I read the following quote by bassist Jah Wobble today:
To be honest I am turned on more by the renaissance that has taken place in USA TV and the TV of some European countries over the last few years. Great narratives , great writing multi layered meanings and fantastic social commentary. It’s almost reinventing the wheel; fiction that documents better than documentaries. Against all odds TV has become the medium that makes most sense in and of this crazy post modern, late stage capitalist, samsaric world that we live in. Music, and its intelligent use is obviously a part of that renaissance, but it isn’t the main thing any more. Right now, like the novel, ‘the album’ format seems a bit moribund. I still hear the odd tune that I like. It’s just that ‘the muse’ seems to be hovering over the likes of HBO script writers rather than musicians right now. That’s where innovative stuff seems to be happening.
You can read the full interview here:
While I would argue that there are still great albums being made, and that there is obviously plenty of bad TV, it does seem that at its best, television is right now where some of the best entertainment is being made. There are many reasons for this. I think that special effects on TV have caught up with films. TV doesn’t face the kind of censoring it once did. Television no longer has a stigma for big name actors. There are many different things in our culture at this place and time which are allowing TV to tell stories better than ever before. However, I would also bet that economics play a large role in this. The television industry has done a much better job of protecting their products than the music industry has. While one certainly shouldn’t need large-scale fame and fortune to commit themselves to an art form, it does help if people can at least make a living at what they are doing. Also, making really good sounding records is not cheap. Even a self financed low-fi record can end up costing a couple grand. I can’t say this enough: If like me you love music, and you wish that more great records were being made, it is important that you buy records from the artists that you like. In a capitalist system we vote with our dollars. If enough of you invest in the artists that you love, you will see those artists make more records and many of those artists will also be given more freedom to create in the studio.