While no doubt Carrie Underwood will bring a smile to the face with her rendition of the "sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't" jingle, otherwise you can forget about chocolate, Charlie, Willy and Wonka.
What we need to talk about here is spaghetti. (Not to be confused with the little known and even less loved Guns 'n Roses album, The Spaghetti Incident, or with the delightful chewing-gum-for-the-mind Panorama radio hoax, "The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest.")
As in: What if it cost $1,000,000 to make a bowl of spaghetti and then only 3 people liked it?
That's pretty much what the old music industry does every day.
In The Future of Music, David Kusek and Gerd Leonhard's fascinating tome on, well, the future of music, we find this enlightening fact:
Approximately 32,000 new cds are released each year. Only about 250 of those new discs will sell over 10,000 copies. Fewer than 30 of those 32,000 discs will go platinum (ship more than 1M).
That, according to Kusek and Leonhard, means that only 1/10 of 1% of new artists is likely to hit it big.
1/10 of 1% . . . that's .001. That's so miniscule, Power Point probably explodes if you try to display that as a pie chart.
Clearly, as our music futurist friends write:
Most record companies today market artists based on a “see if it sticks” approach. They put a hundred different artists on the market, knowing that less than five of them will ever break even. They hope for that one act that will hit the big-time so that they recoup the entire investment across their whole roster of acts.
Rolling Stone, under the gloomy title "Record Biz Still Sinking," quotes industry suits noting that budget cuts have led to cuts in the number of people working to promote any given album. Just like with movies and television shows these days, the execs have much, much less patience with records that are slow to develop a following.