Who killed Soul R&B groups? The Artists or the Record Labels?
As far back as we can all remember, groups have always been a dominate force within the Soul R&B culture. Way back with the Supremes, the Temps, the Four Tops in the 60’s, to The Jackson 5 in the 70’s, to Debarge and New Edition in the 80’s. By the time the 90’s and the early part of the new millenium hit, everything seemed to be running smoothly as far as groups go, because groups like Jodeci and Black Street seemed to be holding it down. The new school cats were carrying the torch that the old school soul artists passed to them, but then something happened…they just fell off the face of the earth and never returned to the game…weird. The last time a group was actually relevant in the music industry was when Destiny’s Child released their last album in 2004. I couldn’t imagine old school soul music existing without Earth Wind & Fire, The Ohio Players, The Jones Girls and all the rest of them. ILOSM family, this is why we have some questions to address: Who or what killed Soul R&B groups and why?!!
When I think about this from a financial standpoint my first thoughts are to look at the artists. In the days of deathly low record sales, it makes good business sense for a record label to not want to invest more money on one group just so they can accommodate it’s multiple members. It makes much more financial sense for them to only cut deals where they will be able to keep costs as low as they possibly can to supplement for the dying record sales…so I get their point of view (although I don’t agree with it). This only leaves us with the artists. I can also understand the artists not wanting to have to split the little money they’d be getting, amongst the 4 of them that are in the group. This is probably one reason we don’t see groups in the music industry.
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