|Passion Wins Out at Union Music Debate|
|Written by Tom Tryon|
|Tuesday, 16 October 2012|
Passion was evident from all corners in the Cambridge Union’s music debate on Thursday night. Although the motion was confused, what shone through was each speaker’s yearning for music not to be forgotten in an industry that some felt has neglected its origins.
It’s best to view the night as a collection of fascinating and well-qualified speakers rather than as a debate over whether ‘the music industry is more industry than music.’ Speakers on either side frequently found more common ground with their opponents than those sat alongside them. Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson, whose impassioned speech asserted that the beating heart of the industry was, and always should be, the music, complemented Pete Waterman’s articulate and powerful dressing-down of the way that the industry has become infiltrated with those who only wish to do business. Simon Cowell, he said, ‘wouldn’t know a f****** hit if it hit him on the head’; just one example of the widespread neglect of talent in favour of commercial potential.
Austin Daboh, formerly the music producer at BBC Radio 1Xtra, denied that the situation was quite as dire as others made it out. He told how he had discovered the likes of Ed Sheeran and Tinie Tempah, and how in both cases image had lost out to musical talent. But as 3rd year philosopher Daniel Fruhman pointed out, there are many cases where the opposite is true.
Arctic Monkeys’ manager Colin Lester provided some balance, arguing that whatever the state of the industry, it’s still built on the artists themselves. They are the ones who are rewarded, and they are the source of all the creativity and imagination without which the industry would falter.
Clearly there are different ways of looking at the problem. If you consider the record companies, then yes, they are industrial, a business out to make returns on their investments. Some of the independents genuinely seem to care about the artists and the fans, but they make up a tiny portion of the market.
But is it like this throughout the industry? As Lester and Dickinson made clear, the artists are still the source of everything, and their motivations are indubitably honest and fuelled by a love of music. Yet it is not clear that this passion is easily transferred to the fans.
With the demise of both independent record stores and independent radio stations, and tightening restrictions on online streaming and browsing, do fans get the choice they deserve? Or do the corporations have control over our ears?
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 October 2012 16:15|