Deader Than Disco / Music

For a discussion on how disco itself relates to this trope, see here.

Examples from Hip-Hop, Country, and Rock Music have their own sections.

Note: A musician/group is not Deader Than Disco if they've had one or two underperforming songs/albums or are seen as Snark Bait by the general public. Otherwise, every mainstream musician or musical group in existence would be this trope! For a musician or group to be Deader Than Disco, they need to have irreparably fallen into mainstream obscurity to the point where they are now remembered only as a punchline, either through career-damaging behavior or simple shifts in cultural taste.

Second Note: This is not a forum for complaining about music and/or singers you don't like. Just because you're personally disgusted by a specific band or genre doesn't mean they can't be enjoyable in principle or have significant lasting appeal with the general population.

Third Note: If something fell out of popular favor at one point in time but made a comeback later on, it belongs under Popularity Polynomial. Do not confuse that with Deader Than Disco (which implies that the work has not made a comeback and has a very slim chance of ever making one).

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     Genres & Industry Trends 
  • The internet had the American record industry as a whole stretched irreparably thin in the '00s, leaving it a shell of its former self in the course of just a few years for a variety of reasons:
    • Even after the grey market of file-sharing was brought under control, the legal avenues that took its place, such as YouTube, iTunes, Pandora, and Spotify, finished its job in destroying the LP album on CD, which had been the most reliable moneymaker for record companies for decades. This did crippling damage to their finances, as downloadable singles weren't nearly as profitable. As late as 2002, it was all but expected for any pop act with a Top 20 hit to go platinum, while today, only the absolute biggest artists can pull that off, and most other top 5 albums can be expected to take a couple of years to go platinum. Even Pink Floyd's final album, The Endless River, only went gold. Starbucks and many bookstores have stopped selling physical CDs, and your best bet to find them nowadays would be through either big-box stores like Best Buy and Walmart, or by ordering them on Amazon or eBay. Labels have moved upmarket with CD releases, coming out with Limited Special Collectors Ultimate Editions aimed at serious fans. Another major factor has been, ironically enough, the massive resurrection that vinyl has received, being sold everywhere from Barnes and Noble to Whole Foods. Much of this is due to the growth of the audiophile movement, which categorically rejects CDs due to the ease with which they can be sonically manipulated, something that played a large role in the Loudness War; even though a well-mastered CD can offer impeccable sound quality to rival even the best vinyl LPs, a CD that's been mastered for maximum loudness (which all too many CDs were and still are) sounds immeasurably worse than a comparable record.

      The decline of the LP album did, however, have a silver lining of sorts: above all else, it killed off the filler album, a record with only one or two good singles surrounded by endless filler designed to pad it to LP length. Downloading of singles made it far more difficult to put out a filler album, as most people would understandably rather pay just a buck or so a pop for the few good songs as opposed to $15 for the whole thing. These days, an album that's seen as mostly filler can expect to get a critical lashing and flounder in terms of sales, and musicians are expected to put a lot more work into LPs. While they're still made today, they don't sell nearly as well as they did prior to the advent of iTunes and YouTube.
    • Greatest Hits albums and compilation albums (such as the surprisingly popular Now! That's What I Call Music albums) are flatlining for the same reason. Both operated on the same premise: an album filled with popular songs without unwanted filler — be it a cross-section of popular songs from a certain year, genre, etc., or a collection of hits from a single artist, with the occasional new song thrown in in the case of the latter. Many of the year or genre compilations were "As seen on TV" deals sold through infomercials, typically sold by companies such as Time Life and K-Tel. Admittedly something of a cash-grab by record labels, and admittedly one that was actually popular, as many people enjoyed having the ease of one album playing several hits instead of constantly changing CDs around.

      However, the rise of mp3s and digital music have caused both to collapse. Now that mp3 players offer listeners the ability to place songs in whatever order they so choose in the form of playlists, alongside the move to a more singles-based market instead of the previous album-based one, listeners can get whichever songs they want, in whatever order they want, without the songs they don't. Also not helping is that many compilations, particularly of the year- and genre-based variety, would rely on re-recordings or cover versions by less-popular artists, due to an inability to clear the rights for the most popular version. (Even worse were the versions by companies such as Drew's Famous or The Countdown Singers, who did cheap-sounding soundalikes by no-name session musicians.) There's the occasional outlier, but Greatest Hits albums and compilation albums have become the variety shows of the music industry.
    • The aforementioned online services also destroyed the record store, with chains like Tower Records, Media Play, National Record Mart, Harmony House, and Sam Goody going bust by mid-decade and Virgin Megastores pulling out of the US and Europe. Trans World Entertainment (owners of f.y.e.), the US' last remaining nationwide record store company (that isn't a larger big-box retailer like Walmart, Target, or Best Buy), has only survived by moving upmarket, focusing on DVDs (themselves a shrinking market for the same reason), electronics, merchandise, and novelty/collectible items in order to stay profitable; today, they only make 30% of their income from music sales.
    • Furthermore, the internet cut out the middleman, allowing artists to communicate directly with their fans and publish their music by themselves. Starting with Myspace and continuing with Twitter and other social media sites, it became far easier to build hype without the backing of a major label, and independent musicians and labels boomed as a result. On top of that, the Internet also made it far easier for people to find different kinds of music for themselves that they wouldn't have been able to find anywhere else otherwise (be it on the radio, TV, etc), and social media made it easier to share, which helped artists and bands from other countries find an audience stateside, allowing international music scenes to gain exposure and new fans. Again, this left the major (American) labels redundant and struggling to play catch-up.
    • One final reason for the music industry's collapse was that well into the early 2010s, it continued operating under the decidedly dated gimmick of promoting new music as being "shocking to parents." While this marketing strategy was effective from the 1970s until about the early-mid '90s, it seriously dwindled in viability around the Turn of the Millennium for several reasons. The first and most important was that parents and kids were developing closer relationships with one another. This was due to inflation and the rise in college education requiring many kids to stay with their parents long after they finished high schoolnote , as well as "authoritarian" parenting gradually declining in popularity/acceptance. Moreover, parents became harder and harder to shock, due to they themselves growing up with music that would be considered "edgy" even to this day. The third reason was, of course, the internet making it easy for parents to see for themselves how "safe" certain music was for their children, as well as allowing them to more easily keep up with modern day trends and groups/musicians. While the music industry has begun to finally put the old "shock your parents" gimmick to rest, it's currently struggling to find a new marketing strategy that will appeal to a wider audience than just rebellious teenagers from the Bible Belt.
  • Most digital synthesizers and drum machines of the 1980s and early '90s were extremely hard to program, and so producers simply used the preset sounds over and over again. As a consequence, several machines from the era wore out their welcome and have completely fallen from fashion. Examples include the warm electric piano and slap bass sounds of the Yamaha DX 7, the Phil Collins-esque sound of the Simmonds SDS and Linn drum machines, the chimes and breathy pads of the Roland D-50, and the house piano and bassy organ of the Korg M1. Several of these machines produced a sound that failed to escape the Uncanny Valley, a broken imitation of reality that was good enough for the time but has dated badly. Ironically, the more obviously electronic sound of previous analogue synthesizers and drum machines (themselves Deader Than Disco after digital synths became widespread), such as the Roland Juno and the TR-808, came back into fashion during the '90s and has never really gone away.
    • As of 2012, the D-50 (via a card made for Roland's V-Synth), Korg M1 and Wavestation (Korg Legacy software), DX-7 (FM 7, FM 8), and Fairlight CMI (Fairlight Pro app on iTunes) have been revitalized in software and hardware formats, and Korg's MOD-7 software for its Korg Kronos workstation can emulate FM and vector synthesis, too. So even early digital synths are coming up for reappraisal.
    • Related is the orchestra hit. A recording of same was included with the Fairlight CMI digital sampling workstation of the early 1980s, and was quickly exploited by producer Trevor Horn for Yes' "Owner of a Lonely Heart" and anything else Horn produced over the next few years. It became a cliche of '80s synth pop, appearing on records by Duran Duran, Pet Shop Boys (made especially good usage of it on "Can You Forgive Her?"), and New Order. The sound was resurrected in cartoon form by the rave and acid house crowd in the early '90s — notably by Altern-8 and The Immortals for their Mortal Kombat theme — but was killed stone dead forever by its association with 2 Unlimited. It hasn't come back since, not even ironically.
  • The castrati were mainstays in 18th century opera until Mozart, who himself had several roles for them, came along. They very rapidly fell into disuse in the 19th century as composers wrote more male roles with high voices for women and tenors. Since most of them came from poor families in Italy, where the process of making one a castrato became illegal in 1861, the "elephant songbirds," as described during the premiere of Adelaide di Borgogna, an opera by Gioachino Rossini that had a more common travesti role, became "dodos" when the last castrato, Alessandro Moreschi, died in 1922.
  • Charity Motivation Songs seem to have become this. The first few multi-artist singles were done in response to the famine in Ethiopia in The '80s, and they were seen as revolutionary in bringing many artists together to promote a worthy cause. Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas" and USA For Africa's "We Are The World", both aimed at supporting those affected by the famine, are credited for kicking off the trend (though a Canadian response to both singles called "Tears Are Not Enough" was also successful), and other multi-artist singles since then, such as the 1991 song "Voices That Care" (aimed at boosting the morale of those fighting in the Gulf War — which ended the very day the single got released) and the Artists Against AIDS Worldwide recording of "What's Going On", made international charts. As time went on, however, Values Dissonance kicked in and multi-artist charity songs are now largely viewed as Glurge and (as this brilliant AV Club article notes) mostly concerned about promoting the artists themselves instead of the cause.

