Monday, 1 July 2013

Editorial: July 2013

Another good month on the Vive le Roq French music blog.

I managed a record number of posts last month, which is no surprise given the quality and number of releases over the past few weeks.

Again, this was reflected in a pretty healthy number of visitors to the pages. Thanks for dropping by.

I thought I'd take the time to take a look at a couple of interesting things that happened over June.

One obvious one was the Fête de la Musique, which again put music front and centre in France's cultural landscape. If anything I think music - popular music in particular - is somewhat disregarded in France. There could be a huge number of reasons for this.

Perhaps its because the cultural landscape in general is valued more in France, with the result that music is seen as one amidst many strands of culture, while in the UK its seen as particularly vigorous simply due to the lack of public attention given to other forms of art. In short though, it's a remarkably enlightened idea, and one that deserves to be spread further.

Another thing that raised its head this month was the idea of cultural exceptionism with regard to free trade agreements at the G8 summit. The French government were unhappy with the proposition at the G8 conference to agree to free trade in all areas, including cultural, meaning that the French government would be unable to offer financial subsidy to areas such as music and film. Fortunately the French argument prevailed, and the government protection to the creative industries will be maintained.

While in a free market sounds a good idea, trade free from red tape and legislation that allows the consumer to determine the value of the product, the playing field is always tilted in favour of the more powerful player. In the area of culture, especially music and film, that will be the USA. While I have no particular dislike of USA, the world has more to offer than just one voice and a system that maintains, to some extent at least, a cultural plurality is essential.

French cinema might not always be the artistic showcase it's held up as, but the film industry is one in which the reality of making a profit is a far more difficult one that the takings of the latest box office blockbusters might suggest.

The same applies to music. While there are stars, there are many musicians working hard just to earn a living. France is aware, it seems, that it is more than just another market for international acts, and is able to make the case for its own industry at the highest level.

That a government is prepared to stand up internationally and say that its creative industries are important and deserve support and respect is a position that other countries should consider.

Elsewhere there was some good news that Taratata, the TV music show that was to be axed thanks to a decision by France Télévisions is to continue online. The last show in its present format goes out on July 5, but a concert's taking place on October 10 in Paris, which will herald the new era for the show. With terrestrial TV just one more 'platform' in the digital age, fingers crossed that the new online version of the show can thrive.

The show's been at the forefront of online music, so hopefully the new version will continue to thrive.

What would be interesting, of course, would be for some other innovative channel to buy the rights to broadcast the forthcoming internet version of the show. We'll see.

July is now upon us, and I'll be taking a break for a couple of weeks, but hopefully I'll have a few articles written in advance to fill the gap while I'm away from a working wifi connection.

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