For as long as I can remember the music industry’s been dying.
The death of the rock star, the death of live acts, the death of studio bands, the death of vinyl, the death of the single, the death of the indie label, the death of the major label… you name it, in the last 30 years if it has had a tune, it has died.
Somehow, though, there is still a music industry – and there’s still music being produced (which as a miserable thirty-something I am obliged to tell you is all rubbish). And despite protests from many record companies and artists, there are still a lot of people doing pretty well out of the whole thing (not least the tech companies who found a way to sell you invisible records that you can only play on their devices for almost the same price as a CD – but I digress…)
I’m not normally one of those “everything’s going to shit” type of guys. I’m happy to recognise that the world changes – after all, I’m writing this message on virtual paper and you are probably reading it on your phone on the toilet. That’s progress.
But sometimes it’s important to make a stand. And today (if you’re still reading this – technology tells me that 40% of you won’t have made it this far into the article) is a day to stand up and be counted.
The chart show is for Sunday nights… or not at all. Yes, you heard.
I don’t care if the music industry is hell-bent on releasing tracks on a Friday to combat global piracy (I’m not sure how the day of the week will really help with this). Friday already has all the fun (see Robert Smith’s The Cure for details)… Sunday is a day that needs as many good things as possible.
I don’t think I’m the only one who recognises Sunday’s tendency to be deeply depressing. As a youngster it is marred by the looming spectre of going back to school and Songs of Praise, and as an adult it is marred by the looming spectre of going back to work, a hangover and Songs of Praise.
We need as many things as possible to make Sunday (especially the evening) bearable… and the 48-year-old tradition of counting down through 40 ill-conceived pop records to find out who will be crowned number one because they’ve sold about 30 singles on iTunes is one of those things.
It’s not big, and it’s not particularly entertaining – but it has been something to hang onto for teenagers and young adults for generations.
Alan Freeman, Tony Blackburn, Bruno Brookes, Mark Goodier, Fearne Cotton and recently Clara Amfo are the defiant voices of the weekend: people who realise they cannot stop the relentless march of time ticking towards Monday morning – but are at least able to fill that dead air with chitchat, music and mock-excitement about a list that’s much less interesting than most of the ones on Buzzfeed.
We need them to keep doing this. I thought things had started getting better for Sundays when Last of the Summer Wine was cancelled and Tesco started opening, but this one move could set us back decades.
No, moving the chart show from Sunday to Friday (and shortening it) is frankly madness and can only lead to one thing.
The death of the charts, of course…
The Official Chart with Greg James takes over on Friday 10th July on BBC Radio 1 at 4pm