    While the UK, who brought us "Do They Know" many years earlier, has continued to pump out multi-artist charity singles, many of which went to #1, the last American one of note was the 2010 "We Are The World" remake benefiting those affected by the Haitian earthquake, which, despite peaking at #2 on the charts, was widely panned by critics and considered inferior to the original version. Adding a rap verse, having autotuned parts courtesy of Akon, Lil Wayne, and T-Pain (all of whom became this trope after a few years), and giving parts to common targets of hatedom such as Miley Cyrus, Nick Jonas, and Justin Bieber, probably did not help, even though it also featured the likes of Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand and Céline Dion, as well as keeping the vocals of Michael Jackson from the original as a tribute to him. It also holds the distinction of being the lowest-rated song of all-time on Rate Your Music. Nowadays, even the original charity singles like "We Are the World" have been derided as egotistical-sounding glurgefests—the only song to really escape this is Band Aid's original recording of "Do They Know It's Christmas?", which may also be a divisive song but still enjoys airplay around Christmastime and otherwise doesn't share much of the tropes that sour many charity recordings.
  • Intelligent drum'n'bass, an offshoot of sample-based dance music that was extremely trendy in the UK during the mid-1990s. Following the success of Goldie's Timeless and LTK Bukem's Logical Progression in 1995 and 1996, intelligent drum'n'bass was latched onto by the British music press as the hot new sound of inner-city black Britain. At a time when the NME and Melody Maker almost exclusively covered skinny white teenage guitar bands, it was the acceptable face of urban music; it was "intelligent". The musical formula - slow build-up, double bass, skittery drums - quickly became a ubiquitous feature of television commercials, and it seemed that every CD single released in 1996 time had a drum'n'bass mix near the end of the tracklisting. It peaked in 1997, when Roni Size's Reprazent won the Mercury Music Award for New Forms and even David Bowie built much of Earthling around drum'n'bass, at which point the novelty wore off. Goldie's second album was slammed for self-indulgence - the first track was over 60 minutes long - and the genre as a whole was quickly displaced in the affections of music critics by trip-hop, which deserves a separate entry of its own.
  • The Easy Listening genre. Also known as Elevator Music and sometimes (incorrectly) Muzak, Easy Listening featured bland, unthreatening covers of forty-year-old pop songs performed by string orchestras and choruses, the members of which must have needed a direct pipeline to the No-Doz Corporation to get through their days' work. The genre was popular not just in offices and shops but also with senior citizens who apparently enjoyed the extremely sanitized versions of the songs they enjoyed as teens. The genre died out as its primary audience did - and as businesses either ditched music entirely or hired companies such as Muzak to provide a more marketing-directed music feed (which, today, is used mostly by telephone holding systems). Nowadays the average senior citizen only remembers such predecessors of Easy Listening as Perry Como and Mitch Miller as remnants of their parents' youth, and are more likely to listen to oldies from the early days of rock, when they themselves were young. Similarly, businesses and offices have mostly switched to classic (pre-MTV) rock and adult contemporary.
  • Related to the above, Beautiful Music and its noteworthy successors, Exotica and Space Age Pop, are far beyond dead. BM itself mostly morphed into Easy Listening, Space Age Pop went on to influence electronic music, and Exotica still clings on, as it's popular with the Tiki subculture (you know, tiki bars, Hawaiian shirts), and a handful of revivalists do still play the music. But it's hard to believe that there was a time when Les Baxter and Martin Denny were anything close to big names. Some of this has to do with Exotica being rather insensitive by modern standards. However, Baxter has gather a small cult following in recent years due to limited releases of his work as a film composer (he was one of American International Pictures' favorite composers in the 1960s).
  • Also related to Easy Listening's death, the rise in Adult Alternative during the late 80's and early 90's killed the squeaky clean adult-oriented pop of the 70's and early/mid 80's. At that time, singers like Michael Bolton and Debby Boone (both of whom specialized in safe and melodic pop ballads; read below for the latter's father Pat) were huge, with Boone's 1977 ballad "You Light Up My Life" being to this day one of the biggest hits of all time according to Billboard Magazine. Like the Easy Listening genre, this style of music died when its audience did, replaced with the notably rootsier and edgier genre of adult alternative. Today, the squeaky clean adult pop groups of the 70's and 80's are remembered, if at all, as little more than punchlines for their sappiness and general blandness.
  • Straightforward R&B, slow jams, ballads, and pure Soul music is almost non-existent on urban radio. There was the revival of Retraux soul called Neo-Soul but it burned out possibly due to mislabeling and Hype Backlash.
  • Freestyle music was easily one of the biggest genres of music in the U.S. from the late '80s to early '90s. The genre, launched by Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock", and first seen in the top 10 with Shannon's "Let The Music play, was inspired by synth-pop, hip hop, and electronic music and was particularly aimed towards Hispanic and Lation audiences, with the goal of having it becoming to them what rap was to African-Americans. Afterwards, acts like Exposé, the Cover Girls, Sweet Sensation, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, The Jets, George Lamond, Stevie B, Timmy T, Starpoint, Seduction, Linear, Information Society, Brenda K. Starr, and Will To Power, stormed pop and dance stations, and mainstream pop acts like Madonna, Duran Duran, and New Kids on the Block experimented with the genre. However, by the early '90s, the craze was starting to die out, as new jack swing and house quickly took over the niche, while the freestyle artists were only able to score hits with slow ballads, and in only a few years virtually every artist in the movement were completely irrelevant. While freestyle continues to have a cult following, it hasn't had anything close to a mainstream comeback, and it's largely a forgotten footnote in American music history.
  • Kayokyoku, somewhat of a modern precursor to J-pop. The 1980s and 1990s saw heavier western influences seep into Japanese music, and for the most part heavily Japanese associated popular tunes are left to enka. Virtually overnight, western influences killed "kayo" as a musical form and formed modern J-pop, with much of the remaining active kayokyoku artists such as Kenji Sawada and Momoe Yamaguchi have taken up the label of J-pop or J-rock and essentially leaving more traditional musical output behind. Related to this, "ero-kayo" or erotic kayokyoku. Entire albums of sexually charged psychedelic pop usually sung by supple-bodied young women with sexual groans and moans by the women thrown in. Yeah, the novelty wore off very fast.
  • Japanese Pop Music did not have it easy in the age of the digital revolution. The Japanese record labels were, in many ways, even more out-of-touch than their American counterparts, with their digital side being Orwellian and difficult to access. Johnny Entertainment was the greatest example of this, what with their anti-digital stance and refusal to officially upload anything on YouTube. Furthermore, the music was seen as 'childish' and bland by non-Japanese listeners, and the way the system was designed to gouge money by encouraging bulk-buy sale incentives (popularized by AKB48) led to a rise of uninspired J-Idol groups trying to get a slice of the pie. Not helping matters was that the fandom itself did not promote inclusion in any way, which gave J-Pop a poor reputation overseas. All of this combined allowed Korean Pop Music to supplant it in popularity. Most J-Pop and J-Rock artists who still have a significant fandom outside of Japan have either gone indie and/or separated themselves from the politics of the record industry (Kenji Sawada, X Japan), or else have such a significant role and personality outside of music that music itself doesn't seem to be the main factor (Gackt, Miyavi).
  • The '90s vogue for Gregorian chants and/or New Agey music mixed in with modern instruments. Canto Gregoriano, Adiemus, Enigma and the like sold ridiculous amounts of discs back then but soon receded back into semi-obscurity.
  • At the start of the '70s, jazz fusion was hailed as an innovative combination of jazz and rock music, heralded with still celebrated albums like Miles Davis' Bitches Brew, Herbie Hancock's Head Hunters and Weather Report's debut album. Even with talents Following The Leader like bassist Jaco Pastorious and Joni Mitchell's foray into the genre, it eventually became a parody of itself as it turned into the much-derided "smooth jazz". With the more traditionalist turn of the jazz community, jazz fusion is regarded in hindsight as everything that was wrong with jazz in the '70s. Both rock and jazz fans see it as Snark Bait today, associating the genre more with Kenny G than Joe Zawinul even as the aforementioned albums remain classics. See Spinal Tap's "Jazz Odyssey" scene in This Is Spinal Tap as an example of how badly jazz fusion was regarded barely a decade after it came onto the music scene.
  • Ambient electronic music was quite popular in the 1970s and '80s. It found a niche due to its atmospheric, often otherworldly dreamlike quality. Thus it is often called Space Music. It found frequent use as the soundtracks of a significant number of radio shows, TV series, animated series, documentaries, planetarium shows, computer games, and theatrical films and some artists gained a cult status that exists to this day, even if in some cases it may be a case of Retroactive Recognition with respect to the artist's name. Some examples include Brian Eno, Jean-Michel Jarre, Vangelis, Kitaro, Paddy Kingsland, Shuki Levy, the MOS Technology SID chip, Rob Hubbard, Jan Hammer, Klaus Shulze, and Tangerine Dream. This genre of music seemed to experience a backlash by the 1990s, but this backlash was mostly limited to North America. The fact that most of these electronic artists were British, European, Japanese or otherwise not American may have played a part in a large percentage of Americans turning their back on it, especially in the post 9/11 atmosphere that caused a glut of ultra-patriotism. It's lack of lyrics could also contribute, as instrumental music has never really been huge in America. And even though Electronic Music in general has finally made a major mainstream splash in America when The New Tens rolled around, ambient hasn't gained any real traction from the boom, with most of the fans' attention going towards House Music, Electro House, Trap Music, dubstep, techno, certain variants of Hardcore Techno (mainly happy hardcore and hardstyle), and trance.
  • The 8-track tape was the most common portable music format in The '60s and the first half of The '70s, especially in cars, yet the tapes suffered from sound quality and mechanical problems. It was impossible to rewind or fast-forward, with the ability only to switch between the four "programs". Even worse, record companies would tinker with the running order to try to make their albums fit evenly into the programs. Once cassette playback functionality improved by the middle of the decade, including Dolby noise reduction, consumers moved from 8-track to cassettes, which were cheaper, smaller, more durable and had better sound quality as well as the ability to rewind and fast forward. They also had the same running order as the LP. 8-tracks disappeared from store shelves by the early '80s, but record clubs kept the format on life support until near the end of the decade.note  The 8-track became the music format equivalent of the Trope Namer and the butt of many jokes. Anyone admitting to owning them was portrayed as hopelessly out of touch.

