Kane Brown: Market Manipulations & The Manufacturing of an Organic Star
If you haven’t heard of Kane Brown, you’re about to, whether you like it or not. You can pride yourself in being one of those country music fans impervious to the buzz machine the industry uses to attempt to reel you in. But Kane Brown is coming, and he will be ubiquitous . . . unless his entire career implodes on itself.
Let’s not even broach the subject of Kane Brown’s music for the moment, but rest assured, it’s not what many consider country. Kane Brown cites Cole Swindell and Sam Hunt as similar artists, and he recorded his EP at the studio of Brantley Gilbert’s guitar player Noah Henson. That probably tells you all you need to know about Kane Brown’s sound.
What’s remarkable about Kane is not his music, but his story, and his supposed meteoric rise that has occurred completely organically—if you’re to believe what is being reported.
Kane Brown is an unsigned, totally independent singer for the Chattanooga area, who was completely unknown to the industry up until very recently. Or at least that’s what they’re telling us. However Kane once tried out for American Idol and The X-Factor, and was accepted by The X-Factor as a contestant. What did Kane say he was going to do to celebrate being accepted by the reality show? “I don’t know, probably go clubbin’.” This was way back in September of 2013—over two years ago.
So to say Kane Brown was completely unknown is probably not true, but in the last month is when everything started going crazy for the singer, and for seemingly no reason.
Kane Brown’s EP Closer, which was released back in June, has all of a sudden taken off like wildfire. Where before sales of the album sat around 1,000 units, over a three week span they’ve gone from 4,000, to then 8,100 in sales to the point where this unsigned and unknown artist landed in the Top 40 on the Billboard 200—a virtually unheard of feat for an independent record released nearly six months prior.
But those numbers pale in comparison to what Kane Brown has been doing on iTunes and Facebook. On iTunes, Brown’s EP has been dominating the charts over the last few weeks, regularly cresting at #1 over established mainstream country stars. On Wednesday (10-21)—Kane’s 22nd birthday—he released a new single called “Used To Love You Sober.” Once again, it shot straight to number #1 on iTunes, creating buzz all across the music industry about this new country music internet sensation.
Kane had been garnering most of his attention previously through videos on YouTube and Facebook created with his smartphone. Searching YouTube, many of his videos have over 100,000 views. Once again, pretty impressive for a virtual unknown, but not unheard of, and many of those views have occurred after his recent ascent. It’s his Facebook presence that has become ridiculous. Brown has amassed over 600,000 new followers in just the past couple of weeks, and at the time of this posting, is sitting at 984,158 people. Notice I didn’t say “likes.” His Facebook “like” page sits just under 119K at the time of posting, and hasn’t been updated in months. It’s his personal friend page that people can follow that is getting all the activity. Remember this important distinction, because it could be important later.
So what is really going on with Kane Brown? Why would a guy that had a pretty decent, but not unusually-big following on YouTube and Facebook all of a sudden blow up overnight? The answer is simple: a man named Jay Frank.
Jay Frank owns two companies. One is called DigSin, which is basically a record label but for singles, not records. The second is called DigMark, which is a digital marketing and data strategy company that analyzes data in the marketplace and then uses it to craft strategies of how help launch artists, brands, etc.
But this is not all Jay Frank does. He also is the vice president of Global Streaming Marketing at Universal Music Group—the largest music corporation in the world. Jay Frank is also Kane Brown’s manager.
Now remember, Kane Brown isn’t signed to the Universal Music Group. He’s not signed to any record label at the moment, though that will change very shortly, and is all part of the master plan. As Brown said in a recent interview with the Times Free Press in Chattanooga, “I’ve had offers already, but I want to go to No. 1 and make them come to me. I want to be the next Luke Bryan.”
So what sparked off all of this incredible buzz that took Kane Brown from an unknown singer with a few popular YouTube videos and a struggling EP to the very top of the country music industry?
It’s a little hard to tell, but according to the Time Free Press and a few other notable and knowledgeable sources, it was when Kane Brown got included in a streaming playlist curated by a company called Digster—not to be confused with the companies owned by Jay Frank: DigSin and DigMark. When Kane Brown received over 500,000 plays through Digster, that is when everything began to go crazy in his career.
What is Digster? Digster puts together music playlists using the format of digital streaming services like Spotify, or the European streaming service Deezer, so that fans have a curated listening experience instead of trying to choose from millions of songs. Digster doesn’t own the music, it simply offers playlist suggestions on streaming formats.
For example, Digster might put together a playlist of the hottest Bro-Country songs from popular names like Florida Georgia Line, Sam Hunt, and Luke Bryan, and then include a song from someone like Kane Brown. Nobody is purposely seeking out Kane Brown’s music and running up a bunch of plays; they’re just listening to a playlist. But nonetheless, that Kane Brown song is receiving scores of spins, driving his metadata numbers through the roof, getting the attention of the industry, and creating new fans.
But what is Digster’s incentive? How does it make money, and who owns it? The answer is the key to understanding how Kane Brown came out of nowhere.
Digster is owned by the Universal Music Group.
The vice president of Global Streaming Marketing at Universal Music Group is Jay Frank.
Jay Frank is the manager of Kane Brown.
And who picks and curates the playlists assembled by Digster? “All of the content is chosen by UMGD [Universal Music Group Digital] employees,” says Universal.
That’s all you really need to know. This is how Kane Brown came to power—not an unstimulated organic phenomenon founded on Facebook and YouTube.
Nobody is saying that anything illegal happened here. But clearly what happened was Kane Brown’s manager used his position at UMG to put Kane on these Digster playlists to launch him as an internet sensation. Of course we can’t prove that, because in the digital world, there’s little to no transparency like there is in radio and other formats. This also brings up the question of how ethical it is that Universal Music Group is able to drive plays for artists through a third party streaming entity. It’s similar to a record company directly dictating the playlist of a radio station. Once again, the lines between labels and independent media outlet continue to blur.
Meanwhile, what about all of those Facebook followers? We’ve know for years about how easy it is for music artists, or anyone to buy likes or followers on Facebook. That may or may not be the case with Kane Brown, but it is interesting to see that his Facebook followers are nearing 1 million (and will surpass that shortly), but he only has 28,500 Twitter followers. It’s not unusual to see wild discrepancies between Facebook and Twitter presence, but when the numbers are so distant—in this case Kane has less than 3% of the amount of Twitter followers to Facebook followers—it can be an indication that something is going on that is not as “organic” as it is being sold as.
When asked by the Times Free Press about his astronomical numbers, Kane’s response was, “A lot of the people in Nashville think the numbers are fake, but they can’t prove it. They’ve never had a Justin Bieber in country music, so they don’t know how to deal with it.”
This seems like a strange way to answer this concern. Instead of flatly denying that the numbers might be manipulated, or explaining how it all came together organically, Brown just points out nobody can “prove” they’re fake. He also alludes to something very real, which is on Music Row in Nashville, many are looking at Kane’s chart and social network performance with a hairy eyeball. Is this guy really garnering this amazing amount of buzz after sitting on a stalled out EP for five months and releasing a few smartphone videos, or is a manager who owns a company that specializes in finding advantages in a digitally-dominated marketplace and has a prominent position at Universal creating something from nothing, or from very little?
At this point, it may not matter. Kane Brown has been launched, and however we got here will probably be rendered irrelevant in the minds of the public soon, just like the unsubstantiated rumors of Taylor Swift’s team buying 250,000 copies of her debut album to manipulate sales number to create buzz and launch her career.
But if it isn’t market manipulation behind Kane Brown’s ascent, what is it?
“He’s doing well on social media, and he keeps in touch with his fans,” explains Kane Brown friend and local club owner Jim Striker to the Times Free Press. “He tries to answer every comment, only now he’s getting 100,000 comments. He can’t keep up. He’ll try though.”
That brings us to the strange situation surrounding the crowdfunding of Kane Brown’s debut EP.
When I did a simple search for Kane Brown, I pulled up the page for a GoFundMe campaign started on July 31st, 2014. It looks like a normal, standard GoFundMe campaign with tiered incentives to donate and everything, and it came to a total of $5,096. It appears Kane was gunning for $10,000, but on GoFundMe, you don’t have to reach your goal to get the funds, and $5,096 is probably good enough to at least get started on an EP, right? So there you go.
But then I noticed that people are still donating on the GoFundMe page as the buzz factor continues for Kane, even though his EP has already been recorded, manufactured, and was released in June of 2015. It seemed a little strange people would still be donating, but hypothetically they will still get their incentives, so no harm, no foul I guess.
