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Is the music scene in Kingston dead?

By Meka Beresford Nov 9, 2016
Credit: REX

The following is a comprehensive list of why music is dying; Jamie T, Craig David, Kaiser Chiefs, Kate Tempest, Two Door Cinema Club, Shawn Mendes, Passenger.

That is a selection on par with your Christmas tin of Quality Street, but they all have something in common. These artists and bands all have, or soon will have, played in Kingston at New Slang. 

Whilst it is fantastic that a zone 6 suburb can draw in huge names, it is also a perfect example of why new and uprising talents are being neglected in today’s UK music industry. 

Zone 6, and all small towns and cities across the nation should be supporting their local bands. Instead the mainstream is leaking into the spaces that smaller artists would occupy and grow in. 

It is not just homegrown bands that are suffering either.

This year, the two biggest debut albums came from Zayn Malik and Jack Garratt, both respectively decent artists, but their sales fail to reflect their talent.

Rick Astley’s new album, 50, sold more than the two debut albums combined.   

We are living in a time where music has coalesced around a select, elite group of artists who sit at the top of the pyramid. 

Kanye, Beyonce, Drake and Rhianna frequently hold the top of the charts and earn millions from their music, gigs and merchandise. 

It is a vicious cycle, the radio play these select artists, informing what people stream online. The streaming informs what the radio plays, and so on.

The River is just as guilty, featuring just one album review on Kings Of Leon this issue. 

For the most part, awards ceremonies reflect this industry. Although notably grime artist Skepta pulled through this year when he won a Mercury award. 

The Mercury awards undoubtedly had a solid list of artists up for the award this year. However, Skepta’s win made an important gesture about British music.

Award ceremonies are about making gestures though, they never objectively award something for being the best. 

Leo DiCaprio did not deserve that Oscar for the Revenant, but it was his time.

Still, upcoming artists in the UK can’t find their audience. The dominance of US artists in the British music industry is seemingly impossible to break. 

Record labels back the same thing, and wont invest in the risk of artist’s debut’s not entering the charts. 

But there is no formula for writing a hit. It is a trial and error process, but there is no longer any room for error in the industry. 

These elite artists were incubated in a time where an artist could grow and make their mistakes, and they would not be dropped by the label.

How can new and upcoming musicians learn and grow, without risking their career’s future?

We’re sick of the elite artists who have all access pass to the ears of the nation. Support the new, exciting releases and break the mainstream. 

By Meka Beresford

Meka Beresford studies Journalism at Kingston and is News Editor of The River. She enjoys the finer things in life; Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Wu-Tang and halloumi. During the weekends, Meka can be found writing for PinkNews.

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