    Male solo artists 
  • Back in the early 2010s, one of the hottest EDM stars on the market was Swedish phenomenon Avicii. He had been performing for a while (and had a few minor European hits) before his song "Levels" became an unexpected hit after it was sampled by Flo Rida for his "Good Feeling." While "Levels" didn't reach the heights of "Good Feeling," it still easily raised his public profile. For the next two years he would have some moderate European success before releasing the song "Wake Me Up!", a folk-inspired dance tune featuring the vocals of cult R&B icon Aloe Blacc. "Wake Me Up!" proved to be absolutely massive and inescapable. It hit #1 in every single country in Europe and became his first mega-smash in the U.S. hitting #4 on the charts. It was the biggest EDM hit in American radio and digital history (with Major Lazer's "Lean On", released two years later, being the only other EDM song that comes close). But perhaps its most epic accomplishments was remaining all over radio stations long after it peaked in airplay.

    After "Wake Me Up!" finished its run, it was time to move onto the next smash-in-the-making: "Hey Brother", a bluegrass-folk song featuring Dan Tyminski of Alison Krauss & Union Station. While it wasn't exactly a "Wake Me Up!" level megahit, it was another huge smash everywhere it charted...except in the United States, in which radio programmers were very hesitant to move away from "Wake Me Up!" Facing massive resistance in America, the song slowly limped to a #16 peak before falling off almost instantly. Only a couple weeks after it peaked was "Hey Brother" being ranked below "Wake Me Up!" on radio charts and a month or two later it had completely fallen off nearly all playlists. Even Aloe Blacc's own song "The Man" did much better (and that didn't exactly get much love from radio either nor did it last very long after it peaked). Avicii's next few singles were all D.O.A. upon their American releases (although they did fine in Europe). By 2015, Avicii was essentially a has-been in the American EDM market. While artists like Calvin Harris, David Guetta, and Zedd are still easily scoring hits in America (and even that can be attributed to their collaborations with well-known pop stars), airplay for Avicii is almost nonexistent outside of "Wake Me Up!" and while he's still respected in Europe, he's remembered in America for having one monster hit completely cannibalize his career. His 2015 album Stories came and went in the US without any fanfare, and all of its singles flat-out bombed. The closest he's gotten to the Top 40 in the US again was by being mentioned in Mike Posner's Top 10 hit "I Took a Pill in Ibiza" in 2016. The final nail in Avicii's coffin came in March 2016, when he announced that he would be retiring from touring because of health problems.
  • During The Fifties, Pat Boone was one of the biggest pop performers in America. He explicitly served as The Moral Substitute to the edgy Rock & Roll artists of the day by singing Bowdlerised covers of their songs, with a number of them (such as his versions of Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti" and Fats Domino's "Ain't That a Shame") actually making it higher on the charts than the originals. Nowadays, though, the original songs serve as the First and Foremost versions, while his covers have faded into obscurity. When he is remembered, it's usually as a symbol of the buttoned-up cultural conservatism of '50s pop culture; the fact that he's since found steady work as a right-wing Christian commentator hasn't done much to challenge that image. He has a cult following among metalheads for his album In a Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy, which featured covers of classic metal songs in his big-band style. (Ronnie James Dio even sang backing vocals on Boone's cover of "Holy Diver"!) Even then, though, it's chiefly an ironic fandom, akin to that of Chuck Norris.
  • Chris Brown exploded onto the scene in 2005 at only 15 years old and quickly became one of the most successful pop acts of the naughties, charming teens with his brand of poppy R&B and his dance moves. He sang hit after hit after hit with songs like "Forever", "With You", "Run It!" and "Kiss Kiss". Some even said he would dethrone Michael Jackson as the King of Pop.

