Can a ‘comeback’ in music be specifically defined?

Justin-Timberlake ComebackHaving a successful comeback in music can be a career changing procedure. When executed with precision and quality an artist can reclaim their place in the spotlight (in a possibly more beneficial state than they were before their ‘disappearance’).

However, what specifically is a comeback? Does the oversimplified view of a music artist leaving and returning to the industry with new material justify other comeback scenarios; such as progressing in another market (like acting), taking time to develop and produce new ideas or whether an unsuccessful return to music is still regarded as a comeback? It is a subject that doesn’t really receive much discussion. Although, it is possible that it doesn’t need to be argued. None-the-less it does raise some interesting examples and information that is worth noting!

Famously regarded comebacks bring examples from the likes of Prince, Pink Floyd, Justin Timberlake and Jonny Cash. Each of these musicians had different motives for ‘leaving’ the music industry but they did and decided to make a reappearance to the industry. As already mentioned, many music artists decide to make a career change and show their talents in other media sectors. Films are becoming second homes to those within the music industry; Justin Timberlake is an example that instantly comes to mind. His appearance in cinema-standard films means that his activities never truly left the watchful eye of society.

Another intriguing topic to discuss is how long do artists need to be away from music to be recognised as a comeback when they return? An interesting scenario is this; a band have ‘broken up’, 7 years later they are reunited and then tour; but within these 7 years they still hung out and stayed in contact with fans through social media.

Another band also takes 7 years to release new material but constantly worked together on its production throughout this period but had little to no communication with fans. Are these both regarded as returns to the industry? Also what factors are applied to individual artists in order for them to be categorised as comeback kids? What you do notice though, is that ‘top ten’ lists of comebacks are dominated by bands.

This is just a light-hearted topic that doesn’t really need to explain or add value to the music industry. However it does raise some conversational pieces that are just worth noticing rather than researching! Because maybe a comeback is just how the public feel about an artists’ return and their reasons for doing so or possibly there are not any criteria that have to be met!

We have a number of art-related discussions at ArtRadio and we welcome everyone to become a part of it. If you have an opinion on what you would determine as a comeback from a musician or band, have your say on the subject; upload text and audio responses on

We look forward to sharing with you.


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