What are entertainment industries searching for, talent or popularity?


For centuries, the craft of entertainment stemmed from storytelling, music, dance, and drama. Since then, entertainment has obviously evolved and became one of the most well-known industries. We have our famous musicians, actors, artists, and TV personalities with the aid of what? The internet, networking, and people’s thirst for talent. 

It’s 2021 and anyone can be famous or viewed as entertaining with the help of social media’s views and likes. It brings up the questions, is even talent required anymore? Are big production companies just looking for those who are popular?

In an article by Daily American, author Eric Marker argues, “I believe that hard work is more important than talent,” Marker continues, “Talent may give you a head start, however talent can only carry you so far.” 

So it appears that talent, on its own, is on a spectrum. It’s like saying you have a car, but do you have enough fuel? Fuel takes your car places and hard work takes talent to another level.

In an interview for music streaming service TIDAL, Trinidadian rapper, Nicki Minaj expresses, “It’s music really a popularity contest. Labels do not care about talent anymore, it’s about your popularity.” 

Again, is talent even necessary? 

Like what Nicki Minaj argued, if talent isn’t what music labels are looking for, but popularity is, why would this be the case? Is it possible that labels and big companies utilize popularity for more attention and views that benefits their end? If that’s the case, people may argue that it’s a smart tactic or it doesn’t give many underground people with talent a fair chance. 

Junior Amy Monroy expresses, “Many people who want to be a part of the entertainment industry aren’t given chances to try because they don’t have a great social status as others do.”

Speaking of great social statuses 2020, there was a TikTok incident where dancer, Charli D’Amelio, 17, was in hot water not giving credit to the original Renegade dancer, Jalaiah Harmon, 15. D’Amelio grew a massive following after her version of the dance “Renegade” blew up with millions of likes, has over 100 million followers on TikTok, and danced and was interviewed on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. With an incredibly large social status, D’Amelio and her family are expected to have a Hulu reality show called The D’Amelio Show debuting this summer. As for Harmon, she has gained a following for herself with about 3 million followers on TikTok, she also danced on The Ellen Show

Charli D’Amelio having more popularity than Jalaiah Harmon has opened many outstanding doors for her and this has reflected how popularity, on an entertainment platform, takes an individual on a “fame adventure” a lot faster than those who are overlooked or just as, if not more, talented.   

Talent should not wither away just because the search for popularity is on the rise. The entertainment industry might have a secret formula to gain financial success by using what’s considered popular or marketable for a couple months or even years, but have faith that raw talent is here to stay. 

A 2016 article titled Talent Matters Even More Than People Think, writer Thomas Chamorro-Premuzic argued why talent is not quite overrated. Chamorro-Premuzic explains, “A few talented people make a huge difference,” and “talented people – the vital few – are the main driver of a company’s success.”