    That all changed, however, when media reports sprang up in 2009 revealing that his rocky relationship with his girlfriend Rihanna ended with him beating her to a pulp, and he was forced to serve 5 years of probation and 6 months of community service. The media turned a complete 180 and quickly shunned him out for his misogynist actions.note  His next album released that year, Graffiti, tanked miserably, and he spent 2010 mostly attempting to rebuild his image. It seemed to have paid off, as 2011's F.A.M.E. became a smash hit, going Gold and garnering several successful singles such as "Yeah 3x", "Deuces" and "Look at Me Now" and a Grammy. He even seemed to have earned Rihanna's forgiveness as well and did the duet "Birthday Cake" with her.

    Then, after even more incidents that brought his public image down even further and practically turned him into a convicted felon (including public fights with Drake and Frank Ocean, messy love triangles with Rihanna and Karrueche Tran, even more arrests and continuous deletions of messages from his family-unfriendly Twitter account), what remaining redemption the media had to Brown quickly descended (throwing a tantrum on Good Morning America, breaking a dressing room window and cursing out Robin Roberts for merely mentioning Rihanna certainly didn't help at all), and it shows. Fortune started up pretty well (with "Don't Wake Me Up" and "Turn Up the Music" each spending a week in the Top 10) and then quickly bombed in 2012, and his second and third attempted comebacks X and Fan of a Fan: The Album debuted pretty well on the Billboard 200 before dropping from the top 20 like flies. 2015's Royalty debuted at #3, but only "Back to Sleep" managed to visit the Top 20 and the album quickly slid down the charts. He's still around, but he seems to be on the fast track to vanishing for good, which is helped in no small part by the current (and likely permanent) public perception that he's a violent, misogynistic psychopath who can't stop getting unbearably terrible tattoos.
  • The animated character "Crazy Frog" (Former mascot of German music and cellphone company Jamster) was pretty popular in Europe and in the United States in the early 2000's. The character was a male frog-like creature with a high-pitched voice who sang various songs and sometimes making weird sounds and gibberish. He was so popular that he gained his own set of video games and a few arcade cabinets. However by the mid 2000's, the character started gaining a lot of dislike from the public and resulted in Jamster having to retire the character in early 2007 and ended up getting replaced with Schnuffel, the company's current mascot who has gained more positive reaction with the public. The character even made a cameo in The Amazing World of Gumball where it gets chased by a group of angry animals.
  • Liberace, the flamboyant piano player, was one of the most popular and highest paid music performers of The Fifties. He was especially popular among teenage girls who swooned over him the way their big sisters used to swoon over the young Frank Sinatra. His popularity extended well into The '60s, as a pleasant alternative to rock 'n' roll. Most popular non-rock and non-Motown music performers of the '50s and '60s are forgotten today, but not Liberace, oh no. He's still remembered, all right... as a ridiculously camp figure, a joke on that era's cluelessness of his obvious closet homosexuality. If a character refers to Liberace (Superman II, Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series), they're Ambiguously Gay. What's more, his legacy in modern times suffers on account of the fact that he was, during his life, very adamant about denying that he was gay, giving him a Periphery Hatedom in today's LGBT community. To be fair, being openly gay back then was tantamount to career suicide, but even after his death in 1987, his estate and personal physician went through great efforts to cover up the fact that he died from AIDS-related complications. His fall from grace appeared complete when his Las Vegas museum closed due to waning popularity in The New Tens.
  • Psy was already a long-player in the music business when he took the world by storm with "Gangnam Style" in 2012. Celebrities shared the video like crazy, and it eventually spread to their fans, and then the fans spread it to many other people. Within months it went viral beyond belief for its eccentric, awesomely catchy feel and Psy's memorable dance moves. By the end of 2012, it became the most-viewed and liked video on YouTube, and still remains in that position to this day, and topped many, many charts. It was Psy's first big break in other countries besides Korea. Contrary to what you may think, the revelation that he did a couple of anti-American songs earlier in his career did not take him down, as he was able to shake it off by admitting that what he did was very wrong (unlike people like Shabba Ranks). Regardless, his American success eventually fizzled out anyway. The next year, he released "Gentleman", which was mostly seen as a So Okay, It's Average retread of "Gangnam Style", and despite the video gaining many views, audiences eventually flocked away. Despite this, he continued to appear in movies (having his very own scenes in The Nut Job) and TV commercials (for Wonderful Pistachios, bizarrely) long after he was no longer popular. Further songs (including "Hangover", featuring Snoop Dogg, and "Daddy", both of which barely cracked the Hot 100) failed to regain the success that he originally had. Today, he's better-known as "that guy who made that Gangnam Style song" and a lot of Hype Backlash has ensued from his biggesthit's position as the biggest viewed video on YouTube.
  • Shabba Ranks emerged in the early 1990s as the most popular musician to come out of Jamaica since Bob Marley, with several international hits. Unfortunately, Shabba was also a virulent homophobe who sang numbers where he advocated crucifying and murdering gay people. Interviews also showed he was dead serious about the matter, including an appearance on Channel 4's The Word, where Mark Lamarr famously told him "That's absolute crap and you know it." This effectively torpedoed his career beyond repair and made him very swiftly forgotten, except perhaps in his home country. It also had the side effect of seriously damaging the image of dancehall as a whole (as these themes were not limited to him at all; he just had a high enough profile to call attention to himself about them), and also helped feed into a growing backlash against the violence and "slackness"-obsessed nature of contemporary dancehall, leading to a lot of existing and new artists turning towards more conscious and religious themes.
  • Lithuanian DJ Ten Walls exploded onto the scene in 2014 thanks to his instrumental house hit "Walking With Elephants." Unfortunately, not long afterwards, he proceeded to shoot himself in the foot when he posted a homophobic rant on his Facebook page, comparing homosexuality to pedophilia (which is particularly problematic, given that Electronic Music and dance music in general has had a long-standing reputation for being very LGBT friendly). He was immediately dropped from many EDM festivals, his booking agency dropped him, and his fans left him overnight. Today, Ten Walls' career is all but dead thanks to the controversy.

    In March 2016, Ten Walls announced a comeback, apologized to the LGBT community, and released his first new single featuring a transgender singer, with a double album set to drop in fall 2016. How successful it is remains to be seen.
  • Not for lack of trying on his part, but people are already beginning to call time of death on Robin Thicke's musical career. Kicking around the business for years, he finally broke through in 2013, riding a wave of No Such Thing as Bad Publicity thanks to his kinda-sleazy song "Blurred Lines", which became the unofficial Song of the Summer, and an equally controversial performance with Miley Cyrus at the 2013 VMAs. This seemed to work primarily because of a carefully constructed image of a Rule-Abiding Rebel: he played the part of a lecherous womanizer, but got something of a pass because he was clearly devoted to his wife and high school sweetheart, actress Paula Patton, who appeared on the cover of his debut A Beautiful World.

