RIDING THE TALENT SHOW MERRY-GO-ROUND

It’s long been a controversial question in the music industry. Should musicians use music based reality TV to launch their careers? There’s no denying, if all goes well, (you win or at least come close) it can really set you up, but what if all goes badly? I was speaking to Patrick Maloney, manager of the MUSICOZ awards, some time back on the phone and he told me he’d had to deal with a lot of very talented musicians who had been burnt by their involvement with programs such as Aus Idol. They’d struggled to relaunch their careers, because the industry no longer took them seriously. Maybe part of the problem is the tendency of these shows to herd everyone together. Accomplished singer/songwriters who have been gigging for years, or at least have been moving professionally in the industry for a considerable period, are forced to share the stage with kids just out of school. Whilst some of these young people will be accomplished musicians themselves, others will be chosen purely on their voices, not having learnt professionally or creatively who they are as artists yet. They are still Karaoke singers at best, and the result is, everyone gets tarred with the same brush. The other problem is, the stereotyping that goes on. I saw some go on Aus Idol with their own individual look, only to finish up resembling everyone else. They couldn’t promote their own music and show their full potential as recording artists, so viewers wouldn’t get to see what they were really about, unless they won. If such shows really are serious about finding stars capable of long jeopardy in the industry, why shackle them into a formula, which hides the very assets viewers should be voting for?

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