"NSYNC is the exception, rather than the rule at this point."
——Tom Calococci, KZZP Phoenix PD
Talking Heads Weigh In On Teenpop Phenomenon…It’s Not Over Yet
Perhaps the reports of teenpop’s death have been exaggerated.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that kids bought more NSYNC discs than Clearasil this week. But amid reports (including ours) that the bloom’s off the teenpop rose, what do the nearly 2 million unit sales of "Celebrity" mean? God forbid we do our own thinking, so we turned to a handful of industry Einsteins for help. The consensus? There is none, other than (A) people buy what they like, (B) a hit is a hit and (C) we’re idiots for asking stupid questions.

Jerry Blair, Arista EVP : "People in the industry get caught up in trends, whether it’s teenpop, grunge, Latin, boy bands, whatever. The public will dictate what it wants—not radio, not those of us in the industry. Defining and classifying is what’s absurd—it’s just what people want."

Tom Maffei, Priority Records Sr. VP Promotion: "A hit song is going to be a hit song, regardless of format. But I think NSYNC was smart to give this record more of an Urban lean—they’re growing up. I don’t think this is a blip. They’re evolving. Overall, I think it’s peaked, but if the right record comes along, it’ll still cut through. That’s the bottom line: A compelling hit record will always cut through."

B.J. Lobermann, Virgin Sr. VP Sales: "I don’t think teenpop is dead at all. That audience is moving on, obviously, but you’re still going to have an audience that’s listening for that kind of music and is buying records, and it’s going to be significant—it just may not be as fast and furious as it has been in the past year. We’re not going to know on the basis of one record."

Liz Brooks, BMG Songs VP Creative: "The music won’t change until the kids decide it’s gonna change. Some teenpop acts’ stars are falling, but NSYNC is apparently not one of them; it seems that they have more solid ground to stand on. The point is, teenpop isn’t going to disappear until something comes along to replace it. And if you know what that something is, call me right now."

Jordan Katz, Arista VP Sales : "NSYNC are superstars, and they’re selling like superstars. I don’t think there’s much more to it than that."

Fred Croshal, Maverick GM : "I’m very happy to see an artist or band do these kind of sales numbers given today’s marketplace. I do believe it shows the strength of NSYNC and that they are the dominant force in teen music. I also believe that the next four weeks will tell us a great deal about the sustaining power of what remains in the teen sound."

Bob Bell, Wherehouse Music Senior Buyer: "All of the naysayers predicting the demise of NSYNC have been proved wrong. I think teenpop is a genre where there’s a small handful of superstars and then everybody else. Nobody is having success in breaking new acts in this genre."

Bob Mitchell, MBM Radio Consulting: "The passion for what these groups do is still there, but it has decreased somewhat. But at the same time, the audience has matured. NSYNC, in part, has diversified, which is key to their sales this week. As for ‘the trend,’ we’ll have to see group by group, song by song."

Tom Calococci, KZZP Phoenix PD : "The feedback that we’re getting is that the boy band sound is definitely on the decline. NSYNC is the exception, rather than the rule at this point."

Dan Mason, WAKS Cleveland PD: "I don’t feel boy bands will continue to drive the format like they have in the last couple of years, but I still think Top 40 will always have a place for a pretty face that’s marketable."

Jonathan Daniel, Crush Media Management principal: "There’s no question that people would like it [teenpop] to be gone, so people have been wishing the whole genre dead. But NSYNC and Britney seem to have surpassed whatever they were and outlived the genre in a way a group like New Kids On The Block didn’t manage to."

One major-label product manager: "Both the audience and the artists are growing up. And it’s an audience that’s always looking for something new. To young listeners, six months is a lot more of a lifetime than to you and me. But if it’s a hit song, people are going to buy it, as long as there’s some halfway decent marketing and imaging behind it."

A not-so-subtle reminder to fill out that ballot. (10/15a)
The lives behind live music. (10/14a)
The Grammy chief takes our call. (10/14a)
It will rain again this fall--we guarantee it. (10/13a)
First music in 15 years. (10/14a)
Bring your umbrella.
Mulling possible surprises.
Why not wear a mask indoors?
What drugs will help us get there?

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