Sheeran’s songs are catchy though. I mean if we take having a certain amount of skill at making tunes as read, I tend to assume the key to this is good management combined with the ability to accept said management if the manager is separate from the artist. Plus the artist has to have the ability to perform.
None of these things can be quantified for me. I mean I’m sure people in the industry can tell you exactly what makes a good management team, but fundamentally I think a lot of it must come down to a certain charm and/or ability to click with people.
I mean having watched some of Sheeran’s Glasto performance one year he is really slick and I can see how he was able to get people into his stuff. That performance aspect really helps if you’re doing live shows as it’ll make people come back to. Super Furry Animals and R.E.M. are both examples of bands that I didn’t fully ‘get’ until I saw them live (although I always considered them both to have catchy singles).
But yeah, management. Recall meeting the Test Icicles guys a couple of times before they blew up and they were really all over the place but they had that amazing stage thing. What they didn’t really seem to have was any sort of motivation to be big but what they found was a manager/management that made sure they did. And it’s clear they were a good band who understood that if you knuckled down it could work out.
I mean look at that Dig film where you can see the effect of Dandy Warhols clearly being ready to do whatever it took vs Brian Jonestown Massacre just eschewing the stuff. And I think BJM are still doing well which is a testament to having good music.
But you meet so many people when you’re gigging who had great tunes but were just not able to make the leap because they couldn’t connect with the people who book people and the people who put music on the radio etc.