    However, throughout 2013 and 2014, stories began to emerge that his sleazy creep persona wasn't all an act, and after getting proof in the form of a Tumblr post with rape survivors holding up cards with their rapists' quotes on them that eerily echo "Blurred Lines", and a photo taken in an elevator with mirrored walls showed him groping a female fan, Patton finally left him. His follow-up album Paula, as the name implies, was a transparent, desperate, and somewhat depressing attempt to win her back, only digging him further down, while a Twitter Q&A went haywire fast when Thicke was inundated with angry messages. The trust between Thicke and his female fans was broken, potentially irreparably, and Paula bombed with only 24,000 copies sold in the US in its first week (compared to 177,000 for his debut) and international numbers even worse (only 550 copies in Canada, 530 in the UK, and 158 in Australia. The album that took the place of #500 in Australian charts instead of Paula? A greatest hits compilation by Blondie, which sold 159 units). By the summer of 2014, Thicke's name is more synonymous with "that rape-y song" than anything else, with few people defending the Unfortunate Implications of "Blurred Lines" anymore. Of course, music is a business with "never say never" as a mantra, but for him to recover from falling that far that fast would take nothing short of a miracle at that point. More news arose with the allegations that he copied his signature song from Marvin Gaye, which proved to be true, and in March 2015, Thicke and Pharrell lost the lawsuit and were forced to pay Gaye's descendants $7.5 million due to the jury finding that "Blurred Lines" infringed the rights of "Got to Give It Up". Today, most of the R&B and urban stations that he had been a staple of for over a decade have dropped him from the airwaves, or at least significantly downplayed his presence. Even airplay of his mega-hit nowadays is sporadic as the Unfortunate Implications and infringement of the song have become its most famous aspect. It's likely he'll be seen as an Old Shame for many of his former fans, and for those who actually liked "Blurred Lines" at the height of its popularity. What truly solidified his Deader Than Disco status was in 2015, where rap superstar Flo Rida attempted to breathe some life into his career by having him sing in his summer jam "I Don't Like It, I Love It". Not only did it not help revive his career, but he brought the song down as well. It spent what felt like forever at the bottom of the charts, only fall just short of the Top 40 at #43, before subsequently plummeting downward. Comparing that to Rida's other two singles from the My House EP ("G.D.F.R." and the Title Track), which had no problems reaching the Top 10, you'll see why it failed to be a hit. The final nail was "Back Together" featuring Nicki Minaj, which tried to throw back the disco sounds of "Blurred Lines", only to fail to get any traction whatsoever. While other similar R&B crossover stars with a single pop hit like John Legend, Cee Lo Green (but see here) and Pharrell Williams remain iconic examples of "popular acts who technically have only one big hit", Thicke is seen as a quintessential One-Hit Wonder to most of the general public.

    Female solo artists 

  • Almost immediately after she took off in late 2001, Michelle Branch became one of the hottest young female singers in America. A singer/songwriter/guitarist who mixed an alternative rock style with enough pop sheen to score crossover hits, she was viewed as a Spiritual Successor to Alanis Morissette, even being signed to the same label as her (Maverick Records, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Records). Her debut album The Spirit Room was a huge success, with singles "Everywhere" and "All You Wanted" being played by almost every pop radio station in the country. Immediately afterwards, the media was hyping Branch up as the face of a movement of female singers/songwriters/instrumentalists who revolted against manufactured teen pop stars like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. A slew of such artists popped up behind her, like Vanessa Carlton, Avril Lavigne, and Stacie Orrico, while veteran acts in that style like Sheryl Crow, No Doubt, and Liz Phair (who has her own section on the Rock Music page, at least partly for this reason) had a resurgence in popularity. Even P!nk, who was part of the "manufactured" group, quickly adapted to the new trend.

    By the end of 2002, however, the future was not looking bright for Branch. By then, Lavigne had supplanted her as the face of the movement, and her song "Goodbye to You" wasn't nearly as successful as her first two hits. To compensate, she collaborated with Santana for another hit, "The Game of Love". It kept Branch's career going, even if it was viewed as something of a disappointment for Santana. 2003 brought her sophomore album Hotel Paper, which, while also a hit and giving her another successful single in "Are You Happy Now?", did not reach the heights of The Spirit Room. To make matters worse, Maverick Records was suffering from financial problems at the time and her career was effectively put on hold. The final nail in the coffin was a sexy photo shoot for Maxim magazine that irrevocably tarnished her "anti-Britney" image, and marked the end of her career. Unable to record on her own at the time, Branch switched over to side projects. A second collaboration with Santana in 2005 for the single "I'm Feeling You" completely bombed outside of hot AC radio, and she shifted to Country Music in 2006, forming the duo The Wreckers with Jessica Harp; they had one big hit with "Leave the Pieces" and a lesser one with "My, Oh My", but fizzled out immediately afterwards. Branch continues recording music to this day but has long since faded into obscurity; she never had another hit on any chart and has yet to release a third album. Today, when the pop music scene of the 2000s is recounted, names like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys, and Avril Lavigne are commonly cited; when Michelle Branch is remembered, it's only for being one of the biggest flashes-in-the-pan of that decade.
  • While never overly popular, Anita Bryant had a notable career in music during the 1960s. Come the '70s, she became better-known as a vocal, pretentious Heteronormative Crusader. This killed any chance of future interest in Bryant's music. Fans of her music today are extremely rare, even among elderly people, to the point where many people now are unaware that she was once a singer. Maybe she should have stuck to music...
  • During the mid-2000s crunk invasion, Atlanta-based R&B singer Ciara achieved massive success with her signature blend of Contemporary R&B and Crunk, which she called "Crunk&B", starting with her chart-topping debut single "Goodies". It put her on the map, while her follow-ups "Oh" and "1, 2 Step" both hit #2 and got her debut album (also titled Goodies) into triple platinum status at home, with worldwide sales in total of five million. Her 2006 follow-up Ciara: The Evolution became her first chart-topping album. While its lead single "Get Up" (featuring rapper Chamillionaire, who would meet a similar fate) wasn't quite as big as her previous songs, it still made the Top 10. However, despite topping the Billboard 200, it was clear that she had slid a bit from where she was at, because it only barely made it past platinum (with overseas sales being poor).

    In 2009, this did not correct itself; instead, it got worse. Her third album Fantasy Ride only debuted at #3 with sales of 81,000 and dropped off immediately. It only sold about 200,000 copies, not even close to reaching Gold status. While it's easy to blame this on the rise of piracy and the industry becoming more single-oriented, it produced only one Top 40 single — "Love Sex Magic", and it was more due to Justin Timberlake than anything else. 2010's Basic Instinct got even worse, not only did it produce no hits, but it debuted at a paltry #44. At this point, she was long forgotten by the general public and only had a following in the R&B community, and even then, it was much smaller than before. After that, she shifted labels from the now-defunct Jive Records to Epic and released her Self-Titled Album in 2013. It was a much bigger success compared to her previous efforts, debuting at #2, but sure enough, it fell off immediately. Her lead single "Body Party" was a modest success, peaking at #22, but it didn't really crossover in the same way her previous singles did. In 2015, she hit an all-time low with the release of her sixth album Jackie. With first week sales of 19,900, it didn't even come close to the 100,000 mark. And of course, it didn't produce any hits with "I Bet" just falling short of the Top 40.

    While still around, she's gone from preforming in massive arenas and being all over the airwaves to playing in small clubs and barely making ends-meet. Today, she is almost completely forgotten and is only remembered for "Goodies" and "1, 2 Step". The overly-sexual nature of her signature Crunk&B style of music worked fine in 2005, but just a few years later it seemed incredibly outdated. Her chances of even scoring a hit on R&B radio are slim-to-none, that's without even mentioning her chances of ever crossing over again. The biggest news she made in 2016 was getting married to NFL star Russell Wilson.
  • Canadian folk-pop singer Nelly Furtado first gained fame with her debut album, Whoa, Nelly! in 2000, which spawned two successful singles, "I'm Like a Bird" and "Turn Off the Light". It was acclaimed by critics for its unique approach to pop that was very organic, and was seen as an antidote to the nu-metal and teen-pop bands that dominated the radio at the time. "I'm Like a Bird" won a 2001 Juno Award for Single of the Year and a 2002 Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. In 2003, Furtado released Folklore, which produced three international singles — "Powerless (Say What You Want)", "Try", and "Força". However, its slightly darker edge (which Furtado attributed to her being pregnant at the time) made it gain a mixed reception, and it wasn't nearly as successful as her previous album was. In 2006 she released Loose, a Hotter and Sexier New Sound Album inspired by contemporary American Hip-Hop and R&B. While many of her older fans hated it, accusing Furtado of selling out and sexing up her image to sell records, Loose would go on to become the most successful album of Furtado's career, selling ten million copies and reaching number one not only in Canada and the United States, but also several other countries worldwide. The album spawned 4 number-one hits: "Promiscuous", "Maneater", "Say It Right" and "All Good Things (Come to an End)".

