Killing Fans With Too Much Information

by Mr. LeN

I know knowledge is power and half the battle, but in the case of art, knowing too much can be detrimental. How much do we miss out on because the numbers were bad? Information about artists' deals and sales are irrelevant to the consumer. Why is it important to know these things? Too many times I hear people say "the record only sold [insert low number] so it can't be good." Why should sales affect whether or not you'll buy an album or see a movie? How much a movie cost to make doesn't make it a good movie. Poor album sales are not always due to bad material. Hate to be the angry artist (not really) but a lot of times the label just didn't promote it well. Quality of work isn't always matched by the attention it receives or the income that is generated. Give it a shot.

Folks, its ok to be a fan. Admit you like something that most people don't or hate something most people love. I'll go first, the movie Scarface is not that good. See? Yeah I may have lost some gangster credibility but my soul is satisfied. Now when I get anything Scarface related it'll be a gag gift. Fans that appreciate work are the best thing to ever happen to an artist. Think about it. Star Wars fans don't like the films because it cost a ton of money to produce or made even more. It's the story, and the lasers! Did Grateful Dead fans buy anything Grateful Dead related because of good album sales? Of course not, it was the music...and pot brownies!

Yogi Berra once said about a St.Louis restaurant: "Nobody goes there anymore. Its too crowded." That's pretty much where a lot of people are with their entertainment choices. Nobody saw that movie. It sucked. Where are the fans? Did knowing that a record didn't sell past 300,000 copies make it a horrible album? When did we find it important to attach the business and its thoughts of success to what we rate as good or classic? As a fan of great music I've compiled a list of records that may not have been huge sellers but are well deserving of your time and maybe even your money.

Let's Take it to the Stage

Me'shell Ndgeocello
Devil's Halo
Frank Zappa
Hot Rats
Prince Paul
Prince Among Thieves
The Black Keys
Seeing Sounds
Count Bass D
Act Your Waist Size
Use Your Confusion
Make Sure They See Your Face
Organized Konfusion
Stress: Extinction Agenda

As some of these artists' contemporary, I'm not afraid to say that I'm a fan of their work. How much they got as a signing bonus or if they did is of no concern to me. Some of you may have bought these records and thought "eh", still I do not care. A fan will support what they consider to be good art PERIOD.

Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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