hi sterre! i know you've probably answered this a million times before, so you don't need to publish this ask (just reblog a post perhaps?), but why would sony/syco/etc sabotage louis, their client? why would they want to lose money?? i see the difference between, well, any other pop star's promo and louis', but i can't understand why that happens... sorry for bothering you! love your blog xx
Hi anon :)
I don’t think any of us have a definite answer to this question. All the scenarios where they don’t think Louis is worth the investment are irrelevant, since he was and remains an incredibly safe investment. All the scenarios in which they only want to invest with limited capital makes no sense, since what they do is completely disjointed or falls flat or even has negative results/destroys existing fandom.
There are two running theories I think (that I’ve seen floating around most) I’ll just outline them both and it’s up to you to figure out what makes most sense to you :)
1) He’s the failsafe, control variable on how to play out the narrative they’ve had in their heads since One Direction started - ie Harry as the Justin Timberlake of 1D. Since Niall and Liam are ‘overperforming’ in their minds, they need to ensure that Harry doesn’t end up doing ‘the worst’ out of all four. If they keep Louis down, then at least Harry ends up in #3, and Louis last - rather than the other way around.
I want to say that I have some issue with this, since it assumes a lot about when contracts were negotiated. Niall and Liam’s success was only really clear over the summer of this year. Just Hold On was already distributed in the UK through Syco, and he must’ve known prior to his Observer interview at the very least that he was stuck with Sony. So I don’t think that Niall and Liam’s perceived success can really be factored into this as having influenced Louis’ signing with Syco. On the other hand, perhaps the unprecedented success of Just Hold On made them rethink things already. Or it was Liam and Niall’s growing success that changed the plans for Louis’ roll-out, but I also really doubt that since Louis’ promo has been utter shit from the start with sometimes a weird flare of good that we immediately ran with. Which was also uncalled for, objectively speaking, but if you’re used to getting nothing at all, then one little thing being given to you already feels like the world.
2) It’s a personal vendetta. Out of everyone, Louis has been the most alienated by the industry. He’s also consistently been the one that we’ve heard about as the ringleader when it came to One Direction negotiations and their musical development. Savan Kotecha didn’t really beat around the bush when he said that he was angry and couldn’t/wouldn’t work with him anymore. He’s stepped on too many toes, didn’t play by their rules, refused to give in too many times - and now it’s both a case of revenge and perhaps even some sort of exemplary role (like Steve Brookstein’s career being ruined).
To me, given what we see, this actually seems the most likely. Moreover, this exact situation is what is described in one of the many hidden articles in the Just Like You Music Video. Louis is the one with arguably the most hurtful, degrading, destructive and disruptive stunts. He’s the only one still signed to a mediocre label, Syco in the UK, and to Epic (which while financially perhaps making sense), not the biggest Sony juggernaut in the US when it comes to pop(rock/punk) music. He is the one who got relegated to JGG Music, a management branch that to this day honestly seems to not exist aside from having a little logo slapped onto Louis’ photo. The best way to ensure that he won’t succeed, is to have control over his career - to force failure upon him. The best way to ensure he fails and also loses his fans? Make it implode - destroy from within like a Trojan Horse. Sow division, cultivate strife within the fandom, make sure they leave his side. The biggest buffer Louis has, is the fact that he has such loyal fans. Once that’s gone, it’s that much easier to break him. Plus, having a reputation of being a failure, the only failure out of a successful boyband who’s also irresponsible/complex private life won’t make him very appealing to other labels. Because at that point - they will question if he’s still worth the investment.
And if they do manage to break him, they break the strongest link of the band, and if there were also residual feelings of “if we can’t have the band, then noone can have the band”, this basically would kill two birds with one stone.
People talk a lot about revenue and profit. But honestly, for huge companies like Sony, Louis is an expendable asset. Especially with the way it seems things are structured for him. They have enormous control, but they’re not investing enormous amounts of capital - they don’t invest. He’s paying for his recordings, and he’s paying for his music videos. He’s carrying a lot of the costs, and they are hardly investing anything. Any money he does bring in is probably a nice bonus, but it’s not going to make them reconsider. Singers - especially pop ones - are replaceable commodities to these companies. I’m sure they hate it that Louis for the longest time refused to play along, when there are a lot of hopefuls who would do that.
Besides, bringing it back to that article about John Gilbert / Louis B. Mayer. Louis B Mayer vowed to destroy John Gilbert’s career over a petty feud, and while people disagree over the extent to which he actively tried to do so (ie tamper with actual sound recordings, or just purposely cast him for bad scripts, send out defamatory press releases etc) - noone really questions that he did try and succeeded in making John Gilbert fall from grace.