But then while continuing my search for info on Kane Brown, I found out that four months after he started his GoFundMe campaign for his EP, he started a Kickstarter campaign. November 26th, 2014 is when the second crowdfunding campaign began. There’s no official rules against double dipping by launching two separate crowdfunding campaigns for the same EP, but it definitely seems in strange form, and somewhat misleading. According to the Kickstarter page, Kane raised $5,633 from 144 backers—$633 over the goal of $5,000 in the successful campaign. So now he’s hypothetically got over $10,000 to make his EP. The Kickstarter campaign ended on December 26th, 2014.
Then I started looking through the comments on the Kickstarter, and that’s when things got even more strange. On Kickstarter, there are dates the administrator sets to when people will be receiving their incentives. Kane Brown was giving away T-Shirts, hoodies, and copies of the EP as part of the campaign. For some of the items, the date set when people would receive their goodies was Dec. of 2014. For others it was Jan. 2014, or Feb. 2014, but February was the latest the EP’s were supposed to go out. However the promised dates came and went, and nobody received their items. Nor were there any updates on the campaign, or any info on how to request sizes for the T-shirts and hoodies.
Here’s a sample of the comments in consecutive order:
So even though everyone was supposed to receive their merch by February, and some as early December, it is now late March, and not only have none of the 144 backers received their stuff, there’s been no update from Kane Brown. And remember, we’re being told that the reason Kane Brown’s music has blown up so fast is because he’s been such a great communicator with his fans. And also remember, Kane has already launched a successful GoFundMe campaign months before all of this, so he’s had a head start to manufacture the merch incentives.
It’s not unusual for incentives to take a little longer than advertised to get to backers of a crowdfunding campaign, but then the waiting game stretched into April.
Then finally an update from Kane Brown on April 21st.
Finally on May 18th, Kane says that the release date for the EP will be June 2nd, and that contributors will receive their promised merch, some six months after it was originally promised. But even then, some people continued to complain that they didn’t receive their incentives.
The comments stop there, so it’s likely some, if not many of the donators finally did receive their merch, but it’s hard to tell. Saving Country Music attempted to contact Kickstarter to find out if any formal complaints had been levied against Kane Brown, but instead was directed to the company’s Trust & Safety page, which reads, “When you back a project, you’re trusting the creator to do a good job, so if you don’t know them personally or by reputation, do a little research first. Kickstarter doesn’t evaluate a project’s claims, resolve disputes, or offer refunds backers decide what’s worth funding and what’s not.”
– – – – – – – – – –
Again, nobody is saying that anything that has been done by Kane Brown, his manager Jay Frank, any of Franks’s affiliated companies, or Universal Music Group is illegal. But the idea that Kane Brown’s rapid ascent is organic at least deserves an incredible amount of caveats. Brown is working well within the industry borders, and his wild overnight success is a well-orchestrated market manipulation by savvy individuals to launch a music franchise.
Hey, hat’s off to Kane Brown and his team if they’re success, but Kane Brown’s talents and an organic phenomenon are not to blame.
October 22, 2015 @ 11:17 am
Man he just looks obnoxious.
“I wanna be the next Luke Bryan” Translation: “I have no self-respect or morals and am perfectly willing to corrupt young minds in pursuit of the almighty dollar.”
“I wanna go number 1 and have them come to me” Translation: “I’m an entitled brat who doesn’t want to play by the rules.”
“Kane Brown considers Cole Swindell and Sam Hunt similar artists.” So they’re three shits from the same toilet, eh?
Also I love Jerrod Niemann’s newest offering “Blue Bandana.”
October 22, 2015 @ 11:32 am
“They”™ve never had a Justin Bieber in country music, so they don”™t know how to deal with it.” Translation: “I’m a sensational badass so ya’ll get ready.”
Quite the contrived rise to popularity. It’ll be interesting to see how it progresses
October 22, 2015 @ 11:34 am
never mind that Justin Bieber was lampooned in nearly every aspect of our culture and has pretty well fallen off the map. What kind of clown wants to model their career after him?
October 22, 2015 @ 12:02 pm
“What Do You Mean” Off the map? He has the #1 song in pop music this week and already topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart. After having a Top 10 Billboard Hot 100 Single (and Top 5 pop chart) hit with a DJ in pop music this summer, the guy’s current single “What Do You Mean” is already Platinum (in less than 2 months) and the song before it “Where Are U Now” is double platinum.
Clearly you don’t know what you speak of there.
As far as modeling a career after Bieber? Doubt Kane Brown is doing that except as the ‘viral artist’ who breaks out ‘independently’ before labels and management take over. Bieber did that with Scooter Braun and Usher before signing a label deal. Brown’s work with Jay Frank is similar in that regard. Musically he’s got an interesting voice and we’ll see how his songwriting holds up.
October 22, 2015 @ 12:24 pm
Thank you. I assumed since I hadn’t heard anything in the news of any kind about him that he was pretty well washed up.
Guess I was wrong.
I made a similar mistake concerning the Jonas Brothers not too long ago.
Six String Richie
October 22, 2015 @ 5:03 pm
I think we need to wait and see how his album sells and how he does on the road. Yes, he garnered attention with his comeback single. But that was bound to happen. When he drops a CD and is asking people to shell out $15 for it, will America respond? Or when he tours and charges $45-$250 per seat will he be able to fill an arena?
I think much of his original fan base from circa 2011 has moved on to new artists. Will he be able to bring them back and/or earn new fans?
September 15, 2017 @ 3:47 am
looks like just another gang-banger with prison tattoos. will he be putting out a country rap cd?
October 22, 2015 @ 11:18 am
What an ugly mess…
October 22, 2015 @ 12:28 pm
It really is OK. I realize not everyone has an interest in general music culture or knows the charts or success. I found most of that stuff because I heard the songs and saw Billboard’s chart this week and used google for the certification notes, etc.
Maybe Bieber finally learned to not do stuff that will get you in tabloids and is instead focused on his music for once.
October 22, 2015 @ 1:15 pm
oops, my post below was meant for here:
It really is OK. I realize not everyone has an interest in general music culture or knows the charts or success. I found most of that stuff because I heard the songs and saw Billboard”™s chart this week and used google for the certification notes, etc.
Maybe Bieber finally learned to not do stuff that will get you in tabloids and is instead focused on his music for once.
October 22, 2015 @ 11:21 am
just what we needed….another moron ruining country..
October 22, 2015 @ 3:33 pm
I was just thinking-why do they have to keep picking on country for their get-rich-quick plans? Is it because it’s become so clear that “country” music has become an easy target?
October 22, 2015 @ 4:39 pm
“……..country” music has become an easy target …”
BINGO , Melanie . It IS an easy target . There are no gatekeepers at labels or radio , 80% of all the songwriters that WERE there have left town so the writing thing is up for grabs by anyone from any genre and the number of label reps has been cut back dramatically .
October 22, 2015 @ 11:24 am
I surprised SiriusXM’s The Highway hasn’t shoved this guy down our throat yet. They are usually all over this kind of stuff.
Six String Richie
October 22, 2015 @ 5:05 pm
Don’t worry, in six months The Highway will be bragging about how they played him first after Clear Channel puts him “On The Verge.”
October 22, 2015 @ 5:21 pm
I wish that stupid “on the verge” thing would support Sturgill Simpson or Mo Pitney or William Michael Morgan.
October 22, 2015 @ 11:24 am
Huh. Heard “Used to Love You Sober” or whatever it is on The Bobby Bones show (I know, I know. My co-workers insist on torturing me so I cant help it) this morning. Somehow I knew I’d be seeing something about it on SCM sometime soon. 🙂
October 22, 2015 @ 11:35 am
There was a huge social network push to get Bobby Bones to play the new single on his show. It’s all part of the master plan. This story is far from over.
October 22, 2015 @ 11:29 am
Well, Roughstock fell for Kane Brown hook, line and sinker.
On October 19, the website published “The Rise of Kane Brown, Independent Country Sensation” — all the glowing statistics are there, but none of the deeper analysis you’ve done to show how the stats were manipulated.
October 22, 2015 @ 12:18 pm
I wrote the story about Kane Brown because, well, it is true. Whether one is skeptical about the nature of that success or not. He’s still not signed to anything or anyone but Jay Frank (and beyond digital marketing it isn’t a given despite Kane stating it as a fact that Jay’s his “Manager”).
It’s an interesting story and Trigger did do a good amount of digging and connecting the dots to present the possibility of what happened here. Don’t think that just because he connected the dots that it appears anymore than what was laid out here.
I simply saw the raw chart stats and looked to his local paper story and pulled together my own story based on that. I do know Jay personally so maybe I should’ve asked him about Kane but honestly, I didn’t think anything of Jay’s connection beyond the possibility that he did help ‘grease the skids.’
