Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Corporate Rock Rules OK

You know how it is; there are just some things that start to niggle away at you. Not so long ago, there were two such incidents that started the red lights flashing in my consciousness.
A) Amber warning – the debut of a new musical based on the classical Shakespearean story of Romeo and Juliet, set to the music of Boney M (no, I’m not joking).
B) Red warning – a business corporate event was to be held whereby clients would be entertained at a Madonna concert.

The growing implication here is that the world of rock ‘n’ roll, once the preserve of the young, is now firmly in the grip of the establishment. In the first example, a well known story is dumbed down by the addition of music produced by one of the most cringeworthy bands of all time and in the second, a pop event is hijacked by people who are less interested in pop music and more interested in furthering their own business interests. Let’s leave aside Madonna’s credentials as corporate entertainment for the moment, especially after the monstrosity that was Live Earth.

The effect of such events is to raise entry prices by increasing demand backed by corporate expense accounts, at the cost of the true fan, who is priced out of the market.

Of course, this sort of thing has been going on in the field of sport for years. In the 1980s, I attended the Formula 1 British Grand Prix at Silverstone only to find that whilst I was squashed in to a small area with countless others, there was a large area of the trackside roped off for corporate entertainment. The enclosure was empty as all the invitees were drinking themselves stupid in a tent some distance from the track.

But to find this sort of thing happening to rock music is somehow profoundly depressing. I look forward to a time when great swathes of auditoriums worldwide are permanently vacant whilst us true fans fight for a view of our heroes from the ‘restricted view’ areas. And all for a month’s pay per ticket. My feeling is that it won’t be long.

Somehow, I can’t imagine watching the Who circa 1966 or the Clash circa 1977 under these conditions and it just seems to underline how the insidious creep of corporatisation has affected the music industry without anybody really noticing.

1 comment:

TR1-Guy said...

I'll tell you, seeing tickets over $100USD as a norm has turned me off completely. My first concert was George Harrison's only tour in 1973 as he stopped by Chicago. It was held at the old Chicago Stadium where you could light up anything and not be busted. The concert was attended by about 10,000 fans who paid about $7 (in 1973 this is about $30 in today's money). No logos, no expense accounts, just true fans. But as record company greed increased and artist's took more control of their earnings, the "profit" is taken out of the fan's pockets. But when the average Joe can't afford $100 and up tickets, enter in the corporate giants like American Express, et al, and they pay to have their logos attached to the tour and for the "priviledge" of having members have front row seats... and as you've pointed out these usually are people who go just to say they were there and don't give a crap about the artist and the fans behind them.

I have stopped going to concerts unless it is at a smaller venue and where the artist still can play to true fans... us, not the corporate idiots that ruin this world of ours.

Soap box put away. Nice comment by the way!