Derek Thompson at The Atlantic on The Shazam Effect:
Culbertson wanted to check up on SoMo, an R&B singer from Denison, Texas, whom Culbertson had helped sign last year. Culbertson zoomed in on Victoria, Texas, a small city between Corpus Christi and Houston, where one of the radio stations had started playing a SoMo single called “Ride.” Although a town of just 63,000 won’t launch a national hit by itself, Culbertson was using Victoria as a sort of testing ground to determine whether the song would resonate with listeners. “ ’Ride,’ ” he told me, “is the No. 1 tagged song in Victoria.”
Pop music is a sentimental business, and predicting the next big thing has often meant being inside that crowded bar, watching a young band connect with the besotted, swaying throng. But now that new artists are more likely to make a name for themselves on Twitter than in a Nashville club, Culbertson is finding that the chair in front of his computer might be the best seat in the house.
It’s not that I don’t want talented artists to get recognized, but there’s no gestation period anymore. Artists immediately go from underground and undiscovered to Top 10 and played to death, over and over on TV and radio (and Spotify).