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When Music isn’t Enough: The Thrills

November 30, 2008

I am a firm believer that if you have a good enough song, there is nothing in the world that will stop you from reaching a wide audience.

But as I dissect the careers of my all time favourite artists I begin to notice that great music is but one part of the equation. There are a few factors that need to come together for massive success.

Let’s look at two fairly recent, and arguably similar bands. One succeeded, one failed.

The Strokes and The Thrills.

  • Both were/are garage rock bands with quality songs
  • Both have distinctive singers and sounds

Yet while the Strokes enjoyed mainstream commercial and critical success, the Thrills sold little and were dropped in 2007. Ouch.

So my question becomes if both houses are created equal why is one on the ground?

Well this may be obvious to many people; the difference between these two bands is: Timing

The Strokes hit in 2001. Nu-Metal was dying a dishonorable death and many of those young males did not feel they wanted to hang up their balls and support Coldplay. So where did they turn? The Strokes.

Raw, New, Classic, Rock’n’Roll. Hells Yes. The timing was perfect. You could not plan it better.

The Thrills hit in 2003. Garage Rock was just starting to reach a saturation point. We tolerated it for another couple of years but The Thrills were seen as strange imitators, instead of authentic rockers. They were never judged on their music alone because they always compared to the wrong thing.

I think that if The Thrills hit during a different time in human history they would have been big news. Even though they had the music, the world was not ready for what the Thrills were offering. Their Music was not enough.

So Music + Timing + one more element = Massive Success??

Take Control of Your Music,


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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 1, 2008 11:15 am

    I agree, timing is pretty important. After all, sick of hair metal? Listen to Nirvana. I think we all know how that worked out.

  2. December 1, 2008 4:25 pm

    also, “hang up their balls” made me thoroughly laugh.

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