    Unfortunately, Furtado took too long of a break afterwards, not releasing another English-language studio album for another six years, a very long time in the music business. That album, The Spirit Indestructible in 2012, failed to replicate the success of Loose due to poor promotion and minimal chart impact of the album's singles. The album saw success only in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and her native Canada, and bombed in the US with only six thousand copies sold in its first week. Many of her older fans had moved on after Loose, while the fans she'd acquired from that album had also moved on in the six years since. Furthermore, the mainstream success of Loose owed a lot to Timbaland's production and piggybacking off the hype of Justin Timberlake's FutureSex/LoveSounds, and now that Timbaland had moved on and Timberlake was focusing on his acting career, she was never going to replicate the same success again. Making matters worse for her was that Justin Timberlake would later spawn a huge comeback, with some tracks even produced with Timbaland. As a result, she fell into the same pit as all the other formerly successful artists of her time.
  • During the mid-late '90s, Jewel was one of the premier adult alternative performers, with her debut album Pieces Of You being one of the very few debuts to reach Diamond certification in the US. While the subsequent albums Spirit and This Way weren't quite as successful, they sold very well and spawned several songs (i.e, "Standing Still") that played in regular rotation on MTV and hot AC radio. Unfortunately, her switch to a more dance-pop-oriented style on her fourth album 0304, particularly the licensing of its song "Intuition" (a massive Take That at commercialism) for use in Schick razor commercials, caused a major fan backlash and put a massive dent in her career that she was never really able to recover from. While she's found some success performing children's music and soft country, the commercial performance of her post-0304 work has not come close to matching that of her work in the '90s and early-2000s.
  • English electropop singer Natalia Kills released two albums in the 2010s that flopped, but singles like "Mirrors" and "Wonderland" did decently in European countries outside of her native United Kingdom and she seemed to be steadily gaining hype and future fame with opening for many popular pop acts. She also married labelmate Willy Moon and appeared as a judge on the New Zealand version of The X Factor in March 2015. Then her small career came crashing to a halt when this happened on one episode. To put it bluntly, Natalia berated contestant Joe Irvine simply because he wore a suit, and somehow that made him a copycat of her husband (Willy even proceeded to compare Irvine to Norman Bates). Although Irvine took it in stride, and judge and former All Saints member Melanie Blatt responded by saying Irvine was dressed better than Moon, the damage was done. A petition to get them sacked from the show gained 70,000 signatures in only 24 hours and they were dumped the next day, while Natalia was forced to change her stage name back to birthname Teddy Sinclair and flee her country. She now works as a songwriter, but it's extremely unlikely she'll shake off being forever known as "that girl who bullied a contestant on The X Factor", especially in countries like the U.S. where she was known for almost nothing else beforehand.

    Moon's career hasn't fared much better, as he was already known only for the UK top 30 hit "Yeah Yeah" and for that song appearing in an iPod commercial, but the incident all but assured his status as a One-Hit Wonder. While Moon's backlash wasn't as hard-hitting as Kills', it still was enough to bury his career alive.
  • Branch's contemporary and successor Avril Lavigne suffered a similar fate. In 2002, she burst onto the scene at only 17 years old with her Top 10 hits "Complicated", "Sk8er Boi", and "I'm With You", which propelled her album Let Go to 6x platinum status. Already, she had more success through her first album alone than Branch had in her entire career, making her viewed as Morissette's true successor. She had built a reputation as a girl with an attitude, but also with a sweet spot on the inside, with her combination of rock and Pop Punk with mainstream sensibilities giving her a large magnitude of teenage fans, girls and boys alike. Not only that, she also built up a large following in Asia, especially Japan. In 2004, she released the Darker and Edgier Under My Skin, which was also a massive success and spawned the hit "My Happy Ending". She even tried her hand at acting in a number of films, such as Over the Hedge and the film adaptation of Fast Food Nation. Her popularity as an artist peaked in 2007 when she released "Girlfriend", which became her first song to hit #1 on the Hot 100. Its music video was, for a time, the most-viewed video on YouTube, and its parent album The Best Damn Thing was the best-selling album of 2007.

    Unfortunately for her, she simply couldn't keep up the momentum after "Girlfriend" was released. Her 2011 follow-up Goodbye Lullaby only debuted at #4, and failed to even reach Gold status in the US, while many fans saw it as a sellout that took a far more commercial direction as opposed to her more personal and angsty earlier albums. She'd also long had a brewing hatedom among Punk Rock fans who saw her Pop Punk style (along with that of contemporary artists like Fall Out Boy and Panic! at the Disco) as borderline blasphemy; her increasingly pop-oriented direction only made their charges easier to stick. The album did spawn a Top 20 single with "What the Hell", but it didn't have anywhere near the staying power that her previous singles did, while her follow-up singles barely scraped the Top 70 on the chart.

    She seemed to be making a comeback in 2013 with her Top 20 single "Here's to Never Growing Up", which managed to attain platinum status in the US, but she went and blew it completely the following year with "Hello Kitty", an attempt to capitalize on both the dubstep craze and her continued popularity in Japan. It certainly got attention... but not the kind she was looking for. The video, which was filmed in Japan and had emotionless, robotic backup dancers filled with exaggerated Japanese imagery, was widely derided for being racist and stereotypical (or at least Japandering taken to embarrassing extremes), and the song barely charted on the American or Japanese charts. Her self-titled album, which contained both of the previously-mentioned songs, was the biggest flop in her career, selling even worse than her previous release (although admittedly, it was released against the red-hot Marshall Mathers LP 2 from Eminem). Nowadays, Lavigne is seen as a relic of the early-to-mid 2000s who made annoying pop songs like "Complicated" and "Girlfriend" that got stuck in your head for the wrong reasons. The fact that she's been married to Chad Kroeger, the frontman of Nickelback (a band that's become Deader than Disco as well), probably doesn't help matters. The announcement of their separation in September 2015 was a source of Snark Bait among radio DJs, particularly on rock radio, at least when it was mentioned at all.
  • The revolving door of female pop-rockers in the early-mid '00s that started with Michelle Branch continued with Ashlee Simpson. She was billed as an edgier version of her big sister Jessica, and was expected to follow her and Lavigne's footsteps to become a major pop star. Her first album, Autobiography, went triple platinum. Then it all came crashing down with her disastrous performance on Saturday Night Live in October 2004, where she was caught lip-syncing when her band started playing the wrong song, followed by an embarrassing "hoe-down" when she realized what was happening. Following an equally disastrous half-time performance at the Orange Bowl a few months later (in which she was singing live, and it showed), Ashlee's music career was all but over. Her following album, 2005's I Am Me, sold far less than Autobiography and didn't even reach the platinum mark, and she only released one more album after that, the commercial bomb Bittersweet World in 2008. She's had a bit more success as an actress, playing Violet Foster on the short-lived Melrose Place Sequel Series and Roxie Hart in Broadway and West End productions of Chicago, but when she's brought up today (outside the tabloids), it's usually in the same breath as Milli Vanilli, as the punchline of jokes about lip-syncing and manufactured pop stars.
    • As this article in The Atlantic explains, Ashlee's SNL mishap also marked the moment when the wheels started coming off of the Simpson family dynasty. At the time, Jessica Simpson had a Reality TV hit in Newlyweds Nick And Jessica with her husband, ex-98° singer Nick Lachey, and even though her music career was fading, she was fast becoming one of the pioneers of the reality TV subgenre known as "celebreality". After SNL, however, the Simpson family seemed to be hit with nothing but misfortune. Nick and Jessica broke up in 2005, and Jessica's subsequent relationship with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo earned a Yoko Oh No reaction from Cowboys fans who blamed her for Romo's ensuing poor performance. Meanwhile, their father and manager, former youth pastor Joe Simpson, got in hot water for comments he made about Jessica's breasts, and later split with his wife Tina amid rumors that he was gay. While Jessica now runs a very successful fashion company, the perception of her family has gone from some of the most famous people in the world to a Big Screwed-Up Family if they're even remembered today.
  • Tila Tequila was once popular, though not as much as most of the other examples on this page. She was well known not only for her music, but also for her reality TV show and her modeling. However, by the 2010's, she became more famous for her conspiracy theories and strange behavior (such as admiring Adolf Hitler) than her music, which itself has fallen into obscurity, and she has a small but brewing hatedom to this day.

