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Product Vs. Promotion: Ciara’s ‘Jackie’

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Music lovers who’d written off Grammy winning stageblazer Ciara after the unforgiving dismissal of her third and fourth albums, ‘Fantasy Ride’ and ‘Basic Instinct’ respectively, were in for a rude awakening when her self-titled project dropped in 2013.

A return to prominence of sorts for the dancing diva, the album waltzed its way to a top 5 debut on the Billboard 200 courtesy of the modern-day slow jam ‘Body Party’ and other supporting cuts.  The truest test of her commercial relevance in the day’s music market, however, would be passed if the reignited momentum could carry on to its follow-up.  The answer to the challenge would arrive in a somewhat unlikely single choice:  ‘I Bet.’

Perceived as a clear clapback to her highly publicized relationship woes with former fiance/rapper Future, ‘I Bet’ was greeted with mixed reviews as some praised the singer for the tune’s brazen content while others expressed disappointment over its dated sound.  A slow, but steady climb up the Billboard Hot 100 (thanks to promotional appearances and radio play) would prove ‘I Bet’ a sure bet – a “winner” in some contexts given the unfavorable treatment “pure R&B” tracks were receiving on the pop charts in 2015.

However, that relative “win” would not be enough to launch the song’s parent album, ‘Jackie,’ to the heights of any of its predecessors:

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Product Vs. Promotion: Iggy Azalea’s ‘Team’

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The dreaded “sophomore slump” – the career hurdle that’s caused the fall of a number of music history’s most promising acts – currently stands to add Grammy-nominated rapstress Iggy Azalea to its  lengthy list of casualties.

Azalea, who didn’t exactly experience “overnight success” in her transition from virtual unknown to one of rap’s leading ladies, did see her career go from 0-100 (real quick) after her participation on Ariana Grande‘s horn-filled hit ‘Problem’ and the release of her own history-making single ‘Fancy.’ But, with the triumphs of both singles came the real “problem:  replicating their successes.

The endeavor would be doused with degrees of difficulty as the saucy Aussie’s public profile rang as the exact antithesis of her Billboard chart story.  Indeed, fielding attacks from the likes of Nicki Minaj, Q-Tip, Azealia Banks, Snoop Dogg, and even fellow Caucasian rappers Eminem and Macklemore, the court of public opinion joined them in finding Azalea guilty of cultural misappropriation and inauthenticity.  The effects of the verdict would be manifested in poor ticket sales for her headlining arena tour and fuel its cancellation (reportedly due to shifting focus to her debut album’s follow-up).

That follow-up, titled ‘Digital Distortion,’ found its kick-off via the bumping bop ‘Team’:
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Music

Product Vs. Promotion: Missy Elliott’s ‘WTF’

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After a nearly-decade long absence from charts as a leading act (and time filled with a number of “buzz” singles), ‘Hot Boyz’ hitmaker Missy Elliott kicked off 2015 by reminding any naysayers that she was hotter than ever.  An undoubted highlight of Katy Perry‘s otherwise forgettable ‘Super Bowl’ Halftime Show (the most watched in history), Elliott’s energy, stage presence, and resume of hits not only resonated with the viewing audience, but only seemed to amplify cries for the multi-talented diva’s full-on return to music.

It would literally be 10 months before their prayers were answered via the Pharrell Williams-produced ‘WTF.’ Dripping every “Elliott-ism” fans had grown to know and love over her 20 year career (see: futuristic & bass driven beat, colorful rapping), the bumping bop proved itself well worth the wait.  A welcomed departure from the dearth of quality rap ruling radio, by the time the tune’s out-of-this-world, Dave Meyers-directed video surfaced fans were sure the return to form would act as the much needed catalyst to put Missy back on top.  Even the rapstress herself bragged in the song:  ‘this another hit I got a(n) Ace in the hole.’

Unfortunately, Billboard charts wouldn’t exactly boast the same…

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Music

What Makes An Artist Iconic?

Today’s musical audience bestows artists with the “Icon” title well before their work warrants such an honor. The notion of being “iconic” has become as watered down as an artist christening new music as “organic.” Some assert that the time is gone where true icons are born and the new generation will fail to produce global icons such as Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, or Prince. After the jump we will breakdown what we feel it takes to be a true “Icon” in today’s musical landscape.

