As the biz returns from a four-day hot cross bun binge in celebration of one resurrection, career revitalisation has never been more in vogue.
Last year saw Craig David and James Arthur come in from the cold and Rick Astley return from somewhere so chilly it might just provide the solution to the planet’s global warming problem. Already, 2017 has seen the unlikely rehabilitation of Steps, while The Stone Roses – a band that sang I Am The Resurrection, lest we forget – will soon play the first Wembley Stadium show of their career, despite a once legendarily iffy live reputation.
In this week’s issue of Music Week, Chris Stein of Blondie – another band enjoying a late-career re-bloom – makes the point that rock stars of his vintage never planned for rock’n’roll being a lifetime career option. But what this generation’s excuse is, I’m not so sure.
With streaming creating the real long tail for songs (and, maybe, even whole albums), better data making it easier to reach fans than ever and the expanding touring universe meaning acts can hit the road long after the hits have dried up, every act should be thinking of where they’ll be in 20, 30 or 40 years time.
And that means labels, publishers, managers and all other rights-holders should be thinking the same way. Chasing that quick hit single, fast-buck branding deal or cash-in arena show before an act is ready may provide a short term injection of funds but, if it stops you reaching true longevity, what’s the point? After all, nowadays, death itself isn’t a barrier to continued success in recorded music, merch sales or even in touring.
An artist once noted that it’s better to burn out than fade away. These days, no one has to do either.
Mark Sutherland, Editor