Austin Hill

Speaking of obsessions - - think for a moment about the current state of America’s music industry. Just as opportunities in academia and government often look for a photo first, and a resume’ last, today’s music biz, regardless of genre, is about as narrow - - women larger than a size six and guys who can’t appear shirtless need not apply.

Now it’s no sin to “be hot.” But let’s get honest: “being hot” - - which includes having perfect hair, teeth and complexion - - is the commercial music industry’s affirmative action criteria numero uno, and is far more important than one’s musical talent, achievement or performance level.

Fortunately, this “sexiness” policy is self-imposed and not coerced by the government. But enter “American Idol,” another competing force in an already competitive music industry. Allowing people across the country to compete regionally for a spot on a nationally-televised stage has, at least to some extent, bypassed the offices of music executives and allowed consumers to have more of a say as to who will get “heard.”

And given which performers make it to TV, it would seem that American consumers place a bit more emphasis on musical talent, performance, and achievement, than do the exec‘s.

That’s not to say that American Idol performers are homely. But even adoring fans on blogsites seem willing to admit that their “Idol” favorites are less the perfect 10’s than are many of their counterparts- - yet fans still love their Idol stars.

This doesn’t seem to have diminished the commercial viability of Idol-turned Country Music star Carrie Underwood, or pop star Kelly Clarkson (Note to Kelly: great job with the Ford Mustang commercials. Note to Kelly’s manager: get her out of Al Gore’s fraudulent “rock-for-global-warming-awareness- concert-thing” or whatever he’s calling it this week…she doesn’t deserve to be maligned with this nonsense, and it looks hypocritical given that she plays at NASCAR races).

Whether intentional or not, “American Idol” has begun to advance the cause of “diversity” in the music biz - - not only “diversity” of race and gender, but of body-type, complexion quality and dental health levels - - and has allowed consumers a bit more of an opportunity to choose talent over tight pants.

And thus, market competition works. Government should learn from it.

Austin Hill

Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.