Friday, April 11, 2008

Lack of Good Country Artists Biographies

A while back I posted a bio of Alan Jackson, because I thought there was a lack of a truly comprehensive Alan Jackson bio on the Web. Many country artists have bio on their official Web sites, and on their label’s Web site. They are usually the exact same bios on each site, and they almost always focus on the artist’s latest album.

I’m sure some label person thinks that is a great market tool, but it really tells us nothing about the artist’s past. and also have bios of country artists. is an offshoot of the reference book All Music. Like all reference books, it is only as up to date as the year it was written. On their Web site it’s just a copy of what is in the book with maybe a line or two update on the artists recent album. Often the bios are not extensive and sadly some are not much more than a few paragraphs

Then there is Wikipedia. I checked out the bios of Alan Jackson, George Strait, Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Brooks & Dunn, Pam Tillis, Vince Gill, and some of new artists as well. Some bios were pretty good, some are not. Some have incorrect information in them. Some seem to be more PR pages written by fans trying to make them look good. Some have extensive tables showing the artists album and single chart success. Some list awards the artist has won. Some have everything, some have little or nothing.

In graduate school, I studied Wikipedia and its effect on our society. When you have a collective effort there will always some good and some bad. The problem with collective efforts like this is getting the people with knowledge involved in the project.

For instances, I could write some real good biographies on some of the artists I have listed. I have read numerous magazine, newspaper, and reference articles about these artists. I have listened to numerous interviews with these artists. I know a lot about them. However, I have to list my sources in any bio I put on Wikipedia. If I have no sources, my work would be called into question. The problem is I don’t have the time, or want to put forth the effort to create such things.

This leads to a lack of true and comprehensive biographies of country music artists. That in turn can lead to people making up whatever they want about the artist and this misinformation spreading across the Internet.

Artists should take more responsibility for making their complete biographies available on-line. For if they don’t they may find themselves representative incorrectly.