A ton of ‘independent’ artists have done well over the years and isn’t the goal to attain attention? Therefore, if Jay Frank is being employed as a marketing partner, why would it matter if he was able to help Kane Brown gain that attention. Fans still have to like the songs enough to buy the music, even if a majority of the people who comment here dislike it or the direction (or lack of ) that “country music” is heading these days.
October 22, 2015 @ 12:46 pm
There are aspects of the apparently meteoric rise of Kane Brown that clearly should be questioned, as they are in this post.
Articles on Roughstock rarely have anything negative or questioning in regards to the country artists, songs and albums that are featured (though you didn’t have a problem a month or so ago posting a diatribe bashing people who criticize the current state of country music).
Hey, you have to earn a living, and if reporting on only positive aspects of Nashville is what you have to do because it helps with the record labels, then go for it. I’m just glad there are other websites that aren’t afraid to offer constructive criticism and dig deeper when necessary.
October 22, 2015 @ 12:52 pm
A diatribe? I wrote an editorial that correlated the economy to what people want to listen to (escapist material in bad times or perceived bad times, more serious stuff in good times or perceived good times).
October 22, 2015 @ 9:18 pm
Dude, please inform me as to why you would not only waste your time writing about a talentless hackjob like this Kane guy, but also give him a great amount of publicity so he can become famous? We do not need another Cole Swindell or Luke Bryan…there is enough talentless douchebags on country radio as it is, and the few that have talent are wasting it away by bending over for corporate nashville music execs. Great talent (for i.e. – Eric Paslay, Zac Brown Band, Brett Eldredge, etc) has been brainwashed this year by the Metro-Bro trend, quite possibly the worst trend ever in country music ; i don’t think all the great artists that put out some damn good music, or even DECENT music, will return to what they used to be doing. You get quite alot of views on your website, so why are you not writing articles like Trigger does being critical of these hackjobs like this Kane guy? You do realize that if more country music websites such as yours started putting out material using constructive criticism against crappy artists and the Metro-Bro trend, that maybe we could get a LITTLE bit of depth put back into country…? Or perhaps even have some country elements such as steel guitar and fiddle incorporated back into the music? Come on man, not everyone wants to hear the garbage thats on radio, a big majority of the population might but you have to consider there are ALOT of people such as myself that only listen to country radio because its convenient, and many people (such as myself) do not have the time or interest in digging into searching for underground/independent artists to hear real country music. I enjoy some of the music on country radio, but alot of it is garbage and since im pretty much forced to listen to it (and so are many others) we just want some more depth to the music and lyrics, and not have morons with no talent making shit that they think is music.
October 22, 2015 @ 1:16 pm
“Fans still have to like the songs enough to buy the music”
What a load of garbage, Matt. It’s not so much liking the song as it is repeatedly beating it into your heads until it becomes familiar to you.
October 22, 2015 @ 1:43 pm
Nobody buys a song if it is just overplayed.
October 22, 2015 @ 2:55 pm
It’s just not true, MH. Nearly all people buy stuff cause they like it. They may have “learned” to like something because of repetitive listens but to blatantly state people only but things they’ve been forced just is completely untrue. If it were the case, why isn’t every radio hit gold or platinum?
October 22, 2015 @ 4:33 pm
” They may have “learned” to like something because of repetitive listens…..”
Exactly . But isn’t that really another way of saying that they are ‘forcing’ people to accept it and ultimately pay for it ? Everything is about exposure . Most pop music in these times is not very good in terms of the songs . Its mostly sonic style and ” hip-ness ” over any real substance lyrically or melodically . More and more its a case of playing the stuff at someone enough times that they first become familiar with it , then they accept it as part of the musical wallpaper most of it is , then they see it as hip and spend a few bucks for it . It doesn’t make the music any better because people will pay for it . They’ve basically been brainwashed into paying for something they likely never would have paid for if they hadn’t had it forced into their heads.
October 22, 2015 @ 4:38 pm
More pop music actually has strong lyrics and melodies. As with anything, it’s subjective.
October 22, 2015 @ 1:30 pm
For the record, I saw nothing wrong with Roughstock’s reporting on this, or the Times Free Press in Chattanooga. This is a brand new, developing story that is just starting to unfold. I was doing research to write a review of Kane’s new single, saw some stuff that I thought was interesting, and wrote a story about it. Even now I think we’re just starting to see the tip of the iceberg of this story.
October 22, 2015 @ 2:58 pm
Thanks, Trigger. It is an interesting story nobody was covering and it’s done well on Roughstock because of that. Likewise your story, I suspect, is too.
October 22, 2015 @ 11:33 am
Thanks for explaining this. I came upon his name a couple of weeks back when I was checking how Jason Boland’s new CD was doing on the iTunes chart. His EP was #2 on the chart that day. I had never heard of him so I did a quick Google search of his name and came up with very little. Glad to finally have some explanation about him.
October 22, 2015 @ 11:34 am
He was at number 2 because his music is crap
October 22, 2015 @ 11:39 am
I do not listen to Kane Brown
Kane Brown’s music makes me frown
I will not listen with a box
I will not listen in a fox
He is not Country this I know
Away his music needs to go
Go away Kane Brown I say
Don’t come back another day
October 22, 2015 @ 4:45 pm
“I do not listen to Kane Brown
Kane Brown”™s music makes me frown
I will not listen with a box
I will not listen in a fox
He is not Country this I know
Away his music needs to go
Go away Kane Brown I say
Don”™t come back another day ”
Fess up Fuzzy ….you stole that whole lyric from a Sam Hunt album cut …..right ??
October 22, 2015 @ 7:46 pm
No. There was a similar thing ABOUT Sam Hunt on taste of country.
October 22, 2015 @ 11:44 am
Think it was “love you sober” but I caught the views on someone sharing it on Facebook but was over ten million. Showed one of the writers as josh hoge. I didn’t do the research on Kane other than hearing snippets of the songs. Deeper voice. Anyways assumed he was a manufactured star since josh is one of the two guys who run the whiskey jam at winners on Monday nights in Nashville. Writers, producers, and even signed artists will show up every week to either watch or play. It’s right by Vanderbilt and Belmont so all of the college aged kids show up. They’ve expanded to some shows in Chicago (at joes bar) and seen a few other venues. This isn’t limited to just country but has a lot of up and coming stars. Up until a month ago I hadn’t heard of him or never recognized his name. This may also have something to do with it.
October 22, 2015 @ 12:17 pm
This guy reads like a musical version of Johnny Manziel.
October 22, 2015 @ 1:17 pm
October 24, 2015 @ 4:07 am
You win this thread!!! I have always said Johnny Idiot Face Manziel probably has Florida Geoegia Line on his device in the locker room
October 22, 2015 @ 12:19 pm
I guess anyone can have a career in country now. The only requirement is being a douche.
October 22, 2015 @ 12:30 pm
You call a guy a “douche” because you don’t like their direction of music? That seems a bit harsh to me.
October 22, 2015 @ 12:41 pm
I called him a douche because he’s a douche. Even if his music was great, he’d still be a douche.
October 22, 2015 @ 12:46 pm
I still don’t get how you can call him that based on one interview (he definitely hasn’t had media training)?
He may very well be an unlikable guy. But he seems genuinely exctied that he’s connecting with people. He’s young.
Just think to call someone that without much real evidence seems premature (check out the covers he’s doing lately, it’s mostly traditional-leaning stuff not ‘bro’).
October 22, 2015 @ 1:18 pm
His responses to the questions in the newspaper article reek of douchery.
October 22, 2015 @ 4:22 pm
Douche or nah, he’s still a faggot.
October 22, 2015 @ 4:30 pm
Jim bob, really? that feels like the trolliest of troll posts and downright rude.
October 22, 2015 @ 6:32 pm
Eh, at least I’m not the faggot writing reviews kissing this wigger’s ass. I can live with that.
October 23, 2015 @ 6:51 am
At least we all know you’re a cold, racist bigot of a person, Jim Bob.
October 24, 2015 @ 3:54 am
Matt B, quit blowing yourself for seemingly taking the high road. Promoting this disgusting trashy mess as a country star is like Paul Prudhomme turning his back on Cajun cuisine so he can focus on cooking bush meat and plumpy nut. Get back on your NordicTrack…
October 24, 2015 @ 5:52 pm
Most SCM commenters are fundsmentally decent people. It is the small minority of worthless scum like Jim Bob that give us a bad name.
October 22, 2015 @ 4:48 pm
“I guess anyone can have a career in country now. The only requirement is being a douche. ”
Absolutely ANYONE is right. You need a few $$$ to bang out some tunes using synths and software …you need a small ” fan ” base and a few players to back you up at fairs . Oh and a couple tats and a backward b-ball hat will help sell it to folks who think THAT is a country image. ANYONE can do it if they really want to.
