I’m a cynical old fool when it comes to the record industry, that’s how I survived. I saw it first and foremost as a fan having fun, I thought it was hilarious that someone was going to pay me to indulge in my hobby. At the time I  thought if it lasted six months it would be a great six months and I would have something to tell my grandchildren. It lasted over thirty years, it was lot of fun but it was also a lot of hard work. But then again what’s work when you’re having fun? Nowadays as I ‘hover’ around the music industry I am able to  observe from a distance and let’s face it, I’m bound to make comparisons to how it was back then.  I’m constantly asked, ‘Do you miss it?’ Do I miss what? It’s not the place I learned my trade, it’s an alien ant farm. Desolation row. I don’t sense a vibrance, an energy force waiting to burst through and turn it all around. It isn’t the place where I see mentors emerging and passing on their knowledge. My mentors taught me everything and if I play my part I’ll shout it from the rooftops, I will do all I can to help retain the legacy they left us. They are the true legends from the Engine Room.

There were a good few of us from that era that did it proud though, we LOVED making a living out of a hobby. It isn’t hard to get up in the morning when you love your job. There was no such thing as Monday morning…… Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, bring it on. Midday or Midnight, we were there. We believed in the dream because we made the dream a reality. Back then if someone gave me a great record to promote I felt it my duty to tell others, and what an honor that was. I couldn’t wait to run round the country and in to every radio station and enthuse. My belief became their belief and fortunately I had people just as receptive in radio and television, they wanted good tunes and I had a multitude of them! If you got a record on the radio you had a very good chance of having a hit. You made a difference, you felt you’d played your part in that act’s success. Success that was driven by pride.

Let’s go back to Elvis, to The Beatles to a whole host of relevant exciting bands and artists that got everyone on the same playing field. We all needed music in our lives because it enriched all of our  lives. It made them happy, it made us happy. It sent them to work happy it sent them in to relationships happy. It got them paid and it got them laid.

The music industry today is an endless debate. They sit in conferences all over the world passing judgement on themselves and assume they are innocent until proven guilty. What more proof do they need, music doesn’t sell anymore. Drive around any major city in the world and try and find a record store.  And as for the suburbs, forget it, they are the new endangered species. In fact make that extinct. You got it wrong music industry for so long now and you’re still getting it wrong. The biggest artist from the last two decades is Adele. She had nothing to do with a record company, the quality of voice and song alone took her to the top all over the world and the public embraced her. Add to that one talented person who was her mentor and you have the success story of the century. A record company would have styled and modeled her in to something they could market and screwed up a career all at the same time. She did OK without their guidance. How important it is for creative people to understand how to work together, how you develop an artist and how you plant the seed of a career. It is something that is very dear to my heart, something I prided myself on and something I will continue to discuss in future blogs.

But for now music industry, ‘You’re just somebody that I used to know.’

 

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6 Responses to Music industry? You’re just somebody that I used to know.

  1. Tony,in the beginning I don’t ever remember ‘working’ at all, as I’d been to work before and this was nothing like work! We were all clever and spent our days and nights with people that were even smarter, so for about 20 years all was good.
    Then along came the infernal marketing clerks, who managed to get to run the joint, and just couldn’t understand what I did was not a ‘job’ I used to tell by boss at CBS ‘This is not a job, I’ve had a job and if I’d have wanted another bloody job I’d have got one’ ‘I’m a plugger and that’s different’
    But they won in the end, but we didn’t lose because we had ALL the fun, we met ALL the great people and we spent ALL the money and laughed all day.
    I loved it at the time and hated it as much as they hated me in the end. It was my fault I could see it happening and simply couldn’t shut up.
    Well written Tony
    Lots of love
    Richard

    • Hey Rich!

      Can’t believe I didn’t reply to the comments, profuse apologies! Anyway it’;s important people know what it was like and how passionate we all were. Relationships built both within record companies and within the media. Stuff got done because we had respect for one another and we wanted to share what we loved. Too true, it never felt like work. Damn if we’d have worked it out we probably would have been on 10 shillings an hour the time we invested lol. Loved your note. Thank you!

  2. Jon Kirkman says:

    Hi Tony
    what a well thought out and sadly true summing up of the music industry. I remember working with you oin ceretain artists and sadly it is not like that anymore .

    Still, we did see all the great bands and worked in the music industry when it was exciting. I still find it exciting work ng with a lot of musicians but they are all in the classic rock genre now so in one way great to keep up with those artists still touring and making albums but sadly no one seems to be coming through to replace these great artists and that is where the sadness is,

    Hope you are well mate :
    Cheers
    Jon

    • Cheers Jon, sorry for the tardy reply ! Better late than never, eh! What worries me is retaining the legacy, we will still be left with the artists of old. There is nothing that smells of longevity. Record companies can’t and don;t want to build catalogue. Short term, instant gratification.

      Take care and thanks for your comment

  3. Mike (BFG) says:

    Well said Sir

    I have just finished an interview for a music blog, and pretty much said the exact same thing about the industry.

    Part of it “What tends to happen, a band will get a following, build up a fan base, then a major label would come along, staffed usually by failed musicians or people who have never written a track in there life. They would wave a cheque in front of the said band, tell them that the bass player is too fat and that the band should sack him. Translated this means, “the bass player is too sussed, he knows how we are going to rip you off therefore he will be a problem to the label….. Then what happens is the band are then told “we love what you are doing but do it differently, in these clothes, with this artwork at this great studio and it will be even better”, once again, translated this means, “I’m a failed musician but I want my “input” to validate my job, my mate is a graphic artist so should get a kickback from him, and the label own the studio and best of all we can get the “band” to pay for everything now the bass player has been sacked”.

    And now Tony they cry into a p45…good riddance .

    I remember you taking on Western Sky “just because you liked it” in the 80’s, you had time to talk to bands, you were sincere, you were doing it for the same reason as us, because it was fantastic fun.

    It still is, all the best mate

    Mike

  4. johnno says:

    I grew up having a few idols. Eddie Van Halen,Richie Blackmore,Robert Plant,Freddy Mercury,Bowie,Eddie Vedder,Sting.etc… Notice each one of those were innovators,stood apart from the rest… There are none today {with few exceptions} that could even fathom what was made,legends,and true music idols. Today artists are thrown into the meat grinder with one hit,not an album of hits,and they go away quickly… If you just got out of prison,and have a record out,chances are,you will become huge to a culture of young minds that havent heard a decent record,because non human devices,and digital instuments are in place of talent. Give me more Rap artists that actually play an instrument,and really sing,and i bet another facet will grow and continue a huge market,that is virtually untapped. Lean forward and Carry On~ good blog Tony.

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