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EDITIONS
Friday, 15 November, 2002, 10:44 GMT
MTV boss attacks prefab pop
Hear'Say: Noel Sullivan, Suzanne Shaw, Johnny Shentall, Mylene Klass and Danny Foster
Hear'Say split within just two years
The bubble may finally have burst for manufactured bands and acts, according to a senior MTV executive.

The public "will get sick of identikit bands", said Brent Hansen, president and chief executive of MTV Networks Europe.


We would encourage people to take a longer-term view on the development of artists

Brent Hansen
MTV Europe
Mr Hansen believes the current glut of manufactured bands that are "swamping" the music industry, made possible by TV shows like Pop Idol and Popstars, is becoming a turn-off.

"The difficulty is when you start to get very cynical about putting together paint-by-number identikit bands," he said.

"You then tend to devalue the face of performing arts.

"The proliferation of them will, I think, turn the public against that style of band for a little while."

Instant stardom

Since beginning in the US in the 1980s, MTV channels now appear around the world.

But Mr Hansen said there were few stars that transcended all borders.

"The music industry seems to be quite local," he said.

"There are only about 20 artists that work in the majority of markets."

Will Young
Will Young is still doing well in the UK
Mr Hansen added instant stardom rarely equalled longevity in the music business.

"The old-school way was to give them three or four years to build themselves," he said.

"We would encourage people to take a longer-term view on the development of artists.

"That is the only way you are going to create the next wave of superstars who will give you a sense of solidarity behind your label."

Shelf-life

While some manufactured groups go on to achieve worldwide fame - such as the Spice Girls did - others have a short shelf-life.

Hear'Say, created by ITV's Popstars, split up after less than two years in the spotlight.

Pop stars Kylie Minogue and Robbie Williams have been the most recent critics of manufactured acts.

Minogue said reality TV shows encouraged children to have a "frightening" obsession with fame while Williams described the phenomenon as "cruel".

Latest figures show that total music sales fell by five per cent last year, to $33.7bn (21.2bn).

"It is tough and there is a lack of confidence in the industry," said Mr Hansen.

"But I have the utmost belief that artistic merit is out there. These people will rise to the top."

See also:

14 Nov 02 | Entertainment
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