October 22, 2015 @ 12:26 pm
Yuck – I hate stuff like this, especially since he comes off as a punk in interviews. Reminds me of how Kelsea Ballerini is being pushed as this big hit and the sales don’t match the hype no matter how much Taylor Swift tells people to love her.
October 22, 2015 @ 12:56 pm
— This guy was able to reach #2 on the all-genre iTunes chart (and #1 on country), and has yet to get any major mainstream media write-ups…and only this week really started getting write-ups from country sites + chart-oriented websites. From a media perspective, he basically didn’t exist until yesterday.
That’s hype not matching the sales…the exact opposite of what you wrote.
It’s also the exact opposite of Kelsea Ballerini. Ballerini is someone with a deep-pocketed label, Taylor Swift, and all kinds of mainstream media behind her, and while she has had success at radio, is not a particularly impressive single or album sales performer.
This guy has clearly made a bigger per-capita/per-marketing dollar “connection” than Ballerini, yet he gets nowhere near the attention.
October 22, 2015 @ 1:07 pm
I completely agree with your sentiment. Although calling Kelseas label deep pocket is sort of a stretch. Black river entertainment isn’t a major and she’s still sort of a major indie. Although pegula is a part owner (who has deep pockets). Chris Janson jumped ship for a real major label like that after some success. Would have to add the helping of bobby bones on both cases and his band the raging idiots being signed to the label certainly didn’t hurt either.
October 22, 2015 @ 1:15 pm
There were a lot of tentacles to this story that I wanted to cover, but this article was already getting too long. One of them is how it appears they are purposely avoiding traditional media so that when fans come upon his music, they think they’ve “discovered” him instead of jumping on a bandwagon. This is a way to create loyalty in a fan base because the fans believe they are a part of the success.
October 22, 2015 @ 12:31 pm
This is very interesting Trig and I’m sure is absolutely intergral. But I do want to say that he’s one of many artists that have been attempted at this type of launching into Nashville with such strategies and many do not make it to the next level. So I think the key is what takes him from that point onto the bigger platform so quickly and I think part of it is something a lot of people on here probably won’t want to talk about or realize but girls love his kind of look. He posts all these selfies on social media and the girls go crazy. Thats where all these Facebook friends come from. But I don’t want to deplete the kid of any credit whatsoever so good for him for getting there. I think on some level he can write a song and has a unique voice for his age but I’m gonna wait to judge him on character because he seems pretty arrogant so far. He hit the nail on the head himself, he’s very similar to a country Justin Bieber.
October 22, 2015 @ 1:19 pm
When I was looking through Kane’s social network feeds, it was astronomical the ratio of males vs. females. I would say 95% of social interactions were with females. He totally fits the “troubled bad boy that may be a little dangerous but sings from the heart” type of archetype that make teen girls swoon, and that is what is driving this.
None of us should deny that there is an appeal for Kane in the masses, even before whatever manipulations of the market transpired to get him where he is now. He’s going to be big.
Enjoy Every Sandwich
October 22, 2015 @ 12:38 pm
Sigh. I know this will make me sound like a cranky old fart. But I am a cranky old fart, so it’s nothing more than the truth. Does any male under the age of 40 in this country know what the bill of a baseball cap is for?
October 22, 2015 @ 12:54 pm
I am 37, and yes.
October 22, 2015 @ 2:32 pm
Enjoy Every Sandwich,
I’m 35 and you gotta bend the shit outta the brim!
October 22, 2015 @ 3:10 pm
And point it to the front. Sorry typed that earlier but it didn’t show up.
October 22, 2015 @ 3:17 pm
31 here and, yep. I do.
October 22, 2015 @ 6:43 pm
34 and been a bendin’ my cap brims since I was just a little sprout.
October 22, 2015 @ 7:58 pm
18 and yep.
October 22, 2015 @ 12:55 pm
Guys got a good voice. What I don’t understand is, why is he hiding behind the country facade? 3rd Base broke down the walls long ago! You’ve adopted the look, the head bobbing, the lingo, “Lez do thissss!!!”……it’s ok to make black music son!
October 23, 2015 @ 9:33 pm
His voice is good, too bad he’s wasting it on shitty music and being a dick in interviews.
October 22, 2015 @ 12:57 pm
I would just like to say you are full of crap. I discovered Kane Brown on Facebook at the end of September after a friend shared one of his videos. I have been hooked ever since. I purchased his album on I Tunes immediately, and began sharing his videos on Facebook. I can’t get enough of his music. I knew at that time he was going to be a big star, if his music could just get heard. I followed his Facebook page every day since and have read the comments his fans are posting. They are all sharing his music. I watched some of his early videos and have seen a tremendous growth in his singing abilities. In an obvious answer to why his album and his single are doing so well is that finally he is starting to get the publicity he needed to get his music heard. We have heard it and we like it. We (fans) have been contacting radio stations to try to get them to play his music. We believe in him and want to see him succeed.
I am a 54 year old Nurse, mother, grandmother and wife. I like all kinds of music but have been a long term Country music fan. I had actually gotten away from listening to Country Music for a while and have been listening more to Pop Music. I just recently started listening to Country Music again and Kane Brown has ignited a love for music again. I am so proud to be one of his fans and love that I may have helped in some small way to get him the publicity that he needs. I am eagerly waiting for his new music to be released and will be one of the first to purchase it on I Tunes when it is available.
October 22, 2015 @ 1:23 pm
LOL looks like you fell for it hook, line, & sinker.
You had nothing to do with it but Jay Frank wants you to think that you did.
And 54? Who the hell listens to this garbage at 54?
October 22, 2015 @ 4:45 pm
Lol ha! Yes I did fall for Kane Brown hook, line, and sinker. It was his music that got me hooked but it was after reviewing his history on his Facebook page and his struggle to break into the music world that peaked my interest more. This is a young man not giving up on his dreams because he doesn’t fit into what mainstream thinks he should be.
I don’t care if I had nothing to do with his sudden success. All that really matters is that he is finally starting to have some success.
Yes I am 54 and I know what I like and what I don’t like. One mans garbage is another mans treasure. Just so you know what I like usually ends up at the top of the charts so I obviously have good taste.
Six String Richie
October 22, 2015 @ 5:13 pm
Out of plain curiosity, what is it that drew you into his music? I listened to some of his originals and covers and he just seemed like any high school kid with a guitar that listens to Luke Bryan. What does his music do that you enjoy?
And I mean this as a sincere question. I don’t mean to sound belittling or anything. I also listen to music that others don’t enjoy.
October 22, 2015 @ 7:00 pm
The first song I heard of his was dedicated to a fan that had died of cancer. She had previously requested for him to sing the song and he had been going through his messages late one night and he decided to sing it for her. It was very moving. It was just him and he was a playing a guitar. I liked the simplicity of his beautiful voice without all the hyped up music. I liked the emotional quality of the video. I started watching some of his other videos and enjoyed them. I saw he had an Album on ITunes and when I heard it I was very impressed. To me he sounded like he was already a star. I played his songs over and over. His voice was just very pleasing to listen to. The songs had originality and they were good. I started reviewing his Facebook history and learned quite a bit about him. I couldn’t believe he had not been signed by a Recording Company. I saw his early videos and where he had attempted the XFactor and The Voice and didn’t make it and how he almost gave up singing, but he didn’t. I saw how much he had improved since then and how he had started writing his own songs. Over the last month he has written several new songs that are really quite good and I think could end up at the top of the charts. He just needs the exposure.
After reviewing his history on Facebook I guess you could say I have become emotionally involved in his success. I want him to succeed. Not just because I think he deserves it but because I think he is just as good as others who are topping the charts.
October 23, 2015 @ 5:21 am
” . . . they are purposely avoiding traditional media so that when fans come upon his music, they think they”™ve “discovered” him instead of jumping on a bandwagon”
This, Angelee L. Do you feel manipulated at all?
October 23, 2015 @ 6:59 am
What do you mean “purposely avoiding traditional media”?
It’s quite evident from his facebook page that he is trying to use traditional media. Early on he used XFactor and The Voice. He moved near Nashville. In Feb of this year he stated that his Facebook fans got him his 1st Showcase with the Record Labels in March
He played the Camphouse in Chattanooga on 6/2/15 when his album was released. He gave out free CD’s.
On 6/13/15 He played at the CMA Fest on the BMI stage where Lee Brice came to see him play.
He played at Whiskey Jam on 6/1/15 and on 7/24/15 in Rome Georgia at the Brew House. He also stated he had 3 shows in Texas.
He has approached radio stations to introduce his music.
All of this sounds to me like he has used the traditional media route.
And by the way I don’t feel like I discovered him. I feel like maybe he wasn’t given a chance by the record labels because he didn’t quite fit into their picture of what a country singer should look like. I feel like if people could hear him sing they could make up their own mind on whether he was a good singer.
