Friday, February 21, 2014

#Britter

Lo, it came to pass that of the 9 Brits Awards I attempted to predict  I got 6 right, 66%, very similar to last year. It could be stated that the whole thing is a bit predictable. The performances and the speeches are generally safe, the host is usually rubbish and the voting is generally skewed towards ‘rock’ music even if the prevailing trend is overwhelmingly for pop/RnB. Had I thought more about this latter point I’d have predicted less for Disclosure.

It’s always useful to remind yourself what The Brits is now about – publicity in all its forms. It is a showcase for the industry, a big TV production and a chance to be talked about. This year they may have excelled, becoming the most ‘tweeted’ about show in UK TV history – 4.14 million tweets which equates to 78,000 per minute. Given our current obsession with social media this alone would have made the show organisers scream WIN and give James Corden a new contract, which is great news for everyone of course…..

Of course it’s not just that. The show also puts music in front of people in a way that no longer happens on this scale or in prime-time. It makes One Direction fans (those who’ll watch anything that features the band, however briefly) put up with music they’d never otherwise see as they’re otherwise One Dimensional. Being a prime-time show it also attracts people who don’t watch music shows or channels, people whose relationship with music is passive at best.

The presence of the latter usually results in large sales spikes for those acts who are invited to appear and particularly those who win awards. It rarely matters that we might’ve all thought they were crap, derivative or uninspiring. Last year’s sales spikes were particularly impressive – 320% for Ben Howard and even 62% for Emeli Sande and  you thought everyone owned that album already.

In these times of strife for the music industry it’s still hard to knock The Brit Awards, it may not be your cup of tea – or mine – but it is very effective.

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