Like it or not, but supply is 100% ahead of demand in up-to-date pop music. As one of Russian pop stars said, “people will eat up all.” The connection between the popularity of an artist and his or her possibility to appear on radio or television has been broken. When we see a new artist on television, we basically do not think on the legitimacy of that appearance. Show business turned to an absolutely closed system, when artists give awards to themselves and sing for themselves. All they have to do to appear on television is to pay quite a large sum of money.
This is the way any show-business is functioning during the so-called post-modern era: a populist picture for the society and tough financial rules to become a member of the “elite club.” Everything would be alright but for the cynical justification of any musical shame with his or her “popularity” among viewers or listeners. This is quite a natural aspiration of the people that turned everything upside down. They just want to prove to people that people listen to what they choose to. This is definitely all about their own protection. What do common people have to do with it?
The approach to the selection of new artists for a television channel was strictly commercial since the time, when the Russian show-business started (in the 1990s). An artist’s chances to go on television were equal to what they were ready to pay for it. It was sort of romantic to a certain extent. Show business was perceived as an integral part of the growing capitalism in the beginning of the 1990s.
This system will be viable, if there is always a change, struggle for something better, something more professional. Therefore, the demand for honesty appeared soon as well. It was a counter-balance to the careless work of commercial “stars.” There was an organization that could meet that demand – MTV.
The first success of the music television channel was encouraging. Sometimes, there were new talented artists, some of them were really good. MTV Russia administration has recently changed. This resulted in monotonous programs and videos. Russian rock is now reigning on Russian MTV.
There are rumors about MTV’s invention in the field of commercial appearances. Artists & Talents department allegedly sends a new artist to a large recording company. This recording company offers an artist to conclude an exclusive contract with it, promising 100% guarantee of a play on MTV in return. It does not occur to a client that he virtually deals with one and the same office. This is a variant of a commercial TV play in disguise.
I called MTV’s Artists & Talent department. The person, who picked up the phone, introduced himself as Dmitry Kononov. I introduced myself as the director of a provincial rock group that was willing to be played on Russia’s best music channel. As it turned out several minutes later, the above-mentioned rumor was absolutely true.
Of course, it is hard to reproach MTV personnel for their wish to earn some money. But let’s call things by their proper names. The current situation brings only harm to the development of pop music in Russia. It kills a wish to move forward for young new artists.