Morrissey has spoken out against the Brit Awards as “junk propaganda of the strongest labels gathering to share out awards for their own artists whom they plan to heavily promote in 2015.” In a letter posted on Morrissey Zine http://true-to-you.net/ the singer gave an honest and open view on the British music industry – or rather the big labels, their marketing campaigns and how they are killing off “the heritage that produced so many interesting people”.
Whilst he targeted individuals to make his point including “MacDonna” (clever that) whose music he declared “has not ever said anything at all about British life” he made some very interesting points that I found myself nodding to as I read through his statement. I don’t believe these awards, or many others for that matter truly do anything good for music. How in the hell did we get in this mess anyway? Telly-culture was in his targets:
“Fittingly, the Awards will be hosted by light entertainers Ant & Dec, neither of whom have anything to do with music, but their presence indicates the modern hold and control that telly-culture now dominates over the world of modern music, as it reminds us how success in modern music is fully shaped by the light entertainment establishment. This is self-evident in the insipid nature of the current pop chart – deserted by genuine music-lovers who understand that chart success represents strength of marketing campaign, and not either genuine popularity or musical worth.”
He concluded his thoughts beginning with a dig at the BBC: “In much the same way that the BBC News present editorials instead of actual genuine news reports (we are absolutely assured by the BBC that Prince Andrew is innocent, even though the BBC has no possible way of knowing), the Brit Awards have come to define what is neither talent nor star, having paid no attention to what is true. Therefore, not having accepted a Brit Award indicates classical value for any artist who takes their music seriously, and if we must fold our hands and be grateful as Ant & Dec applaud the Teletubbies for their ‘outstanding contribution to British music’, we can at least be thankful that we are not nominated, because this means that you have probably advanced the good of music in your refusal to stand alongside what Michael Bracewell magnificently refers to as ‘market creations in an age after pop.'”
His sentiments are by no means new. He opened this interview on the BBC Culture Show in 2006, after being voted a living icon by the public, with a similar sentiment about institutionalism – when asked how he felt about being voted for as a living icon he says “I feel surprised, very surprised. I’m generally held in suspicious regard by the media”. When the interviewer responds “Not by the public then?”. Morrissey replys “No, but when the public are allowed to choose for themselves without having certain things thrust upon them like playlists etc. something different happens”. The only difference between now and then is the public are having even more thrust upon them…
You can read the full letter here: http://true-to-you.net/