  • Comedian Harmonists: Back between 1928 and 1933 they were one of the most popular groups in the world, attracting audiences in the USA as well as in Europe with their amazing harmony singing. But unfortunately, in 1933 Adolf Hitler took over Germany and the band, which had two Jewish members, was forced to disband. All members survived World War II, but they never reunited, causing them to fade away in obscurity until the 1970s. They enjoyed a small revival in the German-speaking world, garnering some celebrity fans such as Matt Groening and Art Spiegelman as well as a 1997 Biopic based on their amazing career, but they still remain a band that is obscure to this day. Seeing that harmony singing has never had much of a revival and German lyrics bring up unfortunate associations to most non-German listeners, it doesn't seem that they will regain their popularity soon.
  • The girl group G.R.L. could be described as the 21st-century equivalent to The Big Bopper. Primed to be the Spiritual Successor to the Pussycat Dolls, they were featured on Pitbull's hit "Wild Wild Love" and on The Smurfs 2 soundtrack, and had a minor international hit on their own in the song "Ugly Heart". Unfortunately, group member Simone Battle hanged herself just two months after their debut EP was released, and that destroyed the hype leading up to their full-length album, which never even got released. They released one more single, "Lighthouse" (which was a dud), before breaking up. Like the aforementioned Big Bopper and Blind Melon before them, Dead Artists Are Better never really kicked in for G.R.L., and they quickly faded into obscurity, having only a handful of material recorded during their lifespan. Today, the only thing G.R.L. is remembered for is for the suicide.
  • The Jonas Brothers (consisting of brothers Nick, Kevin, and Joe Jonas) were the face (well, the first one) of the Boy Band revival movement. Sponsored (though not manufactured) by Disney, they scored a massive following with young girls with their good looks and their supposed premise of being a pop punk band. Songs like "SOS" and "Burnin' Up" were huge hits on the pop charts, and they were able to sell over 18 million albums worldwide in just a couple of years. Their surprising loss to little-known British singer Adele for the Best New Artist Grammy caused a massive fan backlash. They also took part in acting on the Disney Channel, starring in Camp Rock alongside Demi Lovato, and they eventually got their own show called Jonas, and later Jonas L.A..

    Unfortunately for them, they built up such a massive hatedom on the internet right from the get-go that they could have been described as the late-'00s version of N Sync. On forums, they were treated with nothing but scorn and were subject to constant ridicule in many parodies. This would come back to bite them hard, since the girls that flocked to them grew older or left them for the fast-rising Justin Bieber. This left only the hatedom to remain. Touring eventually died down because no one wanted to see them, Jonas L.A. was unceremoniously cancelled due to low ratings, and they faded into near-obscurity. And by then, even their hatedom had shifted their focus over to Bieber. In 2013, they released their first single in years, "Pom Poms," in hopes of reclaiming the crown they lost to Bieber, but by then it was too late, as even he wasn't the reigning idol anymore. On top of the world now was a new face of the Boy Band movement — One Direction. That October, they broke up for good, but the response averted And There Was Much Rejoicing — by that point, they had long since been irrelevant to the extent where most people didn't even know about it. And as for the woman who upset them at the Grammys? She became a much bigger star than they ever were, and now the only year there is more unanimous agreement the right act won the award was in 1965 when The Beatles triumphed.

    There was actually a happy ending for two of the members. Face of the Band Nick Jonas has since gone on a solo career with a mature Contemporary R&B sound that has nothing in common with what the Jonas Brothers sounded like, scored Billboard hits such as "Jealous" and "Chains", and has found success in acting, starring in the drama series Kingdom and the horror-comedy Scream Queens (2015). However, he has been very careful to distance himself from his involvement with Disney and the Jonas Brothers. Joe Jonas has also had a fair bit of success. In 2015, he formed a new band called DNCE with former Jonas Brothers touring members, namely Jack Lawless on drums and JinJoo Lee on guitar, as well as Cole Whittle of Semi Precious Weapons on bass. They have a funky disco sound and visited the Top 10 in 2016 with "Cake by the Ocean". Only time will tell if they will be thought of as a One-Hit Wonder. As for Kevin Jonas? He wasn't so lucky. As it stands, the Jonas Brothers are seen as yet another victim of the Disney Star Machine that has been going on for at least 60 years, forgotten by even their former fans. It's unlikely that they'll ever reform, as the band has been basically disowned by the members themselves.
  • In 1989 and 1990, German pop duo Milli Vanilli was one of the biggest pop acts on the planet. Best known for their hit singles "Girl You Know It's True," "Blame It on the Rain," and "Girl I'm Gonna Miss You," the group managed to sell over 6 million copies of their North American debut album Girl You Know It's True over the course of a few months. In February of 1990 they were awarded the Grammy Award for Best New Artist. They were on top of the world.

    There was just one problem, though: the duo's members, Rob Pilatus and Fabrice "Fab" Morvan, didn't actually sing their own material on the album. Over the course of 1990, after a series of onstage lip-syncing mistakes (highlighted by a Repetitive Audio Glitch) and an MTV interview in which they displayed a spectacularly poor grasp of the English language (much worse than on their album), rumors began to circulate that Pilatus and Morvan weren't the real singers. When their manager confessed in November 1990 that the rumors were true, there was a huge public backlash against the band, with 27 lawsuits demanding refunds being filed, their Grammy Award being revoked, and Arista Records deleting their music from their archives, putting them out of print (probably the highest-selling act to do so). Milli Vanilli's popularity collapsed overnight, and for the next several years they were only brought up as the butt of jokes by stand-up comedians. They would not make headlines again until 1998, when Pilatus was found dead of an apparent drug overdose in a hotel room. Today, Morvan has gone solo, releasing a couple of surprisingly decent albums and singles and even recording new songs with one of the original vocalists in Milli Vanilli.
  • In the early '70s, the Osmonds were the biggest band on Earth: a truly commercial success that spawned both hit singles as well as a family TV show. They were even considered to be the main rival of The Jackson Five. Yet the band called it quits around 1973. Nowadays, while The Jackson Five continues to be popular even among younger listeners, the Osmond members not named Donny and Marie are forgotten by anyone who isn't old enough to remember the '70s. Seeing their bubblegum pop music is not exactly the greatest music around they are nothing but Nostalgia Filter for people from that generation. However, members Donny and Marie found later success as solo artists that are still remembered and beloved today.
  • The Spice Girls were one of the few British pop groups between The '80s and The New Tens to successfully cross The Pond and make it big in the United States. At their peak from 1996 to 1998, they were everywhere. "Wannabe" and "Spice Up Your Life" were inescapable, "Girl Power" was the slogan of a whole generation of tween girls, and the movie Spice World was an inexplicable blockbuster hit (albeit a huge critical disaster). Wikipedia's article on them refers to that period of time, unironically, as "Spicemania". They remain the highest-selling Girl Group of all time even after their backlash...and oh, what a backlash. By 2000 Geri Halliwell was long gone from the group, their album Forever was shaping up to be nothing short of a disappointment, and all of the remaining members were pursuing solo careers. Today, the band is chiefly remembered for its campiness and flamboyance, and its members are better known for their work and lives after the Spice Girls, though they almost always still have "Former Spice Girl" attached to their name at some point. The only ones to remain in the public eye (outside the UK at least) are Victoria Adams, who married soccer player David Beckham, and Melanie Brown, who is a judge on America's Got Talent.
  • British boy band The Wanted exploded onto the music scene in 2010 with their single "All Time Low". The song debuted at #1 on the UK charts and set the stage for the first big boy band sensation since Blue. Teenage girls went crazy over the fivesome, as they sold out arenas all over the country and a hugely successful debut album. 2011 proved to be even bigger, as they had a huge hit charity single for Red Nose Day and started to gain a following around the world. Even the emergence of a rival boy band in One Direction did little to slow their popularity down, as it only set the scene for what appeared to be the 21st century version of the Take That vs. East 17 or Boyzone vs. Westlife wars. In fact, the only thing that was left for The Wanted to do was conquer North America. Indeed, that's exactly what happened with their song "Glad You Came," which hit #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became the highest charting song by a British boy band in history.

