Column from April 24th, 2000 edition
Feel inspired this week to talk about a problem that seems to affect many aspects of the current entertainment industry, and now seems to be, worryingly, being applied to the melodic rock market as well.
It's a combination of stifled originality and an emphasis on catching people with a sound bite without having anything to back it up. You see it in the film industry where the title of a film is almost more important that what it's about! This stems from the film companies' marketing groups testing people by asking "would you go and see a film called X" or "would you go and see a film called Y", rather than asking "would you go and see a film about X or Y". Therefore the title is seen as what puts bums on seats! Great policy.
I think we see this as well in the current mainstream music industry. Of course, some music always has been and always will be sold on the image of the band and nothing else, but in the current mainstream it seems that there are hardly any significant differences between maybe two or three main categories of music, and almost everything within those highlighted categories sounds exactly the same. Marketing departments therefore can just keep peddling the same wares over and over again....
Disturbingly, I think we're seeing some of the melodic rock labels following this policy as well. Too many of the current releases sound exactly the same, and nobody seems to understand anything about fostering something even just a little bit different and original. As a result, and I know many of you are feeling this, so many current melodic rock releases sound stagnant, and while the band names might be different, there's precious little to chose between them. If that carries on melodic rock has no future in the long-term anywhere. It's time for someone, someplace to start taking some chances for the sake of art above everything else (sorry if that sounded pretentious!). But then again most of the labels are too worried about losing some money, so that shows what reason they're in it in the first place.....