Ahead of tonight’s Music Week Awards ceremony, host Lauren Laverne has told Music Week she believes the music business proves the value of adaptability in the digital age.
Discussing the industry in this week’s Big Interview, featured in the latest edition of Music Week, the presenter, broadcaster and writer said: “I’ve worked in all different sides of the music industry. I started out as a musician and then got into TV presenting followed by DJ-ing. The music industry has had a tricky time over the past couple of decades, but it’s interesting to see how people in other media are looking at the music industry to see how to survive and prosper in the digital age.”
She added: “It’s lovely to see how it’s a test case to be adaptable and still get people’s work out there, so I feel very pleased to be part of the awards this year.”
A few days after her time in the Big Interview hotseat, Music Week caught up with Laverne on site at the BBC Radio 6 Music Festival in Glasgow. In between links on her Sunday afternoon show, she sat down to discuss new music, her beloved radio station and more...
What should 6 Music be doing to support alternative culture?
Our remit is to represent it as best we can, and we’ve got to pay attention to that, it’s a tricky brief. You’ve got to be a mainstream broadcaster that’s essentially representing something countercultural, we’ve got to stay sharp and be true to it.
Is the station important to emerging artists?
Hopefully it’s important, I would never want to be one of those DJs that thinks they own a band because they played them first. I think there’s sometimes a bit of that in the radio industry, I don’t want to overstate my own importance. I was in a band, and I know for a fact that everybody who makes music remembers the first time they hear themselves on the radio. It’s one of the most magical things that can happen. To be able to give that to people is magical. I always feel like I’m about to hear my favourite song, I’m not one of these people who harkens back and thinks music was better in ye olde ‘90s, I always feel like the best thing is still to come. I’m just interested in it.
So you have a responsibility to new talent, then?
I know we do, and I hope we acquit ourselves quite well on that score, we know we are an important place for people who are making their way. Anyone who knows anything about making music knows it’s harder to make a living as a musician, a producer, whatever part of that world, it’s tricky times. People need the help.
How healthy is the scene in the UK?
Fantastic! Vibrant! I’ve done this for 20 years now, sometimes people get annoyed I’m so enthusiastic. I genuinely don’t like everything, 97% of everything is shit but that little tiny percentage of the good stuff, there’s so much of it because there’s so much music out there that I don’t think the ratio of good to bad ever changes. In 1967 there was as much dross around as there is now. But there’s always this wonderful seam of gold, and at the moment the scene feels incredibly diverse and creative.
How would you sum up the music new 6 Music-friendly acts are coming up with now?
There are some very interesting responses to changes in technology and changes to what’s going on in cities with gentrification. It’s making it very difficult for nightclubs and venues, but this weird result is that the sound of the music being made is changing, there’s a lot of nocturnal music, because people are working in the day. They’re doing it on a laptop because that’s what’s cheap, as always with musicians, and its often made alone and that changes the sound. I find that absolutely fascinating. There’s endless good stuff to find and my three-hour show isn’t long enough to showcase it all. Sometimes its frustrating if there’s a record that I really love and there’s so much else around that its time can come and go and people can miss stuff. That’s when I feel frustrated and think, I wanted everyone to know about that.
The Music Week Awards takes place tonight at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel, with the after party at Tape. As the hours tick down, here are six things to watch out for at this year's ceremony.