Archive for August, 2009

August 28, 2009

Reading Festival bans Flags

Melvin Benn – CEO of Festival Republic – has announced that there will be no more flags allowed in front of the main stage at Reading or Leeds festivals this weekend.  In finally banning this very common festival eyesore, Benn has aligned himself with thousands of like-minded punters who have been waiting for this to happen for several years.
Flags at festivals have been around for quite a few years and were once considered to be a unique and quirky part of the landscape – this is of course before thousands of festival goers decided to descend on the main stage – particularly at Glastonbury – with personal comments, regional signs, national emblems and strange objects!

Flags can add to the cultural atmosphere – though sadly because of the massive increase in the last few years – mainly fuelled by TV commercialisation – the numbers now detract  from the visual experience.  Festivals are increasingly expensive and need to offer the punter an untainted experience – besides we’ve enjoyed great music festivals for the last 4o years without flags – so do we really need them anyway?

August 14, 2009

iTunes serve up festival of the future

It is only recently that the mainstream music industry (i.e: the major labels) have started to embrace the infinite possibilities of the online world. The last 12 months alone has seen a unprecedented amount of partnerships, mergers and collaborations between labels, distributors and service providers.  This has led to numerous ideas and innovations – the marketing departments have been kept very busy rethinking new ways of repackaging an old product within a new format.

Last year iTunes came up with a very costly and highly public affair of reconstructing the festival format within a city to receive maximum exposure.  This year they upped the ante even further with Grade A bands performing – Kasabian, Oasis,  Franz Ferdinand etc, in a top class venue – The Camden Roundhouse – for the whole of July – with free entry to all.  No expense was spared for this ostentatious exercise in declamatory statements for the new digital order.  This was publicity on a grand scale – all of the performances were recorded and briefly shown on ITV on a twice weekly show – every single performance video is available to buy through  iTunes.   Everybody who attended won their tickets through an iTunes themed micro-site and was presented with a festival tag-pass during entry – each one contained a code allowing each person to download 10 free songs.  An expensive way to attract consumers to your site, but when your site is the most influential download site in the world it is easier to see the logic.  This type of marketing is cutting out the middle man and is delivering each artist to their targeted audience through a globally recognised brand and one of the largest music distributors in the world. 

This kind of blanket publicity through strategic business partnership is symbolic of the current music industry and hints at the emerging influence of the new digital order – where music Internet providers hold many of the cards and are now calling the shots across the multi-platform musical landscape.  Expect to see many more such partnerships forming in the coming few years – and many more providers spreading their interests into other areas of the industry, particularly the live sector.  It won’t be long before sites such as YouTube and Spotify host their own multimedia festivals.

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