As I write, the air-con free Music Week office is still hotter than the devil’s toaster. But everyone knows that the official end of the music biz summer season comes as you sip a final beer backstage at Reading Festival on Sunday night so, by the time you read this, we’ll officially be in autumn – whatever the weather and our office thermometer say.
And, as the music biz reluctantly turns off its out-of-office and admires each other’s tans, there’s a lot to contemplate. Unusually, the music biz merry-go-round didn’t slow down much over the summer months, with big stories such as the sale of Ministry Of Sound and Universal’s apparent rejection of streaming exclusives continuing to break every time the MW team contemplated knocking off early and going to the lido.
But in terms of the music, things seemed quieter than ever. Actual sales of albums sunk to new depths even as streaming continued to grow, while Drake was No.1 for almost the entire summer without ever seeming to unite the nation.
Even the festival circuit, while as busy as ever, produced few obvious breakthroughs. At times like this, you wonder if the music business is so busy doing business, it’s in danger of forgetting about the actual music. But then you look at the blockbuster line-up shaping up for Q4 and realise not everyone has been lolling on a beach.
Indeed, the biggest problem for the next few months looks likely to be ensuring all those releases get the oxygen they deserve. Well, that and wondering what the Music Week office temperature will be like when it gets really cold, obviously…
Mark Sutherland, Editor