The Changing Face of Music on TV
Am I the only person who misses Top of the Pops when it was in its hay-day? It was our staple music programme. Back in the day it was THE music show. We loved it; it was part of our youth. Then you also had CD:UK. Gone are the days when you’d get your weekly fix of Girls Aloud on a Saturday morning. You’d tune in to watch your music idols lip synch – “live”!
Nowadays, we’re confronted with a multitude of music channels on various platforms. You’re spoilt for choice – unless of course you happen to only have the five terrestrial channels, in which case Sound on BBC2 or C4’s The Green Room are probably your best bets. These two plus E4’s Freshly Squeezed are the only regular shows that actually have interviews with bands and features. The rest offer you a monotonous string of pop videos grouped together under a tenuous ‘category’ like “Top Ten MILFs!” or “Every Number 1 Hit From 1990-2000!” Give me strength. Why on earth would I want to spend my weekend listening to every single number 1 over 10 years? And as for the whole MILFs category, well that’s subjective isn’t it? (I seem to be remember Kerry Katona was in one of them – that says it all really).
The sad reality is that we’d rather see music on TV as part of a reality TV programme, be it X Factor or I’d Do Anything , than good old-fashioned live performances from established pop bands. We’re still interested in music on TV, but we want to be a part of the process of making a pop act and interact with it.
This is all very interesting considering live tours still sell out in a nanosecond and downloading music is as popular as ever. Perhaps TOTP died because it was centred on the Top 40. We seem to have lost the concept of charts, or at least lost interest in it these days…Who cares who’s number 1 if I can download my favourite band’s new album online before it even hits the charts? The only televised music-related programme that gets top bill these days is the live concert or festival. We had Glastonbury and Nelson Mandela’s birthday gig, and now the return of T4 on the Beach. So what happens after the summer of music festivals ends? TV producers need to come up with a new programme format that interests both internet users who love to download music and those that go to live gigs. All the best to Leona Lewis and her reality TV successors, but let’s cater for those that enjoy the musical grunge of grassroots bands as well.