Glastonbury – Only not really…

rolling-stones-glastonburyI was going to write about Glastonbury and give my thoughts on the various performances I saw – obviously I didn’t actually go but then that doesn’t seem to stop every music journalistic in the country writing about it either. However I came to the conclusion that yet another set of views saying how great the Stones were or how middle of the road a lot of the lineup was would be quite surplus to requirements. I thought perhaps I I could instead give you my views on the BBC coverage of the event, something which I did at least experience, but again pointing out that the presenters (especially on BBC3) were annoying or that the bands shown were the most middle of the road of the lineup would be even more surplus to requirements. So instead I’ll talk about what I know best – some numbers. Or rather one particular number – how many people watched the Rolling Stones on the BBC…

Can you guess how many? Go on have a go and no googling or remember what you read in the paper earlier this week. Any ideas? Five? Four thousand? Twenty million? Well you’re all wrong. It was 2.5 million. That rather surprised me. I’m not sure what I would have guessed, perhaps a fifth of that figure – half a million would seem about right for a late night music show, even one showing a live performance of one of the greatest ever rock bands. But in fact 1 in 28 people did want to spend an hour of their Saturday night watching them and that’s rather nice.

glastonbury1aAs always with interesting statistics it got me wondering why? Obviously a part of it was the Stones, no one can ever deny their huge appeal but a quick check on the figures shows that 1.4 million still tuned in for the Arctic Monkeys the day before. That’s still a lot of people, especially for a band with a much smaller fanbase. Clearly Glastonbury itself is the pull, something I guess is obvious from the tons of coverage in the run up to the festival but it’s one thing to get Guardian journalists writing about your event and quite another to get millions to watch it live.

So this leads me to my to my final thought – is it something special about Glasto or would people watch more live music on TV? Either from other festivals or even standard gigs? Obviously Glastonbury is a special festival but the TV coverage, purely from the five main stages, only shows bands that are no doubt playing a whole bunch of other festivals this year – the wider eclecticness and crazy world of Glasto is never going to come across on TV. So whilst I think the name does pull people in, it’s only part of it, clearly people want to see live music too. Some are people who probably do go to gigs but you can’t go every week or get around to seeing every band you like. And no doubt an even bigger portion of the audience either have stopped going to or have never been to see live music, watching on TV is their only chance. It makes me think that the BBC or other channels should start showing more of it. Maybe try out some other festivals that have differing lineups or just some big gigs from the O2 or wherever – and I don’t mean archive stuff on BBC4 or the highlights from Beyonce’s tour from 18 months ago, actual gigs as they happen or the next night at the latest. It might not work but I think there’s an audience, I think it’d be another income stream for the artists and if the TV channels don’t then someone on the Internet will very, very soon…

About Alex

Promoter, record label owner and now blogger, not forgetting fan for quite some time before any of that. I've been involved with music for a long time and hope to share some of my insights, ideas and opinions on all of it with you. Hopefully you can find something of interest in the stream of arrogant, self-opinionated rubbish!
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