I don’t feel manipulated at all. I do however feel that I have had to state facts that are easily accessable to anyone that felt like doing their research before making statements that are obviously false.
October 23, 2015 @ 9:45 am
None of those things are traditional media, and citing some of those gigs just underscores that he’s incredibly green, never been out on a real tour or played real gigs, and has a lot of growing to do before he should be bestowed country music superstardom.
October 22, 2015 @ 1:23 pm
Hey, nobody is saying that there isn’t an appeal for Kane’s music, and that he didn’t get his start by posting videos on Facebook and YouTube and getting people to pay attention. But there are hundreds, maybe thousands of musicians who share their music like that. The question is how did he explode virtually overnight? Was it truly an organic situation, or did he have some serious help?
October 23, 2015 @ 12:45 pm
Since I can’t reply to your last comment to me because there was no reply button, I am replying to this comment. I disagree with your comment that those are not examples of traditional media marketing techniques that I listed. Traditional media marketing techniques were the forms of marketing prior to the invention of the internet and social media and included Television, Radio, Recording Studios and the production of CD’s for distribution as well as Live performances. In my list of examples Kane attempted to use Television with XFactor and the Voice. He went to a recording studio and produced a physical CD which he sold and gave away autographed copies. He took his music to Radio Stations to try to get them to play it. He performed Live Shows to market himself and he met with the music industries label producers. In addition to these traditional media marketing techniques, he utilized the now more modern form of marketing which is Social Media and digital recording. With the invention of digital media and being able to download it to your digital device there is no need for a physical CD.
As far as being green and not having lots of experiece with touring, there are a lot of individuals that come onto the music scene with little experiece. That can be taught. Besides who says he is going right into Super Stardom. That may be his goal but it doesn’t mean he is coming in at that level. Just because he made a very impressive entrance into the music industry does not mean he will sustain that level. He just got his foot in the door.
October 24, 2015 @ 4:52 am
“There is no need for a physical CD”
Y’know, unless you want liner notes, or a place to keep his autograph, or the ticket stubs that prove you saw him live.
“He doesn’t fit their image of what a country singer should look like”:
I know he doesn’t fit MY image of what a Country singer looks like
Okay kids, one of these things is not like the others.
October 22, 2015 @ 4:26 pm
Turn on a radio, grandma-that crap sounds like everything else they play. Did you get paid for your comment, or are you just that inexplicably oblivious to the world around you?
October 22, 2015 @ 4:56 pm
Excuse me, but I do listen to the radio. If thats what they are playing on the radio people must like it.
No I didn’t get paid for this comment and no I’m not oblivious to the world around me. I realize there are jerks like you who have nothing but negative things to say about people despite you know nothing about them. I think they call people like you “Bullies”.
October 22, 2015 @ 5:58 pm
I will not excuse you. And please don’t tell me how to live my life. It sickens me.
And how am I a bully for telling you your opinion is bad and you should feel bad, but it’s totally cool for you to tell trigger he’s “full of crap”? Your double-standard does not please me
October 22, 2015 @ 7:50 pm
“If that’s what they are playing on the radio people must like it.”
As a matter of fact the rise of music festivals and independent artists proves that an increasing number of people do NOT like the radio. The radio hits are popular with an increasingly smaller number of listeners, who in turn become the primary market for that material, which in turn promotes “artists” to make more of the same material.
That’s why Country Radio is experiencing a drop in listeners, and a slide in critical reception.
October 22, 2015 @ 7:59 pm
Sorry to tell you but what you hear on the radio is manufactured and paid for. Regardless if some of it is good and some of it is bad. Trigger doesn’t post numbers and costs of being on the radio, or what it takes to actually be on the radio. It may be a lucky break but someone is fronting the money for it, most likely the radio. Some of the best voices in the world are not on the radio- Allison Krauss, Ashley Monroe and countless others. Even if he makes the radio doesn’t mean he is the best, that’s subjective (just like my comment or other peoples favorites). There is a vested interest in him making it now and in the future.
mlst of radio listeners will not search outside of what is on it to learn an artist on their own. It’s picked by a program director and up on above. Many times an “on the verge” of bobby bones and clear channel. Saying if it’s on the radio it’s good is not a quality indicator. I didn’t care for his look much but I personally didn’t mind his voice. There’s a whole lot more info you need if that’s your only argument about radio.
October 23, 2015 @ 5:41 am
I did a little research for you and came up with what I think is a very good explanation. A few days after I discovered Kane Brown I was curious if anyone was talking in the news or elsewhere on Facebook about Kane Brown. I did a general search for Kane Brown and I discovered several Facebook sites had posted links to his videos. One site was Country Music Nation who has over 4 million followers. Another Facebook site was I love Country Music with 1.1 Million followers. They both had copied and posted the information from a website called Countryrebel.com. At that time there was one posting captioned: http://countryrebel.com/blogs/videos/68787843-hes-not-your-typical-country-boy-but-when-he-starts-singing-george-strait-im-floored.
There was a picture of Kane next to George Straight snd a link to Kanes’ video where he sings Check Yes or No.
I became a follower of the 2 Facebook pages and a couple of days later saw another posting. This time a picture of Kane next to Keith Whitley and the Caption read: http://countryrebel.com/blogs/videos/68965251-unlikely-country-singer-delivers-amazing-rendition-of-keith-whitleys-dont-close-your-eyes.
Over the next few weeks there were several more postings and they are as follows: http://countryrebel.com/blogs/videos/69055619-unlikely-country-singer-covers-a-george-strait-classic-and-it-will-blow-you-away
These postings started on Oct 1st. On Oct 8th Kane posted a copy of a posting that appeared on Hitsdailydouble.com. There was a picture of Kane Brown and the title read ‘Brown is the new Black’. The posting talked a little bit about Kane and mentioned the video that Kane uploaded ‘Check Yes or No’ and how the video had gone viral and had upwards of 7 million views already.
I continued to view the activity of Kane’s videos snd noticed that one by one they started having increased viewings into the millions. At one point I believe one of the videos hit 10 million views. His followers were also increasing.
Today I did another search of Kane Brown posts on Facebook and discovered numerous other facebook sites that were posting links to the videos all the way back to the beginning of Oct. There were several different radio station pages posting how much they like Kane Brown with links to his videos and a Page called Rare Country who has 1.5 million followers was posting links to his videos and singing his praises.
During this time Kane seems to be very busy posting new videos and writing and recording new songs. He was meeting with radio stations and according to his posts he was getting interest from several Recording Companies. He’s been setting up a concert for Nov 13th and 14th. Both days sold out within hours of posting. Not sure how big the place is but I read numerous comments where fans were disappointed that they couldn’t get tickets. There were Numerous comments requesting that he come to their State and perform in concert.
During this month Kane has posted several emotional videos and postings professing his thanks to all of his Facebook fans for sharing and getting his name out there.
When you look back at his Facebook postings you can see he had been working at this for a while. He hired his Manager a year ago. He’s performed several live shows and met and had his picture taken with several Country Music Stars like Lee Brice and Jennifer Nettles plus a couple others. He has been making contacts but hadn’t gotten any offers until recently when his Facebook Page blew up.
October 23, 2015 @ 2:54 pm
Again success on radio depends on a number of factors. Things can certainly help to get him success. Ask Matt B there’s almost no chance of him getting on the reporting radio stations without major help from someone like bobby bones (which others have said he got yesterday). Local artists can get on a few stations or spins to get to the outer edge of the charts but it never happens where a true indie with no label will be on it full scale. Traditional route requires radio tours (which requires money from the label) to smooze them in hopes when the single is pitched they remember them. Then also heavy touring usually helps to grow a fan base. It then also takes marketing money for the teams to pitch the single to radio. Professional production of the song is required at perhaps $25,000 a single (instead of $10,000 for an ep/album). None of this guarantees success on radio. One thing we all love on here is the underdog and folks doing it for the love of the music. May not all agree on what we like but a success story is great. Many of them news sights you posted are copy/paste operations. Will steal from other sights. A lot of fans will follow it though and not dig deeper to either this sight, rough stock, or the bunch that have real writers (whether hired or doing it for the love of it). Anyways just explaining some of the segments of the industry/radio.
