Tuesday, January 27, 2009

You Will Land With A Thud

The title of this post is only vaguely related to the subject matter but bear with me. I have been one of CBC Radio 3's most vocal advocates when they've - done - things - right and I haven't shied away when they've done things - wrong, sadly this is about one of the latter.

Today Radio 3 launched a new program in cooperation with Exclaim and aux.tv called X3:
"As you probably know, emerging Canadian artists face an uphill battle trying to get exposure in a media saturated world. Along with a multitude of other media in this county, we here at the R3 try our best to promote our home-grown talent, but even still, it’s hard to punch through all the noise.

That’s why CBC Radio 3 is partnering with Exclaim! and AUX.tv to create the X3 Artist of the Month, a joint initiative to give emerging artists the exposure they need to propel them to the next level in their careers."
Which sounds like a fine idea but to kick things off, they've chosen K'naan. Ok I get that he's an interesting story, coming as he does out of Somalia but I don't know how much of a boost he needs. He is already signed to a major US label, has won a Juno Award and been nominated for a Polaris Music Prize, worked with artists such as Nelly Furtado, Mos Def, the Roots and Damian Marley, has been written about in Spin, the Guardian, Daily Telegraph and the independent as well as just about every free weekly.

So it's a bit like saying to an "indie" audience that your first featured performer would be Nickelback (I know K'naan is hip-hop but I'm making a point, not talking about genre.) In the comments section of the blog John Paolozzi (of Radio 3) points out that it's not solely Radio 3's decision that there has to be agreement between R3, Exclaim and Aux.tv. That could very well be the root of the problem, there may be too many cooks to make the idea work. Also in the comments section Grant Lawrence pipes in with
"The point of this feature is really to celebrate an artist that we really like that has an exciting album coming out... and K'Naan fits all of those descriptions... next month it might be an artist no one has ever heard of, or it might be Feist!

It's really just an artist that we're amped about and we can all agree on, and that is definitely K'Naan! He'll be live on CBC Radio 3 on Monday!"
Somehow that makes me feel no better about the present or future of X-3. The rest of the comments on the post are pretty universally negative - which is where the title comes from. On Grant Lawrence's show today the topic was 'What Canadian album would make a good musical?' and the thought popped into my head that if they did a musical about the X-3 launch they could use the Tom Fun Orchestra's 'You Will Land With a Thud'.

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