Watching the annual BRIT awards last week, a few thoughts struck me which I thought I would share with you.
Firstly, in the current economic climate, is it really a good idea to have the event sponsored by Mastercard? The majority of the audience demographic for the Brits is surely young people and students, who are already likely to be swamped with debts like student loans. If we are meant to be tightening our belts and addressing the issue of irresponsible borrowing, this is not an appropriate message.
The recipients of the awards this year came as no great surprise; I have no complaints about Kasabian receiving their just desserts as best British Group.. its been a long time since a band of this quality came to prominence. Dizzee Rascal, Florence and the Machine, Lily Allen, JLS and Lady Gaga have also all proved themselves over the past year and display a good variety of talent. However, there did seem to be a disproportionate number of female victors and nominees this year which prompted me to wonder why?
Could the increase of female artists in recent times also be related to the economic climate? Personally, I believe this to be the case. Due to the changes in the music industry over the last few years, there is now much less money to be made by the artists. Being a rock and roll star or a pop star is no longer a guarantee of millions in the bank, with sales being a tiny fraction of what they were 20 years ago. A number one single will no longer make you rich overnight. So is the preponderance of females to do with the fact that music is now seen as a more suitable career for girls? The issues that make women lower paid in the workplace compared to males, like the risk they will leave to have babies, or be less reliable due to childcare issues mean that women in the music industry are less likely to complain about the lower rewards. Also the majority of female pop acts keep a whole host of other people in work, from songwriters and producers to stylists and hairdressers. The traditional male band is likely to do much more of the writing and producing themselves, and have less need or desire for hair and make-up!
I could be way off the mark here; the other possibilty is that the large amount of women is merely a reflection of the band-waggon jumping done by A&R men following the success of Lily Allen and other female artists like Little Boots. If that is the case, I can reliably inform you that A&R departments everywhere have currently been briefed to seek out ‘proper bands’ rather than solo artists, so in the next couple of years the Brits should be full of young mixed sex bands.
Finally, a word about poor old Robbie Williams (as he shall be known in future!). Is it just me, or has he completely lost it? In the past I would be the first to defend Robbie against his critics, on the grounds that he had charisma and showmanship if nothing else, but now he seems to have lost these qualities and has been reduced to providing a Karaoke backing track for the audience to sing along to. The look in his eyes is a bit desperate; he acts like a parody of himself and the conviction he used to have seems to have evapourated, as though he knows he’s selling us a crock of s**t. Poor old Robbie!