If we are to believe the popular press, Simon Cowell and Co. have killed music. It is stone dead and beyond resuscitation. Should we believe that this is the case?
Last week, Radio 1 ran their annual New Music Week. They hand over the airwaves to specialist DJs who bring non-chart music to the masses. There would seem to be no shortage of this new music, suggesting that music is not dead. The problem seems to be that the music industry cannot market what is available effectively.
The BBC used to run Top of The Pops, their flagship music programme aimed at teens. It was most kids’ exposure to pop music (apart from taping the top 40 on a Sunday). They were somewhat guided in their purchases. Now they have more music channels than they can watch, Internet radio and the ability to access almost any song instantaneously. Bands can engage with their fans in ways that they could not have imagined when I was a teenager. Artists can produce and distribute from their own bedrooms. There is no need for a record deal in the digital age.
And this is exactly why labels will say music is dying. Because of teenagers huddled over their MacBooks laying down their beats, sending it to their friends via Facebook who send it to their friends ad infinitum. If you are a singer/songwriter all you need is a webcam and a good broadband connection.
Music is far from dead, it is where it belongs – with the masses. Get on YouTube, legally download some tunes (hey, musicians need to make a living too), and embrace the revolution.
Let the music live!