The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Opinion: Bands… or Brands?

Samuel Ward shares his views on the commercialisation of musicians.

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Has anyone else noticed The Horrors’ new logo? For a band that submerses itself in a dark garage punk image, it seems extremely corporate. I’m pretty sure it’s wasn’t intentionally trying to reflect their new slightly-more-vanilla album, so what’s the deal?

Since the dawn of popular musical time, bands have always had “the look”. The first who spring to mind are of course The Beatles, whose early appearance is one of sharp suits and incredible hairstyles. There’s no doubt that their heartthrob image and functional music contributed to the fact that they are still the best selling musicians in the states. However The Horrors aren’t heartthrobs and aren’t musicians who make functional music, so why try and label them that way as if they’re the new iPhone 6?

It’s always been the case that, to create a popular product, you have to have an entity people can identify with. This goes for many musicians and modern acts in particular, who need to scream and shout in order to get out there amongst the countless musicians who can now make themselves known using the internet. But to adopt this carpet bomb method of marketing, where a label simply thrusts away with their distorted image of how a band should be interpreted is just stupid.

Arcade Fire’s death disco video for ‘Reflektor’ and the ensuing formal gigs aren’t some stupid media stunt, it’s an artistic interpretation and a generation of an atmosphere which naturally echoes their music; an extension of themselves (or even a reflection of a reflection of a…) In short it’s creative, it’s interesting and it’s what music and its branches should be—an art form. What it shouldn’t be is a flyer or a billboard.

An interesting thing to see would be a popular band with no logos or names or anything; just music which people can put their own spin on. Who knows, maybe if labels used their imagination and thought of things like this then maybe they might actually sell some records.