We All Weep Violently

Our resident columnist questions the benefit of the Performing Rights Society’s latest committee

ilustration: steve appleton

We’ve done it. We’ve ripped off so much music, the Performing Rights Society has stepped in. In fact, electronic musicians are receiving so few royalties, the PRS have opted for the nuclear option: they’ve set up a committee.

The committee is called Amplify and it will work out how to squeeze set lists from DJs and live promoters so it can convert that paperwork into real money. Next time you’re pilling your eyes off to the tweaking skiffle remix of the ‘Harlem Shake’, the PRS will be crouched behind you with a drill, trepanning every earworm that has ever burrowed into your mind. If the project works, Skrillex will be able to afford a decent haircut.

This is, of course, a recipe for disaster. Before computers, in the days of Mozart and Beethoven and Rick Wakeman, everything was paperwork. Without a printed score, the orchestra would sit there shuffling, staring at their instruments as if they’d fallen out of the back end of a unicorn. In our modern times, the chances of seeing sheet music fluttering at a techno gig is as likely as Nick Clegg playing the spoons for Napalm Death – although I suppose he’s got to line up something after the next election.

Electronic musicians are allergic to paperwork. So the thought of a bunch of them joining a committee is taking the biscuit. Which is exactly what will happen. With the whole of the electronica community sat round a table, the custard creams will be gone quicker than you can say “psytrance sub-committee”. The question is, who makes the coffee? And is Gary Numan any good at taking minutes? Brian Eno will elect himself Chair until Grimes fist-fights him into a quivering wreck. Plus there’s always a cantankerous one who disagrees with everything, but to be honest I’m not even sure Deadmau5’s fake head will fit into the room.

I just hope that the discussions turn out to be as enlightening and as useful as all those interesting comments on YouTube. “We need some moar royalities.” “Cack off, your fake an gay.” “First!” “Noob.” And so on and so on, until we all weep violently as we watch creativity rendered into a series of anodyne bullet points in Times chuffing New God-help-us Roman. All those in favour?

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