How long is a ball of string? It’s always something going through my head when around experienced creative types with proven track records and being challenged to think differently. Come up with ideas. It forces one to be at the top of their game. It’s not the time to play a hand with Jack high and pray to hell it’s high enough.
It happened last weekend in Sentosa at a Think Tank session comprising a couple of people in music, a few from technology, others in marketing aka “social media”, and sports and sponsorship marketing and management. No HR people needed. No need for those who have a new idea every nanu second and hope something sticks.
Let’s try to make some sense out of all this. Or at least find solutions. We know the problems. One major problem: Unless a (Sir) Lucian Grange, or a Simon Cowell, Jimmy Iovine, Jay-Z, perhaps Daniel Ek- or any of the other big Poohbahs in the music business- and those established artists who were complete unknowns with no direction of home until plucked from obscurity by those with the intuitive A&R skills to hear something special in their music, many very good artists fell through the cracks. Or else didn’t become as big as they should have.The band Low Millions come to mind. And Athlete. Starsailor. Placebo. Moriarty.
It’s been mentioned enough, especially over the last couple of years: In music, the really big money up for grabs is by appearing in the tsunami of television singing competitions that have again suddenly swept across Mainland China. This big dosh is in being a celebrity judge or being a contestant who has a certain track record.
Writing this with a repeat of Britain’s Got Talent flickering in the background and some random Spotify Playlist playing what could be described as “coffee shop music” while thinking about one particular well-known name dropping music blogger who is clueless about the world outside of America writing incessantly about embracing new technology and The New, but then goes on and on about the need for artists to tour and how touring gave the Grateful Dead their loyal Deadheads shows just how unfocused, hypocritical and confusing trying to make a career out of music has become. All the excitement and enthusiasm seems to have been sucked out and replaced with bland clutter and speaking in the vagaries of circles.
Trying to make a livelihood out of music today is almost an impossibility. Or so it seems. To those who’ve worked in music companies run as successful businesses by visionaries like Ahmet Ertegun and Chris Blackwell and grown up watching, and even getting to know, unknown artists become legends, it’s easy to come across being know-it-all windbags and dreadful bores in the process.
When under attack, the best form of defence is to attack. This seems lost on Racing Victoria’s Dad’s Army that limps along licking its wounds even when the ship has sunk and Humpty Dumpty has become an omelette.
With someone having now made the time to produce a video lampooning the Aquanita scandal and which has gone “viral” by horse racing standards, the strategy seems to be about turning the udder cheek.