Selena Gomez And Why The Slipstream Is The Place To Be

I have a theory that culture is so fragmented and detached we can’t even agree on who’s famous anymore. It’s a generational theory thing. If you’re building status for yourself or your company, OR if you’re just curious why you feel like you’re on an island all of the damn time, let’s talk about…

Selena Gomez. 

Note however you just thought the word, “Her?” or “Who?” or “HER?!” in your head. Whatever tone or inflection your voice read her name with, oh just try it again. Pay attention to how it sounds and feels, “Selena Gomez.” 

Let’s go a level deeper. With a statement. Selene Gomez is the biggest popstar in the world in 2023. 

Some of you are still saying, “Who?” Others are saying, “Yes, obviously.” Just know that, wherever you are on the Selena spectrum, the range is WIDE. 

Joe Coscarelli has the facts to support the claim. “Selena Gomez is the most followed person on Instagram who is not a professional soccer player. She’s almost so big that we forget to mention her” [when we talk about popstars].

Jon Caramanica has the key follow-up question. “Is there a signature Selena Gomez hit that is not derivative or in the orbit of a bigger, more meaningful hit?”

To which Coscarelli expertly responds, “No. But, that might be the most sustainable place to be.” Caramanica adds, “To always be catching the draft of the fastest car?” “Yes. Selena Gomez is in the pop culture slipstream and always has been.” 

You can watch the clip or the full conversation (below), but I want to highlight this statement and how it applies to today:

The slipstream is the most sustainable place to be. 

It’s an artifact of social media. It’s definitely a generational theory thing. And it’s as relevant to however connected or disconnected you feel to the opening statement, as it is to whatever community you’re building, protecting, or hoping to find.

A “star” like Selena exists today for the same reason Bowie said he wouldn’t be getting into music in the late ’90s (when she was what, 7?!). Dominant personality-driven hits just aren’t as sustainable these days. Riding in the slipstream of the risk-takers is. And those risk-takers shoot up and fall off FAST. 

Take shots. Chase shots. Timely strategies for chart pops and hopeful pop-stars. 

But seeing the slipstream and thinking of ways to occupy it, it’s a timeless strategy for the biggest stars of all mediums. 

The question is, as the era shifts, will artists like Selena ever pull into the lead? Drake, Swift, Beyoncé, etc. are rare for obvious reasons. Do we get more Bowie’s in the years ahead? 

What about you – if you’re building, protecting, or hoping to find community, how is it different today than it was 20 or 40 years ago? How do you think it will be different in 5, or 10, or more years, if you’re looking forward like Bowie?

(below the podcast is probably my favorite uber-derivative Selena song. and holy crap there’s some depth to this video concept!)