Internet killed the video star

I was thinking about what content to use for my next blog when I got involved in a debate on Facebook regarding bands not being played showcased on primetime TV anymore. This stemmed from a clip of The Inspiral Carpets performing on The Word back in the early 90s. Rather than summarise the debate between myself and Mark Knowles (owner of Bar 42, Worthing) I’ve posted it below for you to read and leave your thoughts on?:

Original Post : Mark  Two things…
First of all this is Tom Hingley and Inspiral Carpets back in the day. He’ll be here singing acoustic versions of all their tunes on December 3rd.
Secondly, where is all the music on telly now, huh? The Word, Top of the Pops, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, TFI Friday even Soccer AM had bands on talking about football. Chat shows had bands too. We have nothing now. 25 years ago I knew all the bands in the charts but I wasn’t really that interested in it all. Literally just chart stuff. These days people like me are growing up without music. It’s only the people who are actively interested in it that go and find it. This needs to change really quickly!

Me I remember these programmes fondly but the fact is people don’t watch TV in the same way anymore, they want to watch what they want to watch when they want to watch it. Theres plenty of great online content such as Noise Reel for one

Mark That’s my point entirely. People don’t want to watch it. They aren’t interested. People wouldn’t advertise if people actually paid attention and looked for products. Advertising pushing products on to people who don’t realise they might want it or need it. Music isn’t getting pushed on anyone. It’s just there for people who want it. The music scene in the UK is like it is because of that.

Me Supply and demand. People don’t watch mainstream TV anymore as a rule. There is still plenty of music on TV just not the traditional channels. Theres a whole channel dedicated to specifically the local scene even

Mark Interest in the local scene is at an all time low. It’s definitely in the background these days. It’s great to have a channel dedicated to it but it can’t be done with that or venues/promoters alone. The UK scene needs to raise interest and someone needs to think of some innovative ideas. Personally I think a band X-Factor for original music would be huge and help the music scene on a national level. There should be money in it too for the people who need to make money!

Me The X Factor makes its money from the TV show not the artists, the artists rarely break into the market. A TV show as such would do little for bands and the bands that chose to get involved would be dulled down and independent music given a bad name. There is a local music scene and some of us are trying to get it out into the mainstream. Supporting local internet stations / TV stations is an innovative way to consume music. I don’t think there’s a need for a national TV show. There are other reasons support for live music has dwindled but that’s mainly due to property developers and councils

Mark I’m not talking about making the bands bigger. I’m talking about showing people how good the bands on the local circuits are. People think that bands who play at free gigs or for 40 quid on tour are shit. National TV coverage of these bands would prove to people they aren’t shit and are worth going to see.

Me But a national TV show wouldn’t work because it would dumb down this music for the masses. These local resources such as Bmusic are accessible to all, that’s why its vital that links to these sites are shared on your timeline, that’s how you’ll get people to see how good local music is. If us musos share this info with our less musically inclined friends on a regular basis they start to find a way to access this music

Mark It wouldn’t if it was done properly. Bands playing live, original music on a TV show. It used to happen all the time. People could vote for their favourite which would make them feel part of the process. It would raise interest and people might actually head out to a gig that isn’t a cover band or be interest in something other than what is basically karaoke.

top-of-the-pops-alex-james-oasis-blur

Me They wouldn’t, they’d stay in and watch the TV programme! Its like the X factor, people spend their weeks voting for these artists and then when the artists release something no one buys it

Mark That’s because the winners of the karaoke competitions don’t play anywhere. Because it’s karaoke. When they do tours people do actually go. Reason being people in UK like famous stuff and they think famous is being on telly. So put bands on telly to a wider audience.

Me Doesn’t work like that though because you wouldn’t get people wanting to watch people playing music they don’t know. Dumbing down the bands and getting them to do covers is the only way it would work and then that defeats the whole object

Mark There are some good scenes around the UK for certain genres but generally the UK is terrible compared to the continent. Whatever is done needs to happen on a national level, not local. Locally it’s a thankless task but it is improving. A national push would boost it much quicker. There are loads of reasons why the scene isn’t great but the main one is the lack of interest. I see it every week.

Me Compared to the continent it certainly is not. I’ve travelled and lived in many countries and the scene here is still second to no one. Address the property owners and council regulators and you’ll go some way to tackling the problem but things aren’t done at national levels anymore. Local movements online is the way forward for music scenes in this country, it works and I see that every week too. The Brighton music scene has a healthy online presence and its no surprise that the music scene in Brighton is still relatively strong compared to other parts of the country

Mark People go to gigs to see bands they know and that’s it. I remember only one gig where people stayed for all the bands (that’s outside of metal gigs which are usually really good) I would say Brighton isn’t a good scene. Promoters need to choose bands who draw a crowd and not bands that are actually good and that’s because people wouldn’t go. I know many, many bands who say the same. I know many, many bands who say the scene on the continent particularly in Germany/Holland/Belgium shits on the UK. They get money, sell merch and have people taking an interest. I know foreign bands that can’t afford to tour here any more as the money is just not here as the crowds are so dreadful.

Me Possibly true but having a national TV show isn’t the answer. Bands have a lot to play in this, you’re absolutely correct about the metal scene in Brighton, Its well supported but metal in general has always been on the outskirts of popular music so maybe it’s created its own live subculture because of it? Metal gigs and bands appear to promote themselves better bringing march to gigs etc. Metal fans also seem to support the scene in general more going to see metal gigs and not just specific bands but that’s not to say other genres aren’t supported. I still think online promotion is the way forward and lobbying the government to get behind legislation to save music venues. Other than that it is down to promoters and venues to ensure that gigs and events are well promoted by all involved

Just to clarify Mark is happy for me to post this as he, like myself, knows the importance of healthy debate particularly around the local music scene. We are all on the same page at the end of the day trying to make a scene we can all be proud of. It’s ok to disagree on the causes but we all have a part to play in the future of the live music scene in this country. I’m not sure the days of ‘Top Of The Pops’, ‘The Chart Show’, ‘The Tube’ gracing our TV screens will ever return as TV as we know it has changed immeasurably but it would be nice to think that guitar bands will make they’re way back onto mainstream TV. Whatever happens there is a new generation of music consumers online that we need to be reaching and the opportunities to do this exist like never before. Bands can get involved in making their own content and reaching their public directly through social media. Online music shows such as BMusic are bring local talent to a wider audience and this is where I think the future of music promotion lies.

What do you think? Please get involved and comment under the blog, I’d love to hear your views!

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