'We're journeying towards success': Crispin Hunt salutes songwriters

'We're journeying towards success': Crispin Hunt salutes songwriters

Crispin Hunt has told Music Week that the industry is “entering a new renaissance” thanks to the work of UK songwriters.

The former Longpigs singer has been chair of The Ivors Academy since 2016, and last month presided over the 64th edition of the Ivor Novello Awards.

“The whole industry understands it is on an uncharted journey to success and there is a brilliant will across the business to build the framework the future of music will demand,” said Hunt, speaking in the new issue of Music Week, out now.

Although he believes the business is “returning to a time when the songwriter is fantastically important”, Hunt confessed to fears over the next generation of songwriting talent.

“I really worry that something has gone wrong, we haven’t been rearing the next generation of great bands,” he said. “The industry has had to go through massive change over the last 10-15 years, it’s been put into a corner and hasn’t had the luxury to experiment as much as it should to nurture the next generation.”

Reflecting on Music Week’s recent findings that that the average number of writers on a hit UK song rose from 4.84% in 2017, to 5.34% in 2018, Hunt said the reason for the increase is because hitmaking is “very, very difficult”.

The writers want hits too

Crispin Hunt

“There are millions of tracks available on streaming, so if you’re not on the surface of it, it’s very difficult to get in front of people,” he said. “Everyone is having to adapt, the labels are chasing that position and so are the writers, the writers want those hits, too.”

Hunt reflected positively on this year’s Ivors winners, but acknowledged criticism over the diversity of the victors.

I would say that the works are judged anonymously and panellists are simply asked to judge the music,” he said. “We believe there is real integrity in this process, you are nominated or win an Ivor Novello Award for your craft.

He added: “It is also important to say that, for each category, there is a different, autonomous panel of 50/50 female and male songwriters or composers, so there is no knowledge of who is nominated in another category. That means there is no orchestration of results, but it does mean you can have a year when all the winners are mainly one gender, for example, or the same act can win in two categories like The 1975 this year, because their music affected the judges most.”

Hunt said he believes he has delivered on the “modernising mandate” he was given back in 2016, when the Academy was still known as BASCA.

“I never intended to end up in this role, I just reached a point where I was frustrated nobody was fighting our corner,” he said.

“I decided to try to do it myself and found a legion of others who had decided the same.”

Subscribers can read the full interview online here. To subscribe and never miss a music biz story, click here.

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