October 23, 2015 @ 4:43 am
Jim Bob, the first line of your comment is offensive. It’s ageist. Is she a “gramma” because she is 54? I am 50 and I guarantee I am in better shape than you, my young punk friend. My wife is 54 and is probably hotter than any woman that has ever wasted breath on your little snot nosed ass. Just because someone has lived a few years doesn’t make them worthless. Angelee’s taste in music may be questionable here, but suggesting her age is the reason is just offensive. You should make your argument based on facts that matter. Even if your argument is that she has poor taste because, at her age, she has lost touch with good music, then say that without using inflammatory words like grandma. And to note, at 50, I rock out to Rival Sons, Sturgil, Blackberry Smoke, Whiskey Meyers and other cutting edge stuff. Being halfway to 100 has not dulled my interest in new and exciting music. Love, Gramps
October 23, 2015 @ 5:34 am
She is a “gramma” because she said she was a grandmother in her intial post: “I am a 54 year old Nurse, mother, grandmother and wife.” Glad your taste in music is much better than hers Gramps!
October 23, 2015 @ 7:16 am
I didn’t say “gramma,” dumbass. If you’re gonna quote me at least get it right. And it’s not ageist at all-she clearly identified herself that way, so that’s how I referred to her. Go be overly sensitive about stupid shit somewhere else
October 23, 2015 @ 8:04 am
This site is nice because it’s usually filled with intelligent people posting illuminating commentary, not trolling around calling people hurtful names simply because they don’t agree with the view point of another person. Yes, you are correct, she identified herself as a grandmother. She also identified herself as a nurse. You selected the word grandma because you were intending to use it in a negative and hurtful way. If that makes you feel good, that’s great, but it lends nothing to the conversation and is merely lashing out in a juvenile manner. Calling me a “dumbass” because I did not bother to quote your word verbatim is just a further sign of immaturity. I don’t care for this guys music, but I have nothing against another posting their support for him in an intelligent and heartfelt matter. Using the term grandma to belittle her because you don’t like her comment is no more mature than if you had called her fat or bald. Why don’t you just own the fact that you stooped to a low level? Suggesting you called her grandma because she said she was a grandmother makes you look pretty silly. Owning up to the nastiness of the comment would only improve your standing at this point. …and no need to apologize to me, I am a lawyer, successful business owner and well liked in my community. The people that matter don’t think I am a dumbass. An an anonymous post by a clearly nasty immature person doesn’t do much to my standing in the world. Love, Grampy Dummmmasss (as my grandchildren call me).
October 23, 2015 @ 8:48 am
I didn’t call you a dumbass because you failed to quote me verbatim. I called you a dumbass because you tried to quote me and failed. I hope you pay more attention to detail as a lawyer.
And here’s a pro tip: it’s ok to break your post into paragraphs. In fact, that’s preferred.
October 23, 2015 @ 8:25 am
So you can say “any woman that has ever wasted breath on your little snot nosed ass” and “punk”, but he called her a grandma, which she stated she was, and thats wrong? Is Angelee your wife? Come on man, one would expect more from a successful, business owning lawyer with a adnois body, and a smoking hot wife loved by everyone in the community! Let me guess, you drive a jacked up pick-up or corvette as well? You surely love yourself! Damn I hate braggarts…
October 23, 2015 @ 9:33 am
We can disagree about music, but still respect each other as people. Discuss, disagree, and argue, but let’s try to keep it respectful when addressing individuals.
Meant for nobody specifically, and everyone generally.
October 22, 2015 @ 4:42 pm
This post reminds me of the Mikel Knight fiasco a while back, when his 2 followers (or himself) were posting fake posts on here, posing as “fans”. Am I the only one that is sniffing a whiff of that here?
October 22, 2015 @ 4:59 pm
Yeah well you obviously need to sniff again, because I am not a fake fan!
October 22, 2015 @ 6:39 pm
Hi Kane. Why did you log in as Angelee L? Either way, we’re glad to have you here at SCM. Hang around some and you’ll learn about some awesome music.
October 22, 2015 @ 8:02 pm
“I think he is just as good as others who are topping the charts.”
You mean like Jason Aldean, who can’t sing? Or Luke Bryan, who is a creepy dude in lady jeans? or Cole Swindell, who has all the talent of a cashew?
of course Kane Brown has as much talent as those guys. Zero is equal to Zero.
It’s like getting rabies after being bitten by a leopard. It’s just as good as getting rabies after being bitten by a different leopard.
February 15, 2016 @ 5:58 pm
Same way I found him !! A friend shared his video and I was instantly hooked !!! I started sharing and so on and so on. He’s very talented and IS and WILL go far !!! If nobody noticed …. Sony agrees and they signed him !!!
October 22, 2015 @ 1:02 pm
Fascinating piece and great job of connecting the music biz dots, as well as the digital and social media dots.
I guess “paying your dues” is old hat….
October 22, 2015 @ 3:01 pm
That’s the same argument people had for people who were on tv shows. Shouldn’t these routes be considered paying dues too?
October 22, 2015 @ 3:40 pm
I wouldn’t call posting YouTube videos paying dues, I would call it leapfrogging people who have been working hard playing 150+ shows a year for sometimes over a decade.
A Texas artist I won’t name (now signed to a major label, and whose output has since taken a big time hit in quality) said it best a few years ago on his Facebook or Twitter regarding the singing competition shows. He put the hashtag #doityourself after his comment, and that is what I remember. This guy’s road to his major label deal was slow and involved lots of shows for lots of years where no one knew who he was. So as much as I might decry his newest music (his most popular yet), I will always respect the decade long path he took to get there. It’s the sort of personal investment and sacrifice that isn’t made by posting YouTube videos or winning TV shows.
As another case, Aaron Watson was “discovered” by many many people 7 studio albums and 15+ years into his career. That is paying your dues. Becoming an internet sensation is not. These sorts of stories are the marks of true organic stars, not millions of shares on Facebook overnight.
October 22, 2015 @ 4:10 pm
“Well, you can’t make a record if you ain’t got nothing to say
You can’t make a record if you ain’t got nothing to say
You can’t play music if you don’t know nothing to play”
Oh Willie, how times have changed. What kind of depth can these people have in their songs when they haven’t even lived yet? No wonder all they can do is “party on the tailgate” stuff. There’s a time and place for that too, but when that’s all there is, because that’s all they know, especially when it comes to anything related to the traditions of country music, well, it’s just a shame. I swear, I think KISS had more depth to their songs.
Can anyone imagine any of these people doing a concept album, especially one based on a western epic? Willie Nelson didn’t have to be a cowboy himself, nor live in the Old West, to come up with that. Neither did the Highwaymen (since someone mentioned them in a comment, they’re on my mind now) have to be sailors, astronauts, highway robbbers, or blue collar laborers to write a song in which they were completely able to relate to those roles and make us relate to them and really feel how it might have been to be in their skins. It’s one thing to sing what you know, it’s another thing when it seems that all you know is getting drunk in the cornfield, getting into someone’s pants, and partying.
Glen Campbell made a good song about something as commonplace as being a housewife (that’s not an insult to housewives, I’m a housewife). Imagine, making a really decent song about just being a housewife-and he was a man! And did a fine job of “being in her skin”. He made a good song about being a lineman for the power company. Those songs will be around long after everyone’s forgotten these interchangeable lyrics about drinking beer around the fire watching all the girls “shake it”.
All the story songs, like “Ode To Billy Joe”, where are they?
October 22, 2015 @ 4:42 pm
James, there are multiple routes to mainstream success. The argument that one must “pay dues” through hard touring is an old, tired one. It really is only just one route and doesn’t suggest success any more than other routes do.
And those guys you mention would say the same thing. their route has worked for them. Guys like them don’t “need” mainstream success but still want it.
October 22, 2015 @ 5:26 pm
My post was in response to your question, “shouldn’t these routes be considered paying dues too?”. I pointed out that no, there really is no relation simply because with these methods there are far fewer personal, financial, and other sacrifices involved.
I think it’s pretty clear that the hard touring route would be quite an abnormal route to mainstream success today.
October 22, 2015 @ 1:39 pm
I love how in depth you get with this kind of stuff. If you ever wrote a book on how the Nashville music machine works and stuff like that I would read it.
October 22, 2015 @ 1:49 pm
I just listened to Closer while reading the YouTube comments of how hot he is and what a good body he has. Okayyyyy, If they say so. Not my type , but to each her own. I think there must be hoards of middle aged men posing as young girls online trying to jumpstart the bandwagon of these Luke wannabes with their over zealous social media comments. Seriously, they can’t be for real.
October 23, 2015 @ 5:30 am
Oh brother. Good thing George Jones didn’t have to make it on how “hot” his body was! I don’t think that the likes of George Jones or Merle Haggard would stand a chance in country music these days, and their voices and songs were the epitome of how country was supposed to sound! Poor old Jimmy Rodgers, the father of country music-he wouldn’t pass muster these days, nor Hank Sr, nor so many others. (Though I have heard that the women were all wild about Lefty Frizell and his curly hair, and used to rip the fringe off his clothes, etc, like he was a country Elvis, lol).
