Want to know what the nation's top record executives really think about their biggest stars? Alicia Keys is considered such a marvelous talent that insiders often compare her to Stevie Wonder and Prince.
The Los Angeles Times newspaper recently spoke with 21 of the music industry's biggest movers and shakers and told them they would let them comment anonymously in exchange for their promise of the real dirt on what top music execs think of current stars. Here's a sampling of what they had to say:
Alicia Keys: "She has the talent to make any type of record she wants. She can do a jazz album, a pop album, a Broadway album and make it sound fresh and inspired."
Usher: "He could be the Michael Jackson of this decade," (referring to Jackson's glory years during the 80s.) "He is the quintessential artist for today's pop market. He's got almost no negatives. He's got the talent, the drive, the competitiveness."
Eminem: "I feel his moment has come and gone."
Britney Spears: "Trust me, she's over."
U2: "Time is catching up with them. I'd rather have Coldplay on my roster."
The article also discussed the "Power List", the top 10 acts they thought would be strong for the next five years.
Many of the executives grew up on rock 'n' roll and said they were saddened they couldn't find more room on their best lists for rock artists. Though several groups, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, have generated massive sales totals in recent years, only Coldplay, U2, Linkin Park, Maroon 5 and Green Day made more than three Top 10 lists.
"Rock has really been hurt by the new reality in our world," said one executive. "It's is the most stolen, pirated, whatever you want to say, genre we have now. Whatever you think you could sell with a rock album, you have to cut it by a third."
Great article by Robert Hilburn. Read the full text at L.A. Times. (Registration required.)