Below awaits That Grape Juice’s four T’s of being an Icon.

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The Way Forward: Major Label Machine or Indie?

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In 2016, being an “Indie Artist” carries a different weight than in previous years. With albums becoming more DIY than ever before, we are seeing more talent pave their way to success without the backing of a major label. Has the once sought after “record deal” lost its vigor? That Grape Juice weighs up below…

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Music

Longevity: Does Your Favorite Artist Have It?

TGJ’s Lee Assesses A Cross-Section Of The Pop Pack

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The music scene is continuously flooded with new talent, few of which manage to stand the test of time. After the jump, we break down a few artists who we expect to see for the next 15 years and some who may be on their on their final 15… minutes.  (more…)

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Music

Is Chris Brown Doing…Too Much?

TGJ Weigh-Up Current Stage Of Star’s Career

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In a climate dominated by Adele, Chris Brown‘s recent release ‘Royalty’ was hailed a triumph after debuting at #3 on the Billboard 200 with sales of 164,000.

Considering this was a feat achieved with no hit single in sight, the project’s firm holding within the upper region of the US Top 20 is as impressive as it is surprising.  

Suffice to say, it’s clear that the Virginia native has a loyal fanbase, who are willing, ready, and able to make their presence felt at retail. 

However, a glance at the broader scope of Brown’s commercial standing, highlights why it’s arguably in his best interest to not revel in the momentary momentum but to instead remould his approach. 

Follow us as we lay out why after the jump…

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Product Vs. Promotion: Ariana Grande’s ‘Focus’

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Once America’s sweetheart, some will argue it was Ariana Grande‘s sweet tooth (see:  donut licking incident) that left a sour taste in music lovers’ mouths.  If so, it’s this very distaste that has seen itself reflected in the chart performance of ‘Focus’ – the official first single from the singer’s third studio effort ‘Moonlight.’

Barely giving time for the heat from her donut disaster to cool, Grande quickly tried to shift the public focus back to her music when she announced the single’s arrival in September 2015.  By October, the horn-heavy tune was blaring from the speakers of her faithful #Arianators, many of whom praised the songstress for the rhythmic bop and the increased intensity of its accompany music video’s choreography.  Outside of the fan group, however, some critics were none-too-impressed and quickly noted the number’s similarity to her last album’s inaugural single – the Iggy Azalea-assisted ‘Problem.’

But, that’s just where the problem began…

 

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Music

That Grape Juice’s 2016 Album Previews: Which Are You Most Buzzed About?

TGJ’s Lee Weighs Up Upcoming LP’s From Artists – Both New & Known

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2015 has brought us countless great albums, and some not so great. Looking forward, there are a few artists who we are expecting to take 2016 by storm and anxiously awaiting their arrivals. Find out who after the jump!

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That Grape Juice’s Top 5: Albums Due This Winter

TGJ’s Lee Weighs Up Releases Heating Up The Holidays

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While some may be busy searching for the perfect gift, the most festive decorations, or the right Christmas tree, several artists are gearing up for their holiday album releases.

There are ample pros and cons to releasing during this time of year and after the jump we will discuss the most effective ways to capitalize on the 2015 holiday season…

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Music

Grammys: 5 Artists With No Awards…Yet

TGJ’s Lee Weighs-Up Notable Snubs Ahead Of Nomination Announcement

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Next Monday sees the nominations for the 2016 Grammy Awards announced!

The coveted honor is deemed as the Holy Grail for singers and performers alike. Garnering 57 years of prestige has not come without its fair share of controversy. While often difficult to find the rationale in the decisions behind who is nominated and ultimately given the award, it is clear that commercial success alone is not always enough.

After the jump, we outline a few of music’s top acts that are yet to obtain the coveted gramophone trophy.

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Music

Music Streaming: A Help or Hindrance?

TGJ Weighs In On Still-Raging Debate

In recent years, streaming has become the new trend in discovering new music.

With the decline in record sales and increase in online/on-demand, it is safe to say that it has been a disruptive entity within the music industry.

And now with streaming impacting chart positions, record “sales,” and RIAA certifications, it raises the question of whether its inclusion is an accurate representation of the public’s perception and reception of the material. Has obtaining a #1 single lost its initial notoriety?

We weigh up after the jump…

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