October 22, 2015 @ 2:17 pm
Looking at him looks like he is a badass and he looks like he is a rapper not a country singer. country music is on its deathbed. wow! We need some help here.
October 22, 2015 @ 2:19 pm
Is it a rule all male “country” stars must have soap opera names? “Kane, Luke, Chase, Cole…” The next one of these will be called Brock or Steele.
Six String Richie
October 22, 2015 @ 5:16 pm
They also usually have a last name that could be a first name. And they always have English surnames. You never hear country artists with distinct Polish or German or Greek surnames, always English. Well, I guess there’s Ballerini… And a while back there was Trevino and Malo.
October 22, 2015 @ 6:49 pm
That’s because Southerners, especially rural Southerners, are overwhelmingly of British ancestry. The South is the only region of the country that did not receive a significant number of immigrants during the waves of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
October 22, 2015 @ 8:55 pm
Not to mention that the name we know them as aren’t their given names in many cases.
Toby Keith KOVEL
Jason Aldine WILLIAMS
Tim SMITH (goes by McGraw after meeting birth father as teenager not sure what his legal name is).
Six String Richie
October 23, 2015 @ 3:47 pm
That’s true. Most of the none-UK European nationalities (German, Italian, Polish, Greek, Swedish, etc.) arrived after the Civil War and there wasn’t much reason to move to the South since the economy there was quite crappy after the war.
But New Orleans did grab plenty of immigrants from all over Europe. It had major waves of Italian and German immigration (and of course Fench) and was one of the only U.S. cities to at the time to draw in Maltese immigrants. Unfortunately, many of these more diverse groups of people faced persecution and thus tried to hide their national roots.
But I digress.
October 23, 2015 @ 5:38 pm
True. The major exceptions were New Orleans, which was a highly diverse immigrant hub, as well as Texas, which received large numbers of German and Czech immigrants in its early years in the mid-19th century.
October 23, 2015 @ 5:49 pm
One important thing to note, though, is that even before the Civil War the dominance of the slave economy in the South meant that immigrant labor was not in high demand, thus deterring the large waves of Irish and German immigrants in the 1840s and 1850s from moving there.
January 5, 2016 @ 11:32 am
Funny you say that. My old guitar players name was Steele. 🙂
October 22, 2015 @ 2:21 pm
You would think this guy would’ve saved enough money from his paper route to finance an EP.
October 23, 2015 @ 5:08 am
Or saved money from his job at Jimmy John’s.
October 23, 2015 @ 5:55 am
He can get you tomorrow’s paper TODAY,songs so fast you’ll freak! !Fast & polite!
October 22, 2015 @ 3:16 pm
Kane Brown’s meteoric success out of nowhere reminds me of the hype surrounding Halsey lately: a young woman who built an intensely loyal and passionate following via Tumblr well before she issued her debut single, that has since translated into cult stardom (“New Americana” is struggling to gain traction due to very poor callout and mÃ©diocre sales, but her debut album “Badlands” debuted most impressively with about 100,000 in first week sales).
Or you can even compare this to Sandi Thom a decade ago. She busted onto the scene out of nowhere, and released her debut single “I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair)”. She saturated the media instantaneously with countless interviews and artifical hype after it shot straight to #1 in the United Kingdom………………but it failed to translate to sustainable results as it failed to crossover in a significant way in the United States and album sales flopped everywhere.
Yet, at that time, you almost felt like you were clinically insane in the membrane if you didn’t subsume the Sandi Thom bandwagon and accept she was the next big thing.
Same with Lana Del Rey when she first debuted, at least. If you recall, Lana Del Rey first emerged off of her cult of personality and erratic interviews than her music. “Video Games” was a worldwide hit, but little else caught on as well at that time and her hype was primarily built on the image her label created for her and shock value. To Lana’s credit however, unlike Sandi, she has actually been successful in establishing herself since then over the course of three LPS and one EP.
I suspect Kane Brown will go more the way of Sandi Thom here than Lana Del Rey
October 22, 2015 @ 5:59 pm
Really, who gives a fuck?
October 22, 2015 @ 6:35 pm
I think you just won this thread
October 22, 2015 @ 7:45 pm
Maybe if he didn’t spend so much money on those dumb tattoos he wouldn’t have had to make a kickstarter. Also, he is just exponentially fucky looking.
October 22, 2015 @ 7:59 pm
Yeesh. Having Ricky Skaggs forced on us really doesn’t look so bad now.
October 23, 2015 @ 5:16 am
Really, you say Ricky Skaggs had to be forced on country music fans? OK, everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but that guy was playing and singing country music before he was 6 years old, and his talent even impressed someone like Bill Monroe who wouldn’t have cut him a bit of slack just because of his age, or pedigree, or any other reason than whether or not he had talent, and with someone like Monroe, it had to be loads of talent. I know his background was bluegrass, but even Emmylou Harris said he could do a country shuffle with the best of them. Well, I can only speak for myself, but no one ever had to force Ricky Skaggs on my ears, and he sounded as country (and talented, as country) as country could be, sonically and lyrically.
Is there some back story I don’t know about, something unsavory about the way he broke into mainstream coumtry music? I’m really asking, I never heard of it if there is.
October 23, 2015 @ 5:53 am
I was referring to a comment Trigger made on another post. My comment was more tongue in cheek than anything. I meant absolutely no disrespect to Ricky Skaggs; he has loooooong been one of my favorite artists.
October 23, 2015 @ 6:17 am
Sorry, I didn’t get the sarcasm, I should’ve known better from you 🙂
October 22, 2015 @ 8:06 pm
I can’t understand the appeal either. Is he likely to become the next FGL or Sam Hunt? Probably….Maybe…I guess…. The thing is, his music is nothing groundbreaking. It’s the same old bro-crao that’s been churned out again and again. As much as I dislike these acts, at least FGL and Sam Hunt didn’t really follow a trend. They unfortunately made their own. With this guy, if he does explode it certainly won’t be from offering something different, and that’s what I don’t understand. Granted, I only sampled his EP, so maybe there’s something I’m missing, but these days it’s pretty easy to judge a mainstream book by its cover.
On a side note, good Lord some of his comments would probably make even Chase Rice wince. Holy shit! The next Luke Bryan? We’ve never had a Justin Beiber? Sam Hunt and Cole Swindell? Really?!?
October 26, 2015 @ 8:55 am
I also dislike FGL, Sam Hunt etc… but at least they don’t look like they are selling drugs in their spare time, like this guy looks like he might do!
October 22, 2015 @ 8:14 pm
Look what the cat drug in!!!!
October 22, 2015 @ 10:08 pm
He shoulda done it the old fashioned way – hired a street team.
October 23, 2015 @ 1:02 am
I decided to finally stream five of his originals on YouTube just to see if I saw any appeal behind this hype.
Overall, color me unimpressed. Based off of first impressions, he’s at least better than Sam Hunt, Chase Rice and Cole Swindell. That’s really not saying much at all, at any rate.
“Forgetting is the Hardest Part” was the most listenable of the five I heard. The most insufferable was “Don’t Go City On Me” which played up the usual tribalistic and oversimplistic rural vs. urban balderdash. “It Turns Me On” wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be (it did have some Pat Monahan-esque lyrics though about how her stab at a British accent turns him on, among other things) but played squarely to formula otherwise and has virtually no shelf life. And “Used To Love You Sober” wasn’t horrible by any stretch, but about as boring and predictable as themes and production come these days for power ballads.
Brown’s vocals were flat and unremarkable to my ears as well. I’ve heard worse for sure (Chase Rice, Haley Georgia, RaeLynn, Brantley Gilbert, I’m looking at all of you) but at least this early in this career, I don’t see nor hear anything noteworthy in his vocal style. No real emotional investment, no charisma, no real flavor in his timbre…………just pedestrian overall.
I’ll refrain from allowing a more general opinion of him to crystallize until we actually get a full-length release, and even then I generally wait until after two LPS have been released to go whole hog on summing up entertainers fully. But first impressions do matter, and all I’ve heard is a heaping pile of “Meh, that don’t impress me much!”
October 23, 2015 @ 2:54 am
Kane brown makes me look like George strait
October 23, 2015 @ 6:28 am
I’m surprised you know who that is
October 23, 2015 @ 12:40 pm
I don’t. I just heard he was some guy who makes “country” music.
October 23, 2015 @ 8:51 pm
You make good music Chase Rice.
October 23, 2015 @ 8:42 am
Lord, help us all.
October 23, 2015 @ 9:57 am
This is the direct result of an entire industry that has absolutely no direction, no compass, and no reliable figureheads.
There is nothing remarkable about Kane Brown’s image or his music, but there is nobody to stop him from taking hold of the spotlight in an era when no one has the muscle to keep it from him. Current trends in the industry no longer leave room for music heavy-hitters like in years past.
