Monday, February 06, 2006

Musicians Union condemns 'Miming'

Reuters report that the Musicians Union has urged artists to own up to miming in live sets. This is supported by an opinion poll showing 71% public opposition to miming artists and the assertion that people, Europeans and Americans in particular, can see straight through miming and will be turned off. The Union wants to reward those with the skill to perform a genuine live show.

The weakness in this logic is spectacular. If audiences really could tell when an artist was miming and a massive majority opposed miming and felt it hurt their experience of the music this would create a commercial imperative to avoid miming. The need for artists to 'own up' as the Union wants them to implies that a great many audiences cannot tell or do not care to discover who is miming. While this may imply an information asymettry live entertainment is valuable to most people for the experience so what you don't know probably can't hurt you.

The Musician's Union is historically one of the worst promoters of leftwing idiocy going. The Guardian offers a concise history of some of its worst moments failing to distribute session income or recognise the leaks in its boycott of Apartheid-era South Africa. It also prevented American musicians playing in the UK in the mistaken assumption this would lead to a rise in bookings for British musicians, of course the real effect was to shrink the market and hurt the chances of infant industries such as the British jazz community which relied on contact with the Americans to improve.

The Union's finest hour, however, came with its attempt to have the synthesiser banned on the grounds that it would hurt the interests of live musicians. The comparison made in a Radio 1 debate at the time to banning electric guitars as they would hurt the interests of acoustic guitarists remains apt. Cliff Richard led the Musician's Union attempt to hold back the tide of technological progress; thankfully he failed.

1 comment:

Dave Cole said...

While under normal circumstances I would support my comrades in the trades union movement, it should probably be pointed out that on Top of the Pops when a teenybopper band is performing incredibly acrobatic dance routines, not pausing for breath, keeping in perfect time and - HINT - there is not sign of microphones, it's pretty bloody obvious.