Channel 4 are in their own way trying to kickstart music TV again, the station that already has live session performances airing occasionally has come up with two new shows they think will be the answer. This weekend the very first episode of one of their new shows was aired, That Music Show was met with plenty of expectation about what the show might entail and whether it could be any sort of real contender to restart and get more music on TV.
Presented by Radio 1 Breakfast Show DJ Nick Grimshaw, the premise of the show is simple there are two teams made up of 5 artists – team 1 from 1995 with stars from the 90’s, team 2 from 2005 with stars from 2005 and the current decade. In many ways it is just a quiz show with rounds of questions all about music some against the clock and in one round random drunk members of the public describe musicians for the teams to identify. There are also live performances scattered throughout the show with last night’s acts being the big name of Primal Scream and the more recent dance duo to breakthrough AlunaGeorge.
The show is like a mix of Never Mind The Buzzcocks [the quiz element], Top of the Pops [the performances] and with the mindset/atmosphere reminiscent of 90’s favourite TFI Friday, arguably one of the biggest shows Channel 4 ever had. It’s a good mix and it does seem to work, the team bookings are quite good and over time they are surely only set to get better. This has the potential to become a platform for plenty of bands new and old to perform, plus it’s funny and good late night TV. The quiz element of the show stops it from obviously being just about music, something that sometimes seem to restrict some from watching a show, it’s easily something you could just stick on to watch and wind down to on a Friday night in.
There was a good article in The Guardian recently on this subject and programme by Popjustice’s Peter Robinson. He talked about how Top of the Pops will never really work again in this day and age with quick moving charts and music industry but something like this or along the lines of the popular and successful CD:UK could work at getting more music on TV again. CD:UK was always a good platform but when that finished no one was willing to set up another show like it again and that mainly comes down to money as those shows cost a lot to put together and many producers seem to think music TV is too niche to gain big audiences.
But that is not necessarily true in the right time slot there is a potential for a big audience and there is plenty of demand for a music show on TV if the right format could be thought of. In Robinson’s article he touched on the subject that now most bands in order to promote their music to a bigger audience outside of their internet fanbase have to go on either sports shows, Soccer AM, or cookery shows like Saturday Kitchen. Some more mainstream/chart friendly types end up on This Morning but there is no specific music show for the more experimental, underground or innovative sounds out there to perform on.
Personally, I really think this could be a good show and hopefully it will show producers that there is a big demand out there for music TV and it can be done well. It is not necessarily perfect at the moment but what pilot of a TV show is? This was just a one off but surely there will be more to follow and it would be a shame if that wasn’t the case. Could it be the door opener for more music shows? I’m not sure but I do think we need something different outside of Jools Holland’s regimented and slightly stale formula or the late night/early morning session slots that get very little viewings because of the time they are aired.