You probably saw L Devine's great song Peer Pressure bobbling around on a couple of Popjustice playlists recently; last week she released the Peer Pressure EP which, well, it's got Peer Pressure on it plus some other things. There's a good piece about her over on i-D right now, and it includes some interesting chat about how new artists are generally launching these days.
“Now, everyone knows that you’ve got to watch someone grow, and that there needs to be a lot more music before you get to the big stuff – unless you’re a viral sensation.”
It's true that there are very few recent artists who've bucked the trend for laying lengthy, sometimes apparently quite aimless breadcrumb trails until a song takes off and they're in a position to push the button on the 'big stuff'. This sort of extended rollout can be as frustrating for artists as it is for fans — everyone just wants to get to the 'big stuff'.
At the same time, this could either be defeatist, or a self-fulfilling prophecy, or both.
Look at it this way: if everyone waits 18 months to release the 'big stuff', because everyone knows that's what you need to do, how do we actually know that an artist can't make a big impression by releasing their big stuff first? Like, are there actually any recent examples of pop artists actually putting their best foot forward, with a full marketing push, then failing?
Obviously, it's twenty years since Britney Spears appeared out of nowhere and went like the absolute clappers with her debut single, and in the 2000s the triple whammy of blogs, then MySpace, then more conventional social media established a method for pop artists to start off small, or at least for it to appear that way. It's also true that as fans we're now conditioned to expect artist development to happen in public.
But is it so outside the realm of possibility that the right artist, and the right song, could do the business without having to faff around for a year and a half? And hey, if it doesn't work out, the label could just say it was a buzz release.