…As his voice rang through the room, accompanied by only a keyboardist–and, at one point, a cappella – dozens of faces lit up with wonder. A singer was giving away music, and a news organization was hosting a concert…
And had you stopped by the fourth floor newsroom on December 2nd, you’d have noticed perhaps an even more unusual scene: 60 reporters, editors, producers, salespeople and technologists gathered in a circle, watching a live performance by David Archuleta (see videos above and below).
The former American Idol star dropped by to play a handful of Christmas songs and talk about the business of holiday music. Archuleta knows plenty about both–he released a holiday album of his own, Christmas From The Heart, in 2009; this year, he’s featured on the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’sGlad Christmas Tidings.
Holiday music, of course, is a big business. Michael Buble’s Christmas has already sold over 1 million copies, spending the past three weeks atop the charts. Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber both pitched in with holiday albums of their own this year. For his part, Archuleta has been spreading cheer on the road, grossing $43,000 per night according to concert data provider Pollstar. But when I interviewed him, his mind didn’t seem to be on money.
“I feel like there’s something special about Christmas music,” he said. “You’re able to put your heart into it a different way than with other, just pop, stuff.”
Perhaps the earnestness of his tone convinced me, or maybe the string of lights adorning a nearby cubicle wall played to my sentimental side, but I believed him. Judging by the reactions of my colleagues bunched throughout the room, they believed him, too. After all, Archuleta had initially agreed to a simple interview. Though an impromptu performance was a lot more work, he happily accepted when I suggested the experiment.
As his voice rang through the room, accompanied by only a keyboardist–and, at one point, a cappella–dozens of faces lit up with wonder. A singer was giving away music, and a news organization was hosting a concert. Why was any of this happening?
A better question: Why not? The old business model is dying, both in journalism and for music. If there wasn’t room for moments like this in the past, good riddance. I can’t wait to see what else the new model will bring.