Poetry, Christmas & A Rant About Record Companies

The last few weeks, the staff team of the church I work for, have been circulating poems for no apparent reason. It has brightened things up a bit – made our E-mail Inboxes that bit more cheery. Whilst the poems have been various combinations of free-form and rhyming couplets, I decided to write some limericks – mainly cos I quite like them. The first one does not (and is not meant to) make any sense. The second is based on the premise that my usual sign of exasparation is to offer my resignation (something I think I carried over from the Chaplaincy!) though I never actually quit …

There once was a Badger called Bob,
And he had a nice cushy job.
He ate doughnuts all day,
And chased children away,
And turned into a badgery blob.

There once was a Trainee called Joe,
Who I think most of you will know.
He regularly dines,
And often resigns.
Though he never quite seems to go.

In the car on the way home from our Training course one person put forward the theory that Christmas officially starts with the “Coca-Cola”(TM) Adverts where they have the trucks with all the lights on them and sing “Holidays are coming, Holidays are coming.” Just my luck, then that as soon as I got in and the TV on for The Simpsons, than I see the stupid “Coca-Cola”(TM) advert. This was soon followed by an unbelievable dose of Kitschmas with the brand new “Santa Sings” CD. Ugh!!! Christmas should be such a fantastic time of year (Celebrating the birth of Jesus and all that) and yet every year without fail, people ruin it by being all full of sickly sentimental tat, spending way too much money on completely useless drivel and stuffing our faces with rubbish food (Does anyone actually like turkey? Really?).

Anyway, what I’m hoping for this Christmas is the death of the traditional record company. For too long they have thrust on us bland horse wee that passes itself off as music whilst raking shed loads of money off the top. I read on a recent BBC News Online report (Haven’t been able to find it since) that on average just 16p of every £1 from a CD goes to the artist, the rest to the record company. For a music download it can be even worse – an average of 9p per £1. Surely this is barking mad! The artist(s) who has created the actual product (the music) gets between 9 and 16% whilst the big fat record company gets the rest for … um … production … marketing … packaging and just generally being a big fat record company.

Now, what I don’t sympathise with, is the position that because of this behaviour on the part of the record companies, it makes it ok to download music without paying for it. That seems to respect the work of the artist even less and is really just down to the fact that people don’t want to pay for it (known commonly as stealing, I think).

So what’s the answer? Well, given the relative availability and affordability of music recording equipment, the mass market that is the Internet, I see no reason why bands can’t release songs directly to their fans. They can then decide how much they want to charge for the music that they have made – and the money goes direct to them. At the very least, the record companies could be reduced to what they should be, a support mechanism for musicians around the world. If a central and independent body was established to monitor song/album sales, we could still have charts, and smaller bands would grow in acknowledgement & reputation the more traditional ways, by building up a fan base through live gigs and word of mouth. Rather than the shallow televised freakshow karaoke charades that are X Factor, Fame Academy and Pop Idol.

The music industry belongs to those who make the music and those who enjoy it. We need to ditch the middle man who decides what we should listen to and criminally makes a packet for doing so. Songs should be owned and managed by those who wrote them and made affordably available to music fans … The bulk of the reward should go to the artist(s) themselves. All it needs is a huge band – one with a massive fan base and enough of a reputation and enough guts to start the ball rolling. Tell the record companies they’re not needed anymore.

Power to the muso!

Power to the fans!

Peace out y’all. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!)

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