Tweets, mystique and shouting into the void

Yesterday’s Papers: The End Of The Music Press is a radio show that looks at the ‘long decline of pop in print’. Always a good excuse to look through the (sadly dormant) Archived Music Press page and ‘Like Punk Never Happened‘, Brian McCloskey’s Smash Hits archive. One more music thing: in response to our recent call for band-branded automobiles, a reader got in touch to suggest the Genesis edition VW Polo of 1992, only one example of which ever made it to the UK (as a competition prize). We were driven to the R4 show by David Hepworth’s Off the Page column, in which he notes the difference between media-generated and self-generated ‘buzz’:

Whereas Bob Dylan’s mystique shows no sign of wearing out after fifty years, Rihanna already has to try harder and harder to get less and less impact in the media… The first is a myth created by third parties. The second is all her own work… I was thinking about Morrissey, who has recently been trying to make controversial noises about everything from Scottish independence to the death of Richard Attenborough in an effort to sell his new record. Now that he has to make the controversy himself, rather than relying on the professionals of the written press to do it for him, he sound less like an amusing, waspish commentator and more like a bloke standing in the middle of the road shouting at buses. He also sounds, forgive me, like a bit of a bore.

Ironically, as the two embedded links above demonstrate, one of the places these ‘controversial noises’ tend to get reported is at NME.com. Yes, there is music news, reviews and formal interviews, but also a huge amount of chaff. Like it’s circulation-devouring rivals, NME now seems to function largely as an elaborate re-tweet message board for the ‘speak your brains’ moments favoured by musicians (and most people, let’s be honest) since the dawn of time but which twitter has allowed us to archive, scrutinise, dissect and shriek at.

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