HITS, HYPE & HUSTLE: AN INSIDER'S GUIDE TO THE MUSIC BUSINESS (2018)
Making a Star
In the first program of the series, music agent Emma Banks looks at how the music business finds talent and creates superstars.
Over 25 years as one of the top agents in the business, Emma has worked with some of the world's most famous artists, including Katy Perry, Kanye West and Red Hot Chili Peppers. She's seen first-hand the fine line between success and failure, following the careers of hundreds of acts - from geniuses who never quite made it to megastars who conquered the world.
The secret to success and stardom is an elusive formula of luck, timing and of course talent. But as Emma explores in this film, it's also about the team behind the talent - the record execs, label bosses and A&R gurus who find, develop and make a star. From Motown's musical finishing school to Damon Dash's dogged promotion of Jay-Z, the missed potential of sixties group The Zombies to Blur's record label steering their career from one-hit wonders towards chart domination, this film offers an entertaining behind-the-scenes peek into the peaks and pitfalls of making a musical superstar.
Contributors include Motown's Martha Reeves, Blur's Alex James, record producing legend Clive Davis, Jane's Addiction's Perry Farrell and Labelle's Nona Hendryx. And we follow Emma as she works with new grime star Lady Leshurr to take her career to the next level.
On the Road
Music promoter John Giddings takes us on an entertaining ride behind the stage lights to tell the story of how live performance has become a billion-pound industry.
As the founder and promoter of the modern Isle of Wight festival and one of the world's biggest live promoters, John knows more than most how to put a show on the road. And how the world of live performance has changed.
Where once bands would tour to promote an album, in the age of downloads and disappearing record sales, the live arena is a huge business. Bigger than ever before.
For a genuine behind-the-scenes insight into the scale and logistics of the modern mega-tour, John takes us backstage at U2's latest stadium spectacular. We also join John behind the scenes at Isle of Wight 2017, the festival he runs and where Rod Stewart and Run DMC are among the big names on the line-up.
But we also travel back to tell the story of the original Isle of Wight Festival, where a bunch of young promoters with big ideas persuaded Bob Dylan, The Who and Leonard Cohen to perform. A tale of unpaid artists, frantic last-minute negotiations and general mayhem, it was an event that transformed the music industry. And for a young John Giddings, who was in the audience, it was the beginning of a whole career.
Along the way, some of the biggest names in rock and pop share their insights from life on the road and how the world of live performance has changed.
Phil Collins reminisces about his youthful trips to the Marquee Club. Earth, Wind & Fire reveal the extraordinary planning that went into their theatrical stage shows. Stewart Copeland recalls The Police's pioneering international tours, including a memorable visit to India at the invitation of a local women's organization, The Time and Talents Club. Melanie C talks of her nerves taking to the road with the Spice Girls, who unlike most touring bands had no real experience of live performance. And Alex James remembers the thrill of live performance but also the reality behind some of their tours... not just to please the fans but to pay the taxman.
Revivals and Reunions
Part three of this entertaining, behind-the-scenes series about how the music business works, explores the phenomenon of band reunions.
With unique revelations, rare archive and backstage access to an impressive line-up of old favourites strutting their stuff once more, music PR legend Alan Edwards tells the story of why so many bands are getting back together, what happens when they do - and how it's changing the music business.
Alan Edwards, who has looked after everyone from Prince to The Rolling Stones, from David Bowie to The Spice Girls, is our musical guide. He's been in the business long enough to see countless acts enjoy pop stardom, split up, fall out, only to re-emerge triumphant decades later, to the joy of their fans.
Alan starts by telling the story of the UK's first revival concert which took place over 40 years ago at Wembley Stadium. Featuring some of the biggest acts from the birth of rock 'n' roll - Bill Haley and the Comets, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis - the concert opened the eyes of promoters to the power of yesterday's hitmakers to reach an audience and make serious money.
From there, Alan takes us on a musical journey through some of the biggest reunions of the last thirty years. Highlights include Glen Matlock, ex-bassist in The Sex Pistols who talks candidly about their 1996 reunion. Called the Filthy Lucre tour, Glen reveals how one section of the band had to travel on a separate tour bus just to keep the fragile band reunion on track so they could finish the tour.
Alan also meets the three remaining members of Blondie, who tell him how they've navigated their reunion. Debbie Harry reveals how she didn't want to get back together with the band at first, had to be persuaded to do it, but then teared up when they first played together - 'when we put the band back together for the first time and everybody started playing I sort of teared up because, oh there really is that sound, that really does exist, we do have an identity and that is probably the really successful band is to have a successful uniqueness to it.'
Stewart Copeland, the drummer in The Police, tells us about their reunion tour, one the most successful of all time. In rare archive of the band's rehearsals, Stewart tells us these 'were hell'. Copeland also reveals how the band had therapy during their comeback tour, 'we started to say things that I, we'd never said. I heard things from him (Sting) that just blew my mind, that's what you've been thinking for thirty years.'
Melanie C talks about The Spice Girls' reunion and reveals which of the girls called to ask her to give it another go. Alex James from Blur gives us the inside track on how Blur's revival happened and Shaun Ryder, with typical bluntness, tells us why he decided to take The Happy Mondays back on the road. We also hear from OMD, who for the first time reveal what really happened during their bitter break-up.
Eighties musical phenomenon Musical Youth take us behind the scenes of their rebirth and tell us why they still do it, and one of the biggest bands of the 60s, The Zombies, tell the remarkable story of how good old-fashioned 'word of mouth' played a big part in their rebirth.
The program also looks at how to stage a reunion when no members of the band want to get involved. Alan Edwards explores how pop music is increasingly popping up in West End musicals and at how bands are staging their own exhibitions as a way to come back without actually having to stage a reunion.
And finally, Alan ponders the ultimate comeback - from beyond the grave - and asks whether technology and the arrival of hologram performances mean that in the future bands will never really break up, they'll just keep on regenerating.