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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Tarkan is in a Class of His Own

Posted by Steffan Matrak from Moscow, Russia

Respected TV news reporter and anchorman Cüneyt Özdemir has interviewed a music label exec in control of 48% of the market, DMC's Samsun Demir for current affairs show 5N1K (5W1H).

In its 18th season, the news programme hosted Demir as the two men placed the Turkish music industry under the microscope in a special Q&A report. DMC's Demir answered journalist Özdemir's questions and talked about the state of the industry and its star player Tarkan.

Describing Tarkan as the reigning star of the summer, highlights from the illuminating interview include Demir's own belief that CDs only have another five years before the Turkish music industry goes completely digital, and that Tarkan has been its highest selling artist for the past 10 years.

With Demir reminding Özdemir that the 20th highest selling global artist of 2010 was The Weeknd with 1.5 million sales, the interview reveals that Tarkan sold close to half a million in CD sales with his pop offering for that year, Adımı Kalbine Yaz.

"For an artist to shift that many sales with a Turkish language album... can you imagine," Demir said, before going on to explain that due to the huge demand Tarkan generated in the market, the release strategy for his 2017 album 10 was carefully planned as a result.

In the hope to "divert the stream" and put the focus on paid music subscriptions, Demir revealed the album had been cut three months before release. Sponsorship deals and strategic plans were made in regards to when the album would be available and to which platform, keeping Tarkan's album exclusive to digital downloads and CDs in its first week, before rolling it out to streaming platforms.

The interview made clear Demir's preference for paid subscriptions over free streaming providers like YouTube, and that his legal team, in partnership with the site, had already shut down almost a thousand illegal uploads of Tarkan's latest songs.

And when asked why stars like Tarkan were not being generated today, or why the artist was only one of a few who had maintained his star status since the nineties - Demir replied that Tarkan was in a class of his own.

"Tarkan is unique... put him to one side, there are many new stars to have come up... We are living through an age of change like the nineties. But where that was through the sudden emergence of private TV and music stations, this is the digital age," he said.

On another question as to why artists were not performing to sell out shows anymore apart from Tarkan, Demir attributed it to Tarkan's strategy of restricting his annual live performances to Istanbul's Harbiye.

"It's like diverting the stream as I mentioned earlier... if that is the only place to see Tarkan then the public will go there. The public can see other artists on stage elsewhere... It's a strategic thing."

Demir also assured Özdemir that classic genres had not disappeared in favour of contemporary alternatives, but were being reimagined for a new generation, pinpointing Tarkan as a prime example of an artist using classical Turkish motifs in his albums.

Finally, in other news, according to stats published by e-commerce site, this summer's highest selling album online was Tarkan's 10.

Headlined as "the choice of the year", the report writes that Tarkan was Turkey's top listening choice this summer.

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