DEBATE ARTICLE - "HAS THE INTERNET MADE IT TOO EASY TO BE A MUSIC STAR?"
You hear all the stories in history how the great bands and singers had to work hard, learn their craft in dives and downbeat clubs and bars, sometimes facing torrents of abuse and violent attacks. The clubs that made their names introducing historical artists, in those days the only way you could hear bands was on the radio or actually live (some of today's artists just don't know how to put on a show or play live anymore!). CBGBs of New York, The Marquee Club in London, The Cavern in Liverpool, First Avenue and 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis, Whisky A-Go-Go in Los Angeles, The Hacienda in Manchester and Blitz in London and many more all made or broke artists.
Reaching the top 100 chart was a major achievement for up and coming bands as it meant they had a following. Making people go out and buy 100,000 or 1 million copies of your single or album was a major feat. Now you can just make a YouTube video to get a record deal!
I used to record the Top 40 every Sunday night on Radio 1 in the UK. Any singles that really hit me I would save up my pocket money and go out and buy what I could the next weekend. Albums were a lot more expensive so maybe I would ask for them for my birthdays or Christmas. Seeing an artist on TV or a video being shown was a major thing for us in the 70s and 80s. Since writing my blog I have discovered so many artists' music that wasn't always played on radio.
So I know what you are thinking, why I am I moaning about the internet in music because I wouldn't be able to write this blog if it wasn't here, with all the new artists I find. True, but I also realise how bad the chart music is and how much really good, original music is being ignored and left out in the cold because the "popular" artists are just releasing what they like as downloads or streaming and it is making the chart look very ordinary.
Imagine how great all the artists of the 60s, 70s and 80s would be if they had the internet today. They all had to fight to be heard, now all you have to do is put your music on iTunes and someone might hear your new song.
Pop Idol, X-Factor and all these shows have given an easy platform for "stars", although most have fell by the wayside since being in these shows. Simon Cowell has made a career out of putting records out by these very average singers, making a bit of money and then dumping them. There is the occasional bright light in these shows but for some reason they get "voted" out so are never heard.
Downloading was better when it was illegal, because when you downloaded the songs and liked them you more often than not actually went out and bought the official stuff. Now people don't want to own music anymore in a physical form, they just stream and it is less personal. I now only buy cds of my very favourite artists, pretty much how I did in the "old" days. It means more.
Another reason I do my blog is to give new artists a push, they all don't have the publishing power of someone like Jay-Z or Puff Daddy, Diddy or whoever he is now. All that Rn'B stuff is so stale and boring, they all sound the same. The rappers make no sense, nobody hears the words, unlike the Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel classics. We have had to suffer Oasis, Radiohead, Muse, Coldplay while there are original unkown fantastic bands out there playing some inventive sounding Rock. Taping the Top 40 was brilliant, barely a song was left out unless it ws really awful. Variety was the spice of life, that art has gone, just take a look at the charts, just the top 10 and see what I mean. They are all vaguely similar.
My annoyance is that some of today's "stars" thanks to constant downloading and streaming are being hailed as legends among real legends when they are just a parody of the pre-Internet hard working superstars.