@RFWilding what you’ve heard so far yes. All i can do is do my best, the labels and the radio stations won’t play the better stuff.
— Lily Allen (@lilyallen) March 10, 2014
“Lily Allen’s new music is actually docile Pop rubbish” was the critique of one ‘fan’ on twitter with regards to the singer’s most recent forays into chart territory. Well, she actually replied, and as if to back up her recent comments, on a distinct lack of risk taking by music label bosses, and said “What you’ve heard so far yes. All I can do is my best. The Labels and the radio stations won’t play the better stuff”.
I recently put up a piece addressing this very subject (using Lily as a reference) and the gist of my take on it was that, it isn’t the labels job to take risks. They are there to make money and anyone hoping for the contrary is clutching at straws. But a lack of risk taking doesn’t mean releasing bad music. I can think of a million and one ‘safe’ singles that are also superb, so by Lily’s logic they must also be the labels fault as well, which by consequence means that Lily needs to up her game.
Make your safe music, great music. Look at what is regularly topping the charts right now. Are you telling me that working with beat smiths like Rudimental, Naughty Boy, Chase and Status or Disclosure was a non-starter? Lily was topping the charts long before these guys and I can’t imagine any of them not wanting to be associated with a continental chart hit, for someone of her stature. Take Paloma Faith as an example. OK so working with Pharrell Williams isn’t cheap but it’s not the producer, it’s the song. She has released a superbly catchy single that I have no doubt will be a staple on many a chart list. When compared to Lily’s new material there is simply no comparison.
Alternatively, we have now reached a point where ‘leakage‘ is often the best way for music to gain traction and artists employ such methods all the time. Maybe Lily should take the moral high ground and unleash one of her “better” songs on the masses. If the music is as good as she says it is then there can only be a positive outcome. Or (and maybe she has already tried this), she could have approached the label to discuss alternative types of promo. Maybe it’s outside the box for artists such as Lily, but a promo mix or a Free EP would have been a great promo and attention grabber.
Or, if Lily really feels the way she does maybe she should have found a label that would back her up. An independent would surely be jumping for joy at having Lily Allen on their books and she would have definitely had more freedom with regards to the music, she would have been able to put together for an album. Doesn’t Lily run her own label? In The Name Of is backed by Sony Music but surely she would have had more freedom that way. I am guessing that either there are monetary factors involved or she was already tied to Parlophone. Yet another or….She could have gone straight to a few producers and had a workable demo of ‘better music’ ready to take to her label. Surely if she had ideas, she has been in the industry long enough to know how to turn those ideas into music without too much fuss.
I am more inclined to believe that contractual obligations are the reason for her current woes and barbs at label bigwigs and I’d be very interested in what they have to say. This second issue is not a general comment and the blame is being laid squarely at their door. If we are to take those barbs at face value then she is clearly someone who wants to be captain of her own ship sooner rather than later. Once any obligations are fulfilled I hope she stays true to her well publicised words, or they may very well come back to haunt her.