Friday, 4 March 2011

Highway To Hello?

As a part-time scribbler for magazines, I get sent press releases via email on a daily basis. Recently, I've been noticing that many of them are worded very similarly. So allow me to give you a glimpse into the inbox of a calloused, highly cynical hack for just a few moments. A typically worded email goes something like this:

Introducing [insert name here; always someone you've never heard of, commonly female and usually coyly misspelt like 'Kandi' or 'Syndii'] an amazing new voice on the R&B scene! Her latest single [insert almost literally anything] was voted 'Most Exciting New Thing' by radio station [i.e. an internet-based radio station with around 17 listeners]. 'Kandi' [or whoever] will be performing [i.e.'miming'] her new single at [insert name of tiny backstreet, London-based clubette] on [probably next week]. RSVP to reserve a press pass [or not, we're not exactly expecting a stampede]. Free bar [this is the clincher – journalists are inveterate alcoholics].

Now I'm all for new talent breaking through, but I wonder where all these young divas are coming from; and, more importantly, who is fronting the money for a professional PR company to distract us merry inksters away from on-line gaming and internet porn for long enough to give a damn? Anyone who has ever tried to release something into the vast emptiness of hyperspace (where no one can hear you scream, let alone play anything nice) will know that it takes a small fortune to launch an artist these days. The figure was recently put at $1M by some overpaid researcher at the BBC and that money has to come from somewhere.

One thing for sure, these would-be pop princesses (not forgetting the occasional prince) are coming from somewhere and I'm pretty sure that it's no longer the club scene like it used to be in the perceived 'good old days'. Their press pictures don't reveal them to be road-weary chanteuses; more like fresh-faced debutantes that you wouldn't think twice about introducing to mother. So is there an academy, an agency or whatever who try the well-worn principal of 'some of this sh*t has to stick' knowing that they only need one hit on their hands to pay for their rabid entrepreneurialism across the board?

It's beyond me...

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