It’s almost time for The Brits. The nominations are out, rumours circulate. Madonna might show up, Taylor Swift is showing up. Do The Brits matter? Does any one care..?
The best thing about The Brits is the bitching. It oozes from every orifice of social media as soon as the nominations are released. The snubs, the shocks, the surprises, the excluded, the darlings and the predictable. One look at #fuckthebrits on Twitter throws up reject bitch fits from Kasabian, Olly Murs and Ben Howard and Take That fans. Do The Brits matter? What are they exactly and does anyone really care?
It appears that The Brits is a smoke and mirrors marketing exercise.
It rewards artists for selling high volumes of records and glorifies their very existence by giving them a trendy trophy. Whilst the artists works their creative ass off, the record company execs congratulate each other on what a great job they’ve done backing the right horses again this year. Yes, they’ve successfully marketed, radio played, merchandised and spun the spin on the heavy hitters at the top of the charts. These awards aren’t about mining and mentoring rough musical diamonds. They’re for the masses by the masses.
It’s not all about the bass, it’s all about the numbers. Nominees can expect an uplift in their sales as soon as their name gets whispered. In 2013 Ben Howard won Best British Male and Best Breakthrough Artist. His album sales rocketed by 4,600%. Mumfords saw “Babel” sales increase by 670% after their nomination in 2013. Emeli Sandé who won Best British Album saw her figures go up by 764%.
This year’s Best British Male Solo Artist throws up a few digits. More digits than your average Mastercard, which is ironic considering the plastic credit merchants are the main sponsors. The UK sales figures for the category looks like this :
- Ed Sheeran 1,689,000 copies
- One Direction 685,000
- Sam Smith 1,248,000
- George Ezra 678,000
- Paolo Nutini 545,000
So, there’s no arguing with the figures then.
So if we can’t argue with the figures, let’s argue with the rock stars. Last year saw that memorable speech by Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys:
“That rock ‘n’roll, eh? That rock ‘n’ roll, it just won’t go away. It might hibernate from time to time, and sink back into the swamp…But it’s always waiting there, just around the corner. Ready to make its way back through the sludge and smash through the glass ceiling, looking better than ever.”
Yes Alex, the sludge. The sludge that is pre-manufactured, force fed music from boy bands that look girls and girls that sound androgynous, cheesy, cabaret acts. Noel Gallagher made me laugh after last years ceremony. Here’s what he said about the corporate careerists at the gig in a recent interview:
“One Direction… Prancing up and down singing a Blondie song and getting an award for it,” he sighed. “Nice lads though they might be, f*ck off. Which is exactly what we told them. It’s turning into the grand finale of The X Factor, which is exactly what Simon Cowell wants. Paloma Faith? Do me a favour,” he balked. “Who’s f*cking decided she’s a star? Emeli Sandé? That is f*cking music for grannies. I don’t get it.”
Reminiscing back to the days when Jarvis Cocker shook his arse at Michael Jackson, a fella from Chumbawumba threw water over politician John Prescott, the measure of the night for Noel was when he saw the drummer from Muse smoking an electronic cigarette. Kinda sums up the corporate blandness of it all.
As plastic fantastic night approaches, organisers are bound to pull out all the stops after last years’ cringeworthy hosting by James Corden. His insults, awkwardness and predictably unfunny comedy resulted in one of the lowest tv audiences ever. Yes Madonna might turn up with her leaking album tucked neatly under her arm. Take That, all three of them will perform and Taylor Swift will court controversy. The labels will cash in as nominated artists flog a few more albums and everyone’s a winner.
If you can’t stomach watching watching The Brits with it’s soul destroying corporate fodder, just keep your eye on #fuckthebrits. Guaranteed, the twitter feed will be more entertaining.
However, if you’re a real heartfelt songwriter, songbird or musician don’t be dismayed. You have youbloom to turn to. We can help you build a music career in the real world. Apply to play at youbloom Dublin in June 2015. This opportunity is open to any artist from anywhere in the world. You don’t have to supply your own wreckin’ ball just bring yourself and your guitar.
Post by Ciara Sheahan. I’m a self confessed indie rock n’roller. Live music addict, writer, blogger, festival veteran. Native to Dublin, my degree in Journalism is from The University of Sheffield. With a proven track record in business and a creative side that refuses to recede I’m firmly focused on my future in the music/creative industry.