acts’ roots were strong enough not to be affected too much. Actually, though, I think in some of those countries local music is whithering, but not as fast as it has in other places.

Hi Jamie,
I already developed the habit of thinking that your posts address me directly if you address me by name.
Because this is what happened :slight_smile:

I’m pretty smart otherwise