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Journal of the
Music & Entertainment Industry Educators Association
Volume 11, Number 1 (2011)

Just How Long Is Your “Fifteen Minutes?”
An Empirical Analysis of Artists’ Time on the Popular Charts

Storm Gloor
University of Colorado Denver

This research was funded in part by a research grant from the Music & Entertainment Industry Educators Association.


    In the late 1960s a line printed in the catalog for an exhibition by art icon Andy Warhol read, “In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”1 The line, in particular the time frame, has been used often in reference to pop culture and the entertainment industry, particularly toward celebrities whose notoriety has been seemingly gained quickly, but is ultimately fleeting.

    For better or worse, the term could be applied to some recording artists and performers in the music industry, particularly in an age of social media, reality television, and viral distribution of attention-grabbing content. It would almost seem that it is increasingly possible for artists to become stars literally overnight. By May of 2010 the low-budget music video by a previously unknown fourteen-year old named Rebecca Black had already been viewed over 127 million times, an astounding number that gained her instant celebrity status despite the debatable quality of her performance. Pundits would likely argue that despite this initial success, however acquired, Ms. Black’s ability to maintain the long-term attention of millions, or even thousands, of consumers might be questionable. Her “fifteen minutes” may be short-lived.

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