Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I have seen the future of music television, and it stars one of the kids from Outnumbered

Ever since Top Of The Pops went tits up six (six!) years ago, there's been a lot of hand-wringing about TV's attitude to music. Jools Holland is too exclusive, X Factor is too vulgar, MTV doesn't show any music videos, and the Album Chart Show audience consists solely of people who fell asleep during 8 Out Of 10 Cats.

Music TV is broken and no-one knows how to fix it. The generally-accepted point of view is that TOTP peaked in the 1970s, when families watched programmes together. Now, I spend more time tweeting stupid things my wife says to me about what's on TV than actually watching the TV.

So what can music shows do? The obvious answer is "find a niche". That's why Jools Holland thrives, despite his astonishing inability to conduct a halfway competent interview: His programme appeals to the sort of music fan who likes to be in-the-know. But these are the sort of people who spend hours debating which of the 42 guitar solos David Gilmour recorded for Comfortably Numb should be considered the definitive take. What about mainstream music fans?

Well, I think I might have discovered the answer. Flicking through the channels at the weekend, I stumbled across a programme called Friday Download. It's not exactly cutting edge (one of the presenters is Tyger Drew-Honey from Outnumbered) but it's made a genuine attempt to reflect how the kids consume pop music.

Produced by CBBC, it's free from the crippling need to be "authentic" or "edgy". Each week, there'll be a performance by a Wanted or a One Direction in front of a couple of dozen braying, hysterical girls. But the similarities to pop shows of the past ends there.

In the most impressive segment, the audience are asked to film themselves lip-syncing to a current chart hit. Then a professional BBC editor cuts that footage together with the original video to make a sort of "You've Been Framed Goes Pop" montage. Here's an example from last summer, featuring Martin Solveig and Dragonette's Hello.

In another regular feature, Dionne "I'm Amy Winehouse's goddaughter but I don't like to mention it" Bromfield performs a top 40 hit with the studio audience. As she warbles, the words pop up along the bottom of the screen, SingStar-style, to encourage participation at home.

And then there's the old music show standby of reviewing the week's new videos. It doesn't have the bitchy frisson of Mel C and Louis Walsh's bust-ups on CD:UK (last week's review of Noah And The Whale contained the baffling observation: "I think they are going to be even bigger than they actually were") but it gets the job done.

The show, which also has segments on fashion, film and video games, may not be perfect but, by embracing fan participation, it reflects children's relationship with and excitement about pop music without the increasingly-irrelevant prop of a Top 40 countdown. Best of all, the tone is genuine enthusiasm, rather than the sneering disdain that's become Channel 4's default position.

Now, if someone could raise the pyrotechnics budget, throw in a song or two "for the dads" and schedule it on BBC One at teatime, I reckon we could have a genuine hit on our hands.

Labels: , , ,

<< Home

Newer Posts ::: Older Posts

© 2014 Discopop Directory | Contact editor@discopop.co.uk | Go to the homepage