What country music needs is a bouncer, or maybe even just a benchmark for what good, acceptable country music actually is. Until that happens, Kane Brown and his ilk who are raised and reaped on the internet will continue to crop up with or without success.
Kane Brown and his manager saw an opportunity and have monopolized on it. As painfully unoriginal as the whole charade is, it’s working, and that right there means country music has a problem.
January 5, 2016 @ 11:48 am
One name – Chris Stapleton
October 23, 2015 @ 12:35 pm
Do you all of a sudden have to use “y’all” if you go to Nashville, or in Kane Brown’s case, “yall”–how hard is it to punctuate?
Even Sturgill keeps using “y’all.” What the hell?
October 23, 2015 @ 5:44 pm
This has to be one of my favorite articles I have ever read on this site. Thank you for calling attention to how data is being manipulated to make many of these brands, I mean “stars”, appear far more popular than they actually are. I recently got my degree in Marketing and was shocked at how much importance was placed on social media behavior in developing modern strategies. Marketing students are discouraged from coming up with creative ideas and are instead pushed to be “numbers based” and focus their efforts around data. While this is certainly a useful skill in some respects, the quality of much of this data (such as “likes”) is highly questionable. They are being taught to discard quality for quantity and I believe that that is partly to blame for today’s bland and uninspired world of consumer goods. Many outlets seem too afraid to release anything innovative that does not directly align with what their supposed metrics are telling them. However, in our current environment where many of these metrics may be mere internet puffs of smoke, I fail to see this type of strategy as being sustainable long term. It will be interesting to see in the upcoming years how much all of this social media marketing will have translated into long term success and actual sales. Though unfortunately it appears that as long as the masses continue to like whatever is popular, they will continue to produce the easiest crap with the highest sales and reach possible.
October 23, 2015 @ 6:17 pm
This has the makings of a major con game. And I’ll put money on the possibility that Matt B. And Angie L. Are either paid shills or even Kane Brown and Jay Frank posting under assumed names. Regardless I will give them this. It does take a set of stones big enough to fit in a dump truck to run a shell game like this and get away with it. Don’t get me wrong, this is the equivalent of pissing on Waylon’s grave, but I’ll give credit where it’s due
October 23, 2015 @ 6:23 pm
Matt B is the guy from the website Roughstock that has never met a mainstream country act that he hasn’t just loved so he is probably just hedging his bets that this guy will make it big.
October 24, 2015 @ 4:12 am
This my point is proven. The big record companies usually have their stake in media companies in order to manipulate public opinion on the music they want to sell.
Don Henley completely nailed it with his song Dirty Laundry 31 years ago
October 24, 2015 @ 5:29 pm
Man, Roughstock’s gone downhill. I remember a time that they were pretty good champions of more traditional country, but that WAS a long time ago…
February 22, 2020 @ 1:34 pm
Roughstock hasn’t been good since they fired TenPoundHammer!!!
October 23, 2015 @ 6:19 pm
It doesn’t matter how many YouTube views we haaahhhhve….what matters is our plahhhhhnnnnn!!!
October 23, 2015 @ 9:03 pm
OK! I changed my opinion on him now. I just listened to his music on youtube few minutes ago and he has a very nice voice and he is very sincere and very country. There were more like on his song than dislikes on youtube. Hey everyone listen to the new country sensation Mr. Kane Brown. Right now!
Chris Knight >
October 23, 2015 @ 10:18 pm
fuck roughstock and Matt < Trigger
October 24, 2015 @ 4:10 am
Holy Christ. This song makes Kick The Dust Up sound like He Stopped Loving Her Today!!!
October 24, 2015 @ 7:26 am
I’ve binge read your stories plenty of times and came to this one last night (this definitely has the most passion),cool article, you’ve definitely done some research here. After reading this a couple of times, I wanted to find out more about your motive… so I did some of my own research, there are a few important things here that you left out which makes me believe that this article was based on jealousy (or else you would’ve revealed these) and that you want nothing more than to bash kane and his team. 2 things: Kane is also on Sony’s Filtr’s “country hits” on Spotify. Fans also received their kickstarter and gofundme merch the week of June 2.
Looking forward to not reading anything else you write.
October 24, 2015 @ 11:21 am
Oh please. This whole “Used to love this site, not reading any more” card has been played on me I don’t know how many times. I’m not running a popularity contest. If you don’t like my site, don’t read. But it’s not going to discourage me from following my nose, and it will never change the facts. The fact that he’s on a Sony Spotify playlist only strengthens the idea that this is all derived from market manipulations. And I never said that his Kickstarter backers did not receive their merch. I said they received it half a year after it was promised, pointed out that a couple of people said they still didn’t receive it AFTER June 2nd, and that for all the talk of how he is such a great communicator with his fans, his lack of communication was the KickStarter concern.
As I’ve said before, this story is just getting started. This was already a very long article. More will be revealed soon.
October 24, 2015 @ 12:53 pm
Hahaha this post cracks me up . You don’t know me man , talk all you want but I have true fans that will stick behind me ! Yes jay frank does digital things but not for me I do my own social media and got my self where I’m at today on my own ! Have a good day and keep helping spread my name 🙂 thank u
October 24, 2015 @ 1:28 pm
You look like a young Waylon Jennings, or was it George Jones. Oh well. Either way, its too bad you sound like Kriss Kross. Sweet tats, dude. Your eye gap suggests fetal alcohol syndrome. Don’t OD on your way to the top.
October 26, 2015 @ 11:40 am
The face reminds me of a catfish.
October 24, 2015 @ 4:05 pm
Troooolll! In the dungeon!!!! Troooollll in the dungeon!!!!
October 25, 2015 @ 7:07 am
You want to be the Justin Beiber of country music???
Please hand your man card over. It is permanently revoked
October 25, 2015 @ 8:49 am
Honestly, I thought the “wanna be the next Luke Bryan” thing was the worst, as if the one we have now hasn’t shit on country music more than enough.
October 25, 2015 @ 7:17 am
Is it just me? Or does this guy look like a country music version of that IceJJFish clown on Facebook?
October 25, 2015 @ 3:03 pm
The beginning of his story looks like Maddie & Tae’s. They’ve been promoted like a new find after writing Girl In A Country Song, when the truth is they were already signed to Big Machine and had been recording prior to that. To this day they keep saying this story.
Quotable Country – 10/26/15 Edition | Country California
October 26, 2015 @ 11:47 am
[…] music, so they don’t know how to deal with it. â— — Kane Brown, country’s next not-so-organic […]
November 16, 2015 @ 6:07 am
He looks more like a rapper than a country singer.
Homegrown and Proud of It
December 10, 2015 @ 5:51 pm
Ya know, opinions are like a$$holes. Some are just larger than others. To each his/her own. If you like his music, listen to it. If you don’t like it, turn it off. That simple. ‘Nuff said.
December 13, 2015 @ 2:10 pm
Obvious Troll is obvious.
December 13, 2015 @ 11:12 pm
And look at Kane Brown now…… Hes a signed artist that is climbing to the top and very active with his fans.. Haters gna hate.. #kbsquad
March 24, 2016 @ 10:34 pm
You know he’s gonna bust the charts wide open when ya got all those haters hating, lol time will prove this young man has talent. The boys got heart and an awesome voice. so hate all ya want to it only makes him more loved.
August 27, 2017 @ 1:22 am
Ahhhh… the smell of racism. If this were some poor white boy, no one would bat an eyelid.
August 27, 2017 @ 9:22 am
That’s your counter to the insurmountable evidence that there was a manipulation of the numbers early in Kane Brown’s career to inflate the appeal of his music and help leverage him a major label deal?
I don;t believe in cries of “playing the race cared” because it reduces the issues of racism and whatever is being discussed. But if there was ever an instance where the race card was played to get out of an argument, this would be it.
August 29, 2018 @ 10:43 pm
I CALL BULLSHIT ON THIS WHOLE THING!!! Obviously you guys have not been listening to Kane Brown songs!! Here is a few country songs for you!! If you haven’t heard them look them up on u-tube!! There is Grand daddy’s chair, what’s yours is mine, thunder and the rain, home town, heaven, I used to love you sober !! Forgetting you is the hardest part!! If that’s not country music what is??? He does raps a little but so do many other country music stars!! Do you realize how billboards charts he has broken??? He should win and be Country music awards and also when one!! He has so many country songs I can’t even tell you which 1I would want him to win For song of the year! Sony signed them so they must know what What they are doing!! I can bet that came Brown has More supporters and I does haters!!! #ILOVEKANEBROWN
September 19, 2021 @ 3:54 am
Yaw rednecks racist. Jus mad cuz we be taking over all your stuff. Got your wimmins too!
So long Yt