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March 30, 2011 / starstarstarstar

Whatever happened to the cash-in?

So, it’s now been five days since a massive protest involving half a million people in London. How many cash-in singles about the march against government cuts do you think have beeen released? Exactly none. Which is precisely my point. Everyone in the business has lost the plot when it comes to marketing music that resonates with the times. And resonate, my old china, is what a cash register does when the hungry drawer pops out to gobble up the punter’s money.

I can guarantee that Simon Cowell’s Wall Of Post-it Notes (naturally he ignored my advice to get a computer six years ago when they were the coming thing) will contain not a solitary reference that reads “Leona  re-release of First Cut Is Deepest”. Madness. There was a time when no national or international event was permitted to pass without a slew of records designed to make the punter think “you know what will really help me recover from the shock of Princess Diana’s death? Buying that Elton John single whose lyrics were written about a completely different person, that’s what.” That kind of marketing nous is all too rare these days.

The only time anyone gets it together is once every four years for England World Cup songs, and that particular market segment is so overpopulated with tedious repugnant crap that I’m surprised people aren’t kicking in HMV’s windows to make them stop. Having said that, this bizarre contribution from Rik Mayall from last year is worth a look, if only to ask yourself the question “in the name of all that’s Ramsey, why?”

You might have heard there’s a royal wedding coming up. At least when Princess Victoria of Sweden got married in 2010, Benny from Abba managed to knock out a ditty that got played at the actual wedding. Have we lined up a suitably stellar industry-promoted name to laud the union of our own young royals? Of course we bloody haven’t. And for the street party allergic (a growing market that one), we haven’t even persuaded Billy Bragg to wheeze out a single that could be called “Off With Their Heads” or something equally celebratory. I’m sure you agree that the absence of such a release is a disgrace to the industry.

Next time you hear the record industry bleating about falling sales, remember the lost art of the cash-in.

Shel

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