At the end of 2009, M interviewed several music pundits to get their thoughts on the future of the music industry. Among them was Malcolm McLaren. In tribute to the former music impresario, we publish his last interview with us in full.
Pop culture is a crumbling ruin, but no matter where we look today that is all we are beginning to care about: The Ruins! Why? Because two words describe our feelings about culture – one is ‘authenticity’ and the other is ‘karaoke’. Most artists today spend their time trying to authenticate, make true, a karaoke culture but you have to be a magician to do that.
The next decade will determine whether a 21st century post-karaoke school of pop music will replace the Simon Cowell School of Talent Shows, what has been described as the tyranny of the new. The Talent Show, gaming culture and extraordinarily enough, Performance Art, are probably the three distinct cultural arenas that music in the near future will most definitely be best exploited. The latter, I am certain, will inspire a new generation of outsider artists.
Pop music is unfortunately something we do not listen to anymore unless we are in therapy. We simply watch on occasion, download, and maybe send it off to someone we love as a funny seasonal greeting.
At the beginning of the 21st century, we had seriously entered an audio-visual world and with it, saw the absolute decline of the music industry. Why? Because they hadn’t the education, artistic sensibility, and real knowledge of new business models to immerse themselves with absolute confidence in this burgeoning new culture, and so had to begin closure.
No matter what part of the music culture you look at, the near future will unquestionably entertain its ruins. Why? Because the ruins are authentic and unrivalled. There is an ever-growing nostalgic, undeniable, and unquenchable thirst for that authenticity across all generations and ethnicities worldwide. It is, I predict, all we will love for quite a while. The globalised disease of commodified culture will inevitably reach unparalleled success before the next generation starts to build on top of it. They may well sweep away all those who dwelled and worked within ie. the music industry. There is a chance some audiovisual artist might step away from this entire craziness and act like a pause between two epochs attempting to cure the incurable rampant globalised disease by reclaiming the ruins. Let us all scream now, BELIEVE IN THE RUINS!
By MALCOLM MCLAREN.