Re. "Shows are out of touch and out of time" article May 6th by Christopher Dunkley

Mr. Dunkley’s article was certainly interesting and thought provoking but I think he was identifying a symptom of the current music industry rather than addressing its cause.

In recent years all the major music labels seem to have made their target demographic audience a smaller, and younger part of the population. Whereas 10 years ago their main audiences might have been in the grouping of 15 to 25 or 30 year olds, it is now 12 to 18 year olds, at best! It’s like shooting fish in barrel – there’s no great secret in selling melancholic, or image reinforcing, music to teenagers!

There are two main reasons for this. The sort of music which is essentially being force fed to this small demographic is cheap to produce (in terms of studio time and recording techniques) and easy to market because the target audience is so small. Most labels seem to be adopting a, rather absurd, policy that music becomes unimportant to people as they grow older. What actually happens is that their tastes diversify and it therefore becomes slightly more difficult (read more costly) for the labels to keep that audience informed of new releases.

Record companies are famed for their short-sighted policies and this is one of them, as they are effectively ignoring a market that has a much larger disposable income than their main target demographic. Instead, they focus on established artists (often with repacked older material) which take little effort to promote to a slightly older audience as they are already very well known to the listener.

I think many people will agree that the advent of the internet is changing this as slightly older listeners have easy access to much more information on new releases and new artists and can immediate purchase items via on-line stores. But record labels have not woken up to this market, and continue to minimise any potential risks by relentless pumping their "easy market" with artists and music that can be quickly pigeonholed. It is little wonder that many record labels are reporting reduced earnings and failing to maximise their potential markets.

Ian McIntosh,

Editor,
AOR Basement on-line magazine (http://www.aorbasement.com)