Maybe the producers are revealing more than the BBC bigwigs realize. This video is spectacular, so extravagant you'd think money was flowing like water from an inexhaustable fountain. It's as if the BBC is sneering at the very idea of financial accountability at a time when it ought to be taking into account calls for prudence. It's an insult to all who genuinely care about the BBC and about music. If the faceless suits behind BBC Music really cared about music, the least they could have done would be to put resources into commissioning an original theme tune, rather than rehashing a Beach Boys hit from 40 years ago.So much for any commitment to Britain and British talent. Lots of celebrities appear, each for a few seconds, no doubt being paid big money. Yet many of them have passed their creative prime. If BBC Music wants to be relevant to wider audiences, why pitch to a relatively irrelevant group of 70's retreads?
Maximum expense for nil content, whatsoever. To find out what BBC Music really means you have to search around. Follow this link to see what BBC Music plans for classical music (I can't comment on pop and other genres). Yikes ! short clips from past broadcasts, randomly chosen . No artistic input, but rather the demented dumbing down of the "Ten Pieces" mindset. Please see my article "BBC Ten Pieces : Motherhood and Poisoned Apple Pie". It's bad enough to devise a dopey (and arbitrary) playlist. But to base the whole BBC Music aesthetic on this banality is a crime against art. What's happened to the mission statement to "educate,, inform and entertain" ? The policy seems to have been dreamed up by middle-aged, middle-class suits who assume that young people are too stupid to like anything that's not loud and brash. The real danger is that such narrow-minded rigidity is inherently opposed to the richness that makes the arts worthwhile. Creativity thrives on imaginations, individuality and freedom of expression. The BBC Ten Pieces are like a Stalinist Five Year Plan, created by committees who think the arts are units of consumer product.
When Tony Hall announced his vision for the BBC I hoped that, with his experience, he might stand up to the anonymous group-think that characterizes the Arts Council England, and its ties to gravy trains like the Cultural Olympiad of 2012. Plenty of money was poured into that scheme, though nearly all the events it claimed credit for would have happened anyway, without any connection to the Olympiad organization. About the only thing it did achieve were the entertainments for the ceremonies around the sporting events. Are the people involved connected. BBC Music is being launched with the same style: extravagant entertainment but almost no artistic substance. That would be OK if the BBC were just another branch of the Murdoch empire, but it's not.
here and here. I worried about the bullet point presentation style but thought it was simply PR bad taste. But I wonder now if the medium was the message, ie that the banality represented banal conceptual thinking. Crucial to this non-vision was the creation of a new level of management. In principle, that's not a big deal as long as the people involved are imaginative, but it seems that what we'll actually get might be über-suit apparatchiks who don't actually know the difference between corporate think and real thinking.
The new head of BBC Music is Bob Shennan. He's not a classical music man, which is perfectly fair enough. His ambit is to keep all the different special interest groups in balance. All the more reason why it's worrying that the new head of BBC Radio 3, Alan Davey, has a background in bureaucracy. He's the former head of the Arts Council England and, before that, worked for for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Department of Health. The vague, mealy-mouthed ACE Ten year plan was developed under his watch, so it's definitely worth looking critically at that document "Great Art and Culture for Everyone". Harriet Harman's views on the supposed "elitism" of the arts and punitive funding derive therefrom. To his credit, the present Secretary for Culture, Sajid Javid, hasn't said much at all. But Harman might get into power next year. The triumvirate between Harman, the new BBC Regime and ACE would be formidable. The press, unfortunately, is neither analytical nor objective. Charlotte Higgins wanted Alan Rusbridger to head the Royal Opera House, and now wants Tom Service to head the Proms (notwithstanding his time at Huddersfield) and welcomes Davey.
God Only Knows what the future holds. The flashy video alone is an argument for curtailing the licence fee, for it's proof that the BBC places extravagance over substance. This new banalification of the BBC dovetails with wider social and political pressures to diminish the arts, to turn from individualism, creativity and innovation to bland corporate non-thinking. No amount of spreadsheet clevernesscan ever replace real creative wusdom. And certainly not an expensive pop video mindset.