Maybe half of a Neil Younger is price $150m. For followers for whom his songs have soundtracked their weddings or holidays, their heartbreaks and joys, I’m positive that he’s priceless. However $150m (£112m) is what funding agency Hipgnosis Songs Fund is estimated to have paid for 50% of the rights to his songs.
Many people have used the previous couple of months to have a clearout and music legends seem like having a profitable automotive boot sale of their very own. Final month, Stevie Nicks offered 80% of her songwriting catalogue to Main Wave, a deal valued at $100m, in response to the Wall Road Journal. Bob Dylan, too, offered the rights to his whole again catalogue to Common Music, for an undisclosed sum, rumoured to be in extra of $300m. It’s sufficient to make the artwork world look frugal.
Investments in music are presently seen as a secure wager. “The revenue from these songs may be very predictable and really dependable and people are the identical the reason why you spend money on issues like gold and oil,” Merck Mercuriadis, who based Hipgnosis, instructed Advanced final yr, arguing that music is even higher, as financial turmoil has little impact on the income from songs being “consumed”. This kind of language makes a sentimental previous music fan like me instinctively wince; consumption conveys the picture of scoffing it down like a snack.
I maintain fascinated by the big and nonetheless rising gulf between these on the high of the music enterprise and people decrease down, whether or not newer or much less fantastically profitable, for whom the dominant streaming mannequin doesn’t start to offer an revenue. Final November, musicians comparable to Man Garvey, Ed O’Brien and Nadine Shah instructed a Commons choose committee on the economics of music streaming that even “profitable” musicians have been struggling to make ends meet, to pay payments, to pay the hire.
There’s an phantasm that there isn’t any cash in music, that we followers should purchase merch to assist artists we love, on the gigs for which we now have purchased tickets, as a result of within the age of streaming, the artwork itself is virtually nugatory. I’m not saying your workaday indie band is interchangeable with a Bob Dylan or a Stevie Nicks; after all the work of Neil Younger is extra priceless than this yr’s new pop hit. There is cash in music, however it’s being distributed with wild unevenness. If new acts aren’t allowed to flourish, what can be left for funding corporations to splash their thousands and thousands on in 2041?
Gottmik: diversifying Drag Race
Having had an uncharacteristic few weeks off between the principle sequence, offshoots, podcasts, conventions and worldwide editions, RuPaul’s Drag Race followers have been greeted with the return of the unique US sequence on Netflix, and a near-simultaneous second UK run, coming quickly to the BBC.
It seems to have caught up with the youthful followers who grew up watching the present, however whose understanding of gender advanced extra rapidly than these making it. Whereas RuPaul began out doing “genderfuck” drag, the present not often featured transgender or non-binary contestants and at instances the host appeared cautious of the concept.
Now, although, there’s Gottmik, a make-up artist by day, the primary trans man to compete, who had a robust displaying within the first episode. “I walked into this factor with an thought of what drag is and the youngsters have a special thought,” RuPaul instructed Stephen Colbert this week. “This season we now have a trans man who’s on our present who’s competing with the opposite drag queens and this man is incredible.”
Frankly, this makes for a greater present and Drag Race is superb lockdown viewing, a superbly measured dose of shiny, chaotic escapism.
Jodie Whittaker: a Physician Who who made an actual distinction
In keeping with stories within the Mirror, the forthcoming thirteenth season of Physician Who may be the final for the thirteenth Physician, amid hypothesis that Jodie Whittaker is leaving the function.
To this point, the BBC has declined to remark, which, as I realized in a current podcast concerning the CIA and cultural interference, might imply something from “she’s positively leaving” to “we’d such as you to assume she’s leaving” to “no one was imagined to know she’s leaving, however we are able to’t lie about it so we’re not saying something in any respect”.
It’s all nonetheless a hearsay, then, but when Whittaker is on her manner out of the Tardis, I’ll miss her. As an off-the-cuff Physician Who viewer, which is, maybe, near-criminal to confess, however actually, there’s loads of again catalogue to sift by, I’ve loved her ebullient tackle the Physician immensely and I discovered the present to be accessible for the primary time in a few years.
Not everybody feels the identical manner. Many have criticised her time on the present by attacking the writing and arguing that Whittaker deserved higher. Possibly I’m straightforward to please however, for probably the most half, I discovered it candy, enjoyable and sometimes academic, although maybe it says one thing that I remained an off-the-cuff viewer relatively than a brand new devotee.
Even so, I admire that her tenure buried the prospect of any nonsense culture-war twaddle about her being the primary feminine Physician virtually as quickly as she arrived on display screen, in favour of bickering about tone as an alternative.
• Rebecca Nicholson is an Observer columnist