March 21, 2000 -- The World As You Know It Is Now Over
The July issue of Wired traces "The Rise and Fall of the Hit
The era of the blockbuster is so over. The niche is now king, and the entertainment industry – from music to movies to TV – will never be the same."
Three pages by Chris Anderson outline the death of the hit.
"On March 21, 2000, Jive Records released No Strings Attached, the much-anticipated second album from NSync. The album debuted strong. It sold 1.1 million copies its first day and 2.4 million in the first week, making it the fastest-selling album ever. It went on to top the charts for eight weeks, moving 10 million copies by the end of the year. The music industry had cracked the commercial code. With NSync, a pop-idol boy band fronted by the charismatic Justin Timberlake, Jive had perfected the elusive formula for making a hit. In retrospect it was so obvious: What worked for the Monkees could now be replicated on an industrial scale. It was all about looks and scripted personalities. The music itself, which was outsourced to a small army of professionals (there are 60 people credited with creating No Strings Attached), hardly mattered."
(The inevitable result, niche marketing is an old concept. And while some predicted the fiscal undoing of an ossified economic power base would likely result from an engine conceived and created in the crucibles of that very same ossified economic power base, who could have foretold it would be called "No Strings"?)