Saturday, February 19, 2005

"Video Killed the Radio Star"

Now, I'm not adding this song because I feel my life would be immeasurably poorer without it. But I did hear it recently, and was paying attention to it for once; maybe the lyric doesn't particularly make sense, but there is a feel about the song that I tapped into, a sort of grumpy-old-man vibe.
We music fans don't really have an awful lot of influence when it comes to what we get to hear. I mean, how often is it these days that a band gets together in someone's basement, practices hard, gets some gigs and builds a following to the point where the Record Industry can't ignore them any more? And, more relevantly, how often does a band get signed up on the basis of its talent rather than its looks? Let's assume the present-day values of the industry were relevant thirty or forty years ago: would we have got to see Janis Joplin? Richie Havens? Mama Cass? Canned Heat? Carole King? Would the business sign up four older guys who can really play their instruments and write their songs? Well, the Stranglers got signed, and they're no oil paintings.....
I'm aware this is probably stretching things a bit far, but when the industry wants you to see a musician before you hear them perform, then things aren't right.
Thank you. I'll be in the corner, crushing Will Young CDs....

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