The Talent Succubus

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If you are in a band, you must beware the Talent Succubus. The Talent Succubus will offer you many things, and even appear to deliver on those promises, but at great cost — such a cost that will never be recouped once the Talent Succubus has moved on to his next victim.


It is a misconception that Succubi must be women. The Talent Succubus — luckily, there appears to be only one, at least that we know of — has chosen a man as his form. He is a handsome man, though the standard thirst for sex is not what he is after. He has no particular interest in sexuality, though he has been known to partake. As implied by his name, the Talent Succubus instead thirsts only for talent and takes all he can have without replenishing the supply. When it is gone, he is removed from the picture — either by himself or by the prey deciding “to go another direction”, but the damage is done, and the vessel remains empty.

Know how the Talent Succubus operates. He comes upon a band — a band of great talent, as those provide the best, largest meals — and gives them an offer. He will help them have the biggest hits of their career with an MOR sound, calculated to appeal to the broadest spectrum of listeners. The temptation is strong — perhaps a band has had several hits before but their successes have lay fallow for some time, or perhaps a band has had some minor successes but have been more popular with critics than the masses. Perhaps they are faced with being dropped by their label; perhaps they merely want to retaste what they lost, perhaps they are just greedy. However, the result is always the same.

The Talent Succubus is many things, but he is not a liar. He will provide the hit that he promised. Sometimes as many as three. The hits will be massively popular and stay around for years. However, the sound of the hits will be drastically different from the previous material. The rough edges will be smoothed out, as will any particular quirks that made the band what they were. If they have a signature sound, it will be replaced via other instruments or remixing or both. If they are bombastic, the bombast will be stripped away, leading only to a slight smirk at best, a smirk that soon fades.

However, once the Talent Succubus has been sated and moves on, the changes made by him shall remain for years. The formula developed by him no longer works — it was a product only of its time, and as the times change, the bands, sapped of their musical lifeforce, refuse to change with it. They keep doing the same things that worked for them a few years prior, but with every bit of the baseline talent removed, it doesn’t work.

At this stage, while the Talent Succubus has moved on to a new mark, the previous victims try various things — sometimes they break-up. Other times they try to move back to their previous sound, but the memories of the successes with the Talent Succubus remain and taint that move, attempting to temper the old sound with the now-dated sound the Talent Succubus developed, pleasing no one. Once left from the grasp of the Talent Succubus, and due to the vagaries of the Music Industry itself depriving the band of the full complement of royalties due from the hit or hits, the best the bands can hope for is the oldies circuit, re-doing their past successes — again, typically from the pre-Talent Succubus-era, however with the talent gone, leaving only a pale shell of what the music used to be, leaving only a sad husk of music barely suitable for even nostalgia.

The Talent Succubus, however, does not care.
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He has fed and made lots of money as well. The money often leads to the illusion of reputation which leads to the steady influx of future meals. The Talent Succubus does not ever have to suffer. The Talent Succubus cares only for himself and the Talent Succubus is pleased.

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