What would American Bandstand look like today?

Dick Clark

This week has been a whirlwind of quotes from many in the musical industry as everyone reflected on the life and career of Dick Clark, who died April 18, 2012. The internet is proliferated with entertainers saying how they were helped by an appearance on American Bandstand, Clark’s dance and music show that he hosted from 1957 until 1987. As I read all the accolades across world websites, I too thought a lot about Dick Clark’s effect on the way I view musical entertainment. Needless to say that American Bandstand was one of the pioneers in television, broadcasting performances and taking popular music to much larger audiences. Gladys Knight said that her appearances with the Pips “definitely put them over the top“. Reading quotes like these, I wondered what American Bandstand would be like today.  I understand the challenges that Dick Clark faced back in 1957 as the Civil Rights movement would change racial ideas in the country, and the musical world would also reflect the effects of the movement. Despite it all Clark continued to book both black and white artists and present the best in entertainment at the time.  The music business was also very different back then as radio was the king of media with television being new to America. Not every home had a television set but all had radio. However, the landscape was changing rapidly and television was becoming the better media alternative since the audience could see and hear the performances. What would Clark do if he had to start American Bandstand in our time? Not faced with civil rights issues, but my goodness is the landscape and marketplace different. Instead of television, which is already established, he would be faced with the internet and social networks. Music videos are a necessity in our day and the physical record or Compact Disc is giving way to the MP3 or music file. Downloading music is quickly becoming the way to purchase music. Even the musical contract for artists has changed to include other streams of revenue.  If starting today Clark may even look to starting his own cable network or he might utilize internet broadcasting. Whatever the case I think Clark would want to be ahead of the technology and in place to take advantage of the groundbreaking opportunity to launch programming into a large international market. More than likely if these thoughts came into my limited mind, someone else has already put them in play. Who? Maybe the next Dick Clark!

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