Good points made by everyone. The U.S. market is tough to break from the 'outside'.|
The U.S. music market is almost a world unto itself - a completely different planet. There's no question that musical tastes here have evolved differently over the past couple decades. Many highly successful artists from outside the U.S. have failed to make inroads here. I recall a discussion in the 00's with other Corr fans from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean about some dude named Robbie Williams. (THEY: "You don't know who Robbie Williams is?" ME: "No! Never heard of him." THEM: "I can't believe it.")
Like you, Steve, I missed out on most of the excitement. I have had to live with the regret of discovering the greatness the Corrs almost exactly at the moment that they went "wheels up" in August 2004, leaving my state of California where they played 'Caroline-less' concerts in Almaden and San Diego.
It's true the Corrs did not achieve the kind of popularity in the U.S. that they deserved. Looking back on it, though, the Corrs were enormously successful in the States. They toured with the Rolling Stones and Celine Dion. They opened for U2 in Florida in March 2001. How many bands could pull off those accomplishments? They also appeared several times on nationwide television: The Today Show, Conan O'Brien, Ellen DeGeneres, Jay Leno.
When you think of it, it's remarkable what the Corrs have been able accomplish in the U.S. - mostly on their own merits, defying all those executives who turned them down before David Foster gave them a chance. Opportunities also seem to have come their way based on the respect that they earned from other musicians.
After so many years of heavy touring and promotion - in the face of terrible grief - they simply reached a point of exhaustion in 2001, perhaps at their most opportune moment to have a big breakthrough in the U.S. I have read that during the spring of 2001 when "Breathless" was a hit, there were plans for a brief tour of the U.S. However, Andrea suffered a serious ear infection which put an end to those plans. The needs of the family took precedence, and rightfully so, I feel.
One can only imagine the impact the Corrs might have had during the 'golden era' of 24/7 videos on MTV and VH1 that propelled bands like the Bangles. Unfortunately, that era had come to an end when 'Real World," the first reality TV show on MTV, came along in 1992 closing the curtain on that 'golden era'.
Also, it was around this time that the bottom began to drop out of the music market due to peer-to-peer file sharing that robbed the labels of revenue. Perhaps some of that lost revenue could have gone into paying for more extended tours in the U.S.
I also fault the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that went into effect on February 8, 1996, the same month during which the Corrs released their "Forgiven Not Forgotten" single. The stated purpose of this legislation was to promote competition in telecommunications. However, the actual result was less competition and variety, because it paved the way for radio monopolies. Between 1996 and 2001, radio station ownership fell from 5100 owners to 3800 owners. (Currently, a single corporation, iHeartMedia, owns over 850 stations across the nation, at least according to Wikipedia). The unfortunate consequence: the power of deciding what music gets played was taken from DJs and station music directors and handed over to market researchers and consultants. A single corporation might buy out several stations in a single market, and then dedicate them to "formats", each format targeted at a different type of audience for purposes of advertising revenue. Indie acts, local acts, or acts like the Corrs - whose music doesn't fall neatly into one of the chosen "formats" - stood to suffer.
As has been noted here at this forum, the market researchers and consultants have been more generous to the Corrs in the arena of "retail radio" (the music played inside retail businesses).
I suspect that most of us fans from the U.S. - though our dreams for them might have fallen short here - have reached the point where we simply consider ourselves lucky to know the band and enjoy their music, even if from afar.
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