Feeds

Digital music awards honours MySpace influence

Record industry: 'Will you be our friend?'

The next step in data security

Reg goes ligging Trendy Camden venue...check. Silly haircuts and spectacles...check, check. Suspiciously long queue for the disabled toilets...check. Lots of bellowing about how great everything is...MASSIVE CHECK.

The BT Digital Music Awards last night had every hallmark of a self-congratulatory wonkfest, but something wasn't quite right; there's something spooky about an Establishment celebrating the fact it's not in charge anymore.

Despite it being the fifth year of the ceremony last night, and 20 gongs covering everthing from communities, through artists, mobile, promotion, download stores, magazines and blogging, the music business showed it is still wrestling with its place in the digital age.

A host of statistics from the BPI trumpeted the progress made; this year legal downloads have beaten last year's sales total already.

One of many aspects of the show which seemed at odds with the digital music scene as we at The Reg know it, was the performance of Lil' Chris, a rock and roll infant "discovered" on the Channel 4 Gene Simmons reality vehicle Rock School. Backed by a pouting gang of hired hairdos, the impression was the antithesis of grassroots online music; contrived, objectively rubbish - and damningly - pushy.

There was a whiff of an old industry trying too hard to explain to the new technology-centric firms claiming territory how it's useful. Witness the puzzling pats on the back for failing companies; there were nominations for the increasingly irrelevant-looking loss maker Napster. Most people we spoke to were blissfully ignorant of the outfit's problems.

The 2006 BT Digital Music Awards didn't showcase an industry "coming of age" as The Guardian has it. Digital music's pubescence is long behind it as far as the public is concerned. It's more like a confused late-20 something now, torn between settling down, getting fat, and going to dinner parties with rich buddies, and its heritage as an agitator, grinding the cutting edge. A sharpness was detectable at times last night, thankfully.

Accepting an award for pioneering online music, Peter Gabriel alluded to the continuing conciousness struggle. He said there was still ample opportunity for artists to assume control of their own careers, which is precisely what the music business is scrambling to stymie. The biggest cheers from the assembled crowd of record company and marketing suits went up whenever an artist or campaign was mentioned which had pulled a fast one on the public. Ex-Bedales public schoolgirl Lily Allen's internet-spearheaded coronation as an "edgy" yet ubiquitous pop princess amused them immensely.

They might have missed the point. One of the night's live performers, Sandi Thom, has suffered a sharp backlash in the mainstream and music press. It was revealed her "basement gigs" from her home in Tooting - which supposedly landed her record deal - were a pre-launch promotional ruse by her management.

MySpace was anointed "Best Innovation" as it netted a clutch of baubles. Tom Anderson founded MySpace in July 2003; the innovation in the last year has been its purchase by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, and the launch of an official UK site, meaning record company marketeers save money on international calls.

Some acknowledgment of MySpace's achievements was appropriate though. It has been instrumental in changing how this reporter's generation approaches new music; it's the first port of call if someone raves about a new band.

It's a much bigger accomplishment for a website than scoring a thousand ponderous mainstream editorials on the dangers/genius/revolutionary possibilities of social networking. The first "social networking phenomenon" - at a time when social networking as an overground "phenomenon" was still a glint in web utopians' eye - was Friends Reunited. Granted, it was given the ol' reverse Midas touch by ITV, but how much press does it get these days?

The BT Digital Music Awards will be broadcast on Channel 4 on 21 October. None of the more popular artists like Muse, Lily Allen, Thom Yorke handed the highest profile awards bothered to show up. There's always next year. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.