Thursday, January 28, 2016

The spirit of independents

To mark the fact that it's Independent Venue Week, a worthy initiative funded by Arts Council England, the BBC website carried this piece about how YouTube may be a critical factor in the worrying demise of so many gig venues recently. While it's not an issue considered by Ed Gillett in his recent article on the subject for the Quietus, the argument does seem quite persuasive - young musicians can now write and record in their bedrooms, performing in front of only a camera and uploading the results to the internet rather than having to engage in the hard slog of honing their skills in the often harsh and unforgiving live environment. Numerous artists have now built up fanbases that way. However, the expectation remains that they will have to perform live at some point, if they actually want a record deal or to make any money, so perhaps that will thankfully help to safeguard the future of at least some venues.

Incidentally, I'll be showing my support for Independent Venue Week tonight by heading for the Cellar in Oxford, where two of the city's best outfits, Maiians and Cassels, are appearing on the same bill. 2016 promises to be a big year for both of them, and it couldn't kick off in a much better place - somewhere that does the power and passion of music far more justice than a pair of tinny laptop speakers ever could.

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