It would be foolish to pretend that the music industry was ever anything other than precisely that: an industry.
Even in the days when rock n roll was the voice of the emerging youth, the sound of rebellion: there was someone, somewhere who was making a lot of money from it.
Even in the early days there were products especially designed as merchandise to help make even more money: just look at all the Elvis movies if you don’t believe me.
But there’s something rather sad about the latest generation of wannabe pop stars openly endorsing consumer products to help finance that difficult second album.
And it’s not like I can pretend that it’s merely the cannon fodder that are doing it. Yes: there is a high level of consumer advertising being done by former X Factor types. One Direction (sorry, who?) advertising Pokemon, Alexandra Burke with her underarm B.O. problems (or why else would she be advertising them?), JLS advertising whatever the hell it is that JLS advertise – if it were just these nearly-rans that were jumping on the bandwagon then I wouldn’t be quite so worried – but its affecting the big hitters as well.
Johnny Rotten – the epitome of Punk Rock – can now be seen advertising butter, U2 brought out their own i-pod in a sponsorship deal with Apple. Hell, even Bob Dylan has done it
You can barely turn on the telly without seeing some perfume fronted by the Beckams, the Beyonce’s or the Back-Street Boys (alright, not the latter, but you get the picture)
So what’s the next logical step? Politician’s in adverts, perhaps? Surely not, I hear you cry – so checkout the adverts for a money advisory company starring John “Two-Jags” Prescott (admittedly no longer an active Politician)
Of course – the Queen already advertises products and has done for a long time – if you count the fact that any product used in the Royal household can show the royal crest, so presumably it’s only a small step from that to a quick advert for MacDonalds next time she wants Balmorral pebble-dashing?
And now the adverts aren’t even going to wait for the advert breaks – there’s product placement with a “P” advisory that this programme that we are watching may contain sudden bouts of characters suddenly saying ‘Hmmm, Scum-Cola: refreshing”
And let’s not even get started on adverts with voice overs from “celebrity” actors – it seems that these days we can’t be persuaded to buy anything unless That Bloke From Gray’s Anatomy is either voicing or starring in it.
Even worse is the current trend for getting us to actively participate in adverts - call this number and send us your money to decide if Fictional Character A proposes to Fictional Character B, or to follow us on Facebook. I mean surely there can't be anyone out there so desperate for friends that they're willing to add a roll of toilet paper to their role of associates, no matter how quilted it may be? What would the updates be like??
There is a current feeling in those of us that still take interest in film and TV that there are no stars of the magnitude of Days Gone By. Sure we may go and see a film starring Rachel From Friends because we liked her in that and know that she’ll be pretty much the same in this, but not in the same way that Humphrey Bogart in a film could guarantee a return. Is this really because actors are not as good, or are they just spreading themselves too thin?
Back In The Day it used to be BBC policy to only use the Daleks sparingly in Dr Who – the idea being that the infrequency of their appearance would add to the impact when they turned up. In these days of multi-media and toy-sales based programming they have been in every season of the re-vamped show so far: and only to their detriment.
Perhaps then, if the stars of today were to go away for a while we might appreciate them a bit more when they returned?
Mind you: I caught something on the radio the other night where a man was saying that he’d had a phone call from someone trying to sell him something
He had asked the girl in the call centre, ‘Why are you doing this dead-end, soul-destroying sales job? Isn’t there something more fulfilling you could be doing with your life?’
To which she replied, ‘I’m not the one answering phone calls at home during the day’
Something to think about there: if nothing else.