Friday, December 15, 2017

Capital of culture?

I must admit to rolling my eyeballs when first catching sight of this Quietus article - but, contrary to expectations/fears, it's not a patronising piece written by a London-based music journalist who's briefly stopped gazing at his own navel, looked up and realised with a degree of incredulity that there are actually vibrant music scenes in "the provinces".

On the contrary, the article - and author Daniel Dylan Wray's various interviewees - make the powerful point that it all comes down to cash: at a time when incomes are threatened but costs continue to rise, musicians, producers, labels and PR people can actually carve out an affordable existence outside the M25, something that is increasingly difficult within it. What's more, with the some of the financial stress alleviated, and therefore less of an urgent need to earn money, musicians have both more headspace for creativity and more time to explore ideas. It's perhaps for that reason that Liv Willars of One Beat PR notes, "the music I find most exciting at the moment is made by artists from outside of London".

All of the interviewees concede that the music industry is still concentrated in the capital, with some adding that that sometimes means making headway can be difficult if you're based elsewhere. But, as musician and label boss Michael Kasparis observes, "The power imbalance feels in flux, mostly because in 20 years the only people left in the capital will be the uber rich who have no interest whatsoever in putting on underground gigs".

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