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“Dancing in convertibles...”

EDITORIAL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF George Garner george.garner@futurenet.com DIGITAL EDITOR Andre Paine andre.paine@futurenet.com FEATURES EDITOR Ben Homewood ben.homewood@futurenet.com CONTENT EDITOR/PRODUCER Miranda Bardsley miranda.bardsley@futurenet.com ART EDITOR Steve Newman steve.newman@futurenet.com CHARTS & DATA Isabelle Nesmon isabelle.nesmon@futurenet.com

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Welcome to

Music Week...

Dinner is served

For my first editorial of the year, I’m setting myself a challenge: I’m going to talk about 2024 without mentioning artificial intelligence. For one, we covered it in-depth in our 2023 In Review issue. For another, there are other things to pay attention to, y’know. So, to the other question on every executive and manager’s lips right now: can the UK – or any other country, for that matter – break a new act on a global scale in 2024? This against a run of successive years in which returning superstars have dominated the attention economy. With a slew of big hitters all due back in the coming months, it will be interesting to see how, and where, newer acts’ stories can find space to be heard. Especially for those who can’t get things trending at the drop of a hat. Adding further complexity is the increasing compression of the music calendar in terms of release windows. Q4 is not the Q4 it used to be. On Friday, November 1 this year, a new Mariah Carey viral video will presumably herald the takeover of Christmas songs and albums. Forget 12 months – the feeling is very much that an 11-month calendar no longer exists for new releases. So how can new acts cut through? This month’s cover stars, The Last Dinner Party, might hold the answer. “For a while, bands had this manufactured effortlessness – they didn’t really give a shit and thought that was cool,” frontwoman Abigail Morris tells Music Week. “We would rather make it look like we’re putting everything in and bleeding out on stage. You want to create a world to inhabit. You can’t expect to have a dedicated audience if you are not giving yourselves equally to the aesthetic as to the music.” That this year’s BRITs Rising Star and BBC Sound Of… poll winners TLDP have enjoyed such success early on is not by chance. They emerged fully formed, not only with a unique sound but also a compelling aesthetic fans can buy into. From Kiss and Slipknot to My Chemical Romance, Bring Me The Horizon and Ghost, rock has excelled at harnessing the power of pageantry and the in-it-for-the-long-haul, participatory community it can foster. Clearly, there remains real traction in this approach. Nothing will ever – or should ever – trump having incredible music. And no, not all acts need a prescribed look. But in a day and age where new acts are competing against the combined pull of pre-existing superstars (and their greatest hits!), gaming, film/TV streaming and social media, you suspect now more than ever, big breakthroughs may require some altogether bigger ideas to support them. George Garner, Editor-In-Chief

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