Monday, 4 July 2011


After the Miliband Loop, here's some more scarcely believable media surrealism.

The "Association of Independent Music" announces a "new" alternative awards ceremony: the AIM Independents Day.
The event, held in Soho, central London, will include awards ranging from international achievement of the year to best difficult second album and the Golden Welly for the best independent festival.
This is not a leg-pull, I assure you ...
With Adele, on independent label XL dominating the charts and airwaves on both sides of the Atlantic, dance label Ministry of Sound having a run of success with singles such as Example's Changed The Way You Kiss, which beat Coldplay to No 1 last month, and Arctic Monkeys' fourth album, Suck It And See, on Domino making it to No 1, champions of the sector are heralding 2011 as "the year of the indie".
All hail the return of counter-cultural subversion!
"Independent music-makers have been overshadowed in the last 10 years by the relentless X-Factor phenomenon and vast marketing campaigns," said Wenham ["CEO" of the events]. "The independent sector, by contrast, has never regulated its genres and creates a real mix driven solely by a passion for music."
Other awards categories include:
Independent entrepreneur of the year
For someone approaching the market in a smart and forward-thinking way
Innovative marketing campaign of the year
Recognising the year's best independent marketing campaign
Independent breakthrough of the year
For the artist who created serious waves in 2011
Indie champion award
For an individual who demonstrates unwavering support for the independent community and voted for by Aim members
Lest you think that the Guardian article announcing this is just another puff piece written by a lobotomised hack in thrall to music industry PR, bear in mind that there is actually some real news here:
Ben Watt, founder of small dance label Buzzin' Fly and half of Everything but the Girl, said the release of Tracey Thorn's latest album, Love and Its Opposite, on the label's sister imprint Strange Feeling, was a textbook example of what could now be achieved by an indie in the new world. "Tracey reached her fans easily and directly with cheap nimble marketing that maximised social networking, and we made decent money for her and for the label," he said.
Yes, that's front page Guardian website news, disinterested reportage of a worthwhile cultural initiative that puts the focus back on "passion" and away from "sales".  This is a really new, really comment-worthy development.

Even though the severely self-interested, money-oriented AIM Independents Day has been taking place since 2009.


Tom May said...

It is indeed a funny sort of 'independent' or 'indie' music that is pushing and valuing the dominant, entrepreneurial values of the mainstream...

W. Kasper said...

It mirrors New/Blue Labour in a way - make it indistinct from what it claims to oppose.

Alex Niven said...

Hmm. The music industry is obviously realising its only chance of survival is, effectively, selling morality - "alternative music" as a moral choice. Reminds me more of eco-politics I guess, but I can see the Blue Labour/grassroots angle.

Alex Niven said...

Oh and Wayne - saw this and thought of you:

Dunno if it's your bag but something to do on a sunny day at least.

W. Kasper said...

Thanks for the tip. Went that pub you recommended, and saw a surprisingly jolly Mark E Smith getting pissed on the next table. His conversations were basically about getting pissed, and chinese food/curry anecdotes.