    But once 1D arrived stateside, the wheels began to fall apart. The Wanted's only major flaw at the time was that they were getting a little too old to be promoted as a boy band. This went by unnoticed until their newfound American fanbase realized that there was a nearly identical but younger and more charming group to like instead. Suddenly, The Wanted came off as a fading group of washed-up has-beens rather than a rising boy band. The Wanted's fans quickly flocked over to One Direction, and the fanbase they had left continued to wither away as reports of their bad attitudes came into light following reports of them hurling derogatory insults at celebrities like Christina Aguilera and the fact that they were using their egos to promote themselves rather than having their popularity grow naturally. As a result, while 1D's Up All Night exploded out of the gate and became one of the best-selling albums of the year, The Wanted's self-titled EP stumbled and collapsed down the charts in a flash. By the time they released their next single, "Chasing the Sun" (promoted with a Video Full of Film Clips from Ice Age: Continental Drift), their international popularity was dead in the water.

    At least they had their original British fans left, right? Not exactly. One Direction's newfound global superstardom greatly heightened their domestic profile, and the two rivals were starting to look far less even. When reports about The Wanted's attitudes and their fans realizing their day in the sun was up, the British fanbase started to leave in droves. While "I Found You" was another big hit, it didn't do nearly as well as their old songs, and follow-ups did increasingly worse until "We Own the Night" barely made the top 10. Not helping matters was that The Wanted focused more on recapturing their American glory (even calling a song "Show Me Love (America)") than keeping their British fans happy. Additionally, their reality show, The Wanted Life, was viewed as a last-resort attempt to remain relevant and became one of the biggest flops in E! Network history. When they released their album Word of Mouth in 2013, consumers responded by making it a monumental worldwide flop (not helping was the fact that it contained many of their older songs). Sales were so bad that the group was quickly dropped from Island Records and broke up shortly afterwards. The Wanted are today almost completely forgotten even in their native UK, with any memories of them only being related to being "that 2010s British boy band who aren't One Direction." The youngest member, Nathan Sykes, has started to focus on his solo career. While fairly successful back home so far, notching two Top 20 singles, his success across the Atlantic has been limited exclusively to the dance charts.

  • Before performing a cover of Madonna's "Material Girl" in one of her 2009 concerts, Sarah Slean remarked that it was a song emblematic of 1980s greed and that it sounded grotesque in the era of The Great Recession. (Apparently, no one ever told her that "Material Girl" actually amounts to a repudiation of that lifestyle if you listen closely to the lyrics and watch the video. In fact, it's the combination of that particular Misaimed Fandom and the fact that "the Material Girl" became the media's default nickname for her that had led to Madonna being more than a little sick of the song.)
  • "Sugar, Sugar" by the Archies was the best-selling song of 1969. Today, when it is remembered, it's used to show that there was bad pop music in every decade, not just in today's music; such as on A Dose Of Buckley, for example. Platypus Comix also took time out of its review of the CBS special Archie And His New Pals (also from 1969) to discuss how out-of-touch the Archie band's music was at that point.
    Before you risk having ["You Need An Image"] stuck in your head all day (and it WILL happen), keep this in mind: rock and roll was still considered "rebellious" and good music was not popular with the establishment yet. Woodstock was last month [at the time the special aired]. Songs by the Archies tend to be soft, bland and parent-pleasing. There'll be no edgy "Yakity Yak" lyrics here! Somehow, this did not stop an Archie single, "Sugar Sugar," from inexplicably reaching the Top Forty in the 60's...and the Archie company has NEVER LET ITS READERS FORGET THIS. When I was reading the comics in the 90's, the Archies were still depicted singing "Sugar Sugar" to a screaming crowd of fans, as if nothing in the world had changed.
  • The classic Christmas song "Baby, It's Cold Outside" was actually seen as progressive in its day, due to the woman choosing to stay with the man despite what the neighbors might say about her reputation. The way the woman never actually says that she doesn't want to stay the night was unusually forward according to the values of the time, while the line "what's in this drink?" was originally the woman's attempt to blame her behavior on the alcohol. Unfortunately, Values Dissonance (particularly the invention of roofies and similar drugs) has warped the song's lyrics and made them far more uncomfortable for younger generations, who view them as questionably Date Rape-y. As a result, it's seen as a song about a man pressuring a woman into sex, and possibly drugging her to do so. Many modern covers of the song either Bowdlerise it or play it with tongue firmly in cheek.
  • A more modern Christmas example would be the Band Aid II and Band Aid 20 versions of "Do They Know It's Christmas?". They were definitely not as successful as the original, but the former managed to top the UK and Ireland charts, and the latter was more successful, becoming a hit in multiple countries and repeating the original's feat of topping the end-of-year charts in the UK. However, when the causes they stood for at the time are put aside, they didn't hold up in terms of popularity like the original over the years. The original was a definite Love It or Hate It affair, with some finding both the concept and the song itself questionable (Africa has a pretty large Christian population; many of them do have calendars and know it is Christmas, but celebrate it as a reverent holiday rather than the Western's commercial-faced gift-giving celebration), but those who liked it genuinely thought well of it, so much that any re-recording was bound to be negatively compared to the original. II dated extremely fast to the point of being absolutely cringeworthy now, while 20 is considered a forgettable So Okay, It's Average number at best. Time will tell if this also applies to the Band Aid 30 recording.
  • Another Christmas song: when it was released in 2000, "The Christmas Shoes" by the Christian Rock band NewSong became a massive crossover hit with secular listeners, topping the Adult Contemporary chart in the US and reaching #42 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song received cover versions and a novelization that was adapted into a Made-for-TV Movie. These days, it frequently shows up on lists of the worst Christmas songs of all time, mainly for its glurge-y lyrics that paint a very twisted portrait of the True Meaning of Christmas (which Patton Oswalt devoted a stand-up routine to tearing apart and making fun of). Because of the song's reputation, the song gets rarely played nowadays on radio stations during the holidays, not even on Christian radio.
  • Billy London's music video Woman was played on the mainstream Belgian music show Hitring, which indicates that it was popular. Judging from the only music video about it it seems that only British animators are still invested in his musical work.
  • Eric Prydz's "Call on Me" was a major hit when it debuted in 2004, to the point where it was near-impossible to turn on any mainstream radio station and not hear it played at least a couple of times each day. Nowadays the song isn't entirely forgotten by any means, but you'd be hard-pressed to find many people who remember what a major part of pop culture it was considered to be in the mid-00s. The trope applies far more to the accompanying music video, which was widely hailed as one of the most daring videos of all-time and almost as omnipresent as the song itself; in the years since, however, many have come to view the video as not having a whole lot to it outside of filming a woman's ass while she exercises.

    Fictional Examples 
  • Megadeth's two "Hangar 18"-themed songs ("Hangar 18" and "Return To Hangar") have this happen to the fictional "Hangar 18" facility. In "Hangar 18," it's a thriving, high-powered cryogenics laboratory with state of the art technology and excellent security. In the song's "sequel," however, it's a forgotten wasteland, abandoned when a team of cryogenic test subjects broke free and wreaked havoc on the facility. The song's rather dark and dreary tone (compared with the original's more upbeat and energetic tone) helps to represent this unfortunate turn of events.