This week we had a detailed and thought-provoking comment on our latest Fresh Faves by a reader who gave his name only as John – complaining about the fact that Cattle & Cane had been allowed onto last weekend’s Listening Post:
If the reasoning behind the listening post and the fresh favourites is to help up and coming un-established artists get their music heard by the public in order to gauge their feedback and opinion so they can then go on to improve their craft, is it really fair that an established band such as Cattle & Cane who have management, booking agents and a record label behind them are allowed to enter and subsequently be picked above the very artists the listening post was set up to help ?
As you point out they have already enjoyed major success, to use your words – ‘they’ve played T In The Park, recorded a live session on Radio 2 with Dermot O’Leary and have their music featured in grey matter-sapping TV shows Made In Chelsea & The Only Way In Essex.’
With that in mind do they really need to gauge peoples reaction to their music via the listening post at this stage in their careers ? surely they have quite a good idea of how their music is perceived by the public when they have already done all the above? they have a full team behind them and have just released a debut album, is it right they should be going up against bands that are just starting out and have likely recorded the music in their bedroom with no help from anyone ? does a band such as Cattle & Cane really need anymore of a leg up then they have already received ? specifically at the expense of other bands who haven’t been fortunate enough to enjoy such exposure as yet ?
That’s a fair point, well made, and thanks for making it. Many of us, me included, hadn’t realised just how far Cattle & Cane have come since 2009 until our very own fount of knowledge Christopher McBride wrote his reviews this week. Ed Sheeran might not agree with your definition of “major success” but I totally take your point.
As you say the whole point of Fresh On The Net is to provide a level playing field where unknown artists get an equal chance of getting heard, based entirely on what comes out of the speakers.
So your comment raises an extremely difficult question: at what point do we throw people off that playing field?
I do agree it’s regrettable that artists who needed the exposure a lot more than Cattle & Cane missed out this week just because so many people preferred “Birdsong”. But to be fair it was the song that people liked and voted for, not the number of reality TV shows the band’s music has been featured on.
So really, it’s either a level playing field or it’s not.
Last week the track everyone loved was by a violin student at the Tamilnadu Music & Fine Arts University in South East India. This week it’s a band who’ve won an audience through seven years of hard work, persistence – and a knack for writing tunes people love on first listen.
Personally I don’t happen to like “Birdsong” and won’t be playing it on my BBC Introducing Mixtape. But I wouldn’t dream of banning it from our Listening Post just because the band played T in the Park in 2010 or Dermot O’Leary gave them a session three years ago.
Every week we get submissions from “established bands who have management, booking agents and a record label behind them” and they don’t get anywhere near our Listening Post. Not because they’ve got music industry backing, but because their music is dull as f*ck.
Every one of the artists who submitted music to us last week were listened to by no less than 16 of our moderators, including me. Where else in the music industry does that happen? They all got a fair hearing, and they did get “the feedback and opinion they need to improve their craft”…
Does our songwriting knock spots off the likes of Cattle And Cane ?
Not yet. Keep going.