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Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Keep Pop Loud - The Manifesto

Hello, seeing as it is the new year we… that is I think that it is time that the intentions and manifesto of Keep Pop Loud is made clear. I’m well aware that at times the content of this blog may well come across as too much in a ranting vain and therefore seem somewhat childish and reactionary. I apologise for this in advance and can assure you that this is merely a symptom of the ideology that underpins my writing and that an oppositional reaction to different stances on music isn’t the reason for the creation of my blog per se.

That’s not to say that I’m apologising for the comments and attitudes contained within, simply that the reason that I write is because I feel that there is very little in the way of music ‘journalism’ (if you will) that represents not only myself, but a similar demographic (Britain based cross-genre music fans). Although I do not believe that acts are superior or inferior based upon who is willing to champion them and am willing to state that most publications and sources, many of which I will often reference, I do not feel as though the attitudes that underpin their views are in correlation with mine.

Cutting through all of the waffle; I believe that the record buying public (especially in the UK) are not music fans and treat music too readily as a product; I am at odds with the NME’s style of journalism for having a ‘hype them up to drop them down’ attitude seemingly concerned only with selling copies than actually championing anything worthwhile; similarly it seems to me that there is far too many music blogs – primarily US based, indie focused ones – that are more concerned with being ‘hip’ and championing the obscure simply because it is obscure.

Amongst all of this, with Keep Pop Loud I was (and still am) hoping to consciously fight the corner of musical acts based on the quality of their music, rather than whether or not they fit in with a certain set of criteria for the target demographic of the blog itself. I hope that this way I will be able to introduce people to new acts, regardless of genre. There are also other issues, which I believe are worth fighting for.

Firstly there’s the survival of the physical format of recorded music. I am a fan of CD albums and vinyl singles, the demise of the latter in mainstream record shops is, I believe a cause for some concern. In the ‘digital age’ I think that people are having less of a connection with music due firstly to the amount of it available and secondly due to their lack of physical contact with it. Not only is the 7” record THE cornerstone of both rock ‘n’ roll and pop music but there is a strong relationship between it and the UK DIY scene which I personally fully champion. Not only has the 7” for decades given smaller bands the chance to release their music but it’s also given fans of the acts the chance to not only buy or own access to the song – something which is incredibly easy today – but also gives them a share in the band and I think, a emotional link to the music as a 7” record is often something that it takes time and energy to source and then to play.

Another issue, which I think is worth discussion, is music snobbery. Having said that I am a fan and champion of the UK DIY scene it may be thought that I join the ranks of the music snobs, acting as a UK counterpart to those that think Deerhunter are the best thing since sliced bread. That’s not the case however. I am also quiet a fan of some chart-topping manufactured pop music – although not all of it. I am of the view that acts such as Girls Aloud and Sugababes are very much worth consideration, and that I think is the key. Music is a powerful artistic medium and is abused regularly cross genre – most notably by Simon Cowell who treats it solely as a ‘product’. If we disregard musical prejudices then we can see that there is artistic merit to be had in everything from Robbie Williams to Slayer, through Max├»mo Park and Blitzen Trapper. Basically, I’ve started Keep Pop Loud (a carefully chosen name that I think represents what I feel about music and how I dislike ‘X Factor’ balladry) to champion a conscious and intelligent ‘consumption’ (not a word I’d chose to use) of music.

The last issue, which I want to take up, is with both the old indie left and illegal downloaders. Sorry, I appreciate the downloading of otherwise unavailable music, tracks which you have only on vinyl and for research purposes – enabling more intelligent music purchases, but I think that downloading has gotten to a stage where it is being detrimental to both the music and to the attitudes and beliefs that underpin it. With regards to the Indie left – I think it’s time that you saw that whilst capitalism is far from an ideal circumstance, we’re stuck with it. For many of you these beliefs have come about through exposure to likeminded bands or their fan bases, now through not actually putting any money back into them and the labels that support them you are endangering their existence and therefore the ideology which you are doing it in the name of. On top of this I think that illegal downloading is devaluing music, both monetarily and if we’re not careful artistically. If music fans do not buy music then the only music that is going to be available is that which is not created for the music fan – and therefore less likely to be of any artistic merit.

I assure you, I have the best intentions with this and if anyone has any problems with my musical attitudes or preferences then I would really like them to take the issue up with me. I aim to create a musical discussion – although not through deliberately through provocation and appreciate any pointers to acts that I should feature.

Keep/Pop/Loud