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speakerpic flag Norway - Full Moon 128 - 03/04/07

Speakers' corner: by:Larm 2007
We're only in it for the money

Following up our retroscope series of last year - here's Speakers' corner! Luna Kafé's focused eye on great events, fantastic happenings, absolute milestones, or other curious incidents from the history of rock. This moonth we join the celebration of the 10 year anniversary of what (in by:Larm's own words) has grown into "Scandinavia's largest music conference". This is our report.

A cattle show
The 10th by:Larm festival/conference was held in the city of Trondheim, February 8.-10. 2007. In addition to showcasing new talent, by:Larm also showcases a record industry's strategy to survive. It is obvious that a large part of todays Norwegian up-and-coming artists are still easily manipulated by that same industry. The hope of landing a deal with a record company is sweet enough to make almost anybody swallow the bitter pill of being treated like cattle at a show, which was the case according to the comments from artists self assured enough to talk about it, like Datarock and Tungtvann. But hey, this is a conference for the music industry, why bother complaining? One good reason is perhaps because by:Larm also want to be looked upon as one of Norway's most important rock festivals, and is lobbying to receive permanent governmental funding as such.

Piracy kills music ...
piracy Quite a few of the lectures and seminars offered at the "conference part" of by:Larm dealt with different aspects of selling yourself and your music from an artist's point of view. Nobody was talking about music, it was all about selling it, distributing it, or preventing it from being downloaded for free. The record companies in fact used by:Larm to kick of a national campaign against downloading music, disguised as a "debate" about downloading. The campaign itself, enjoyable at, will surely make a lot of downloaders think twice. About giving another dollar to a music industry that seems this thick.

Buy this, buy that
bylarm-eagle by:Larm 2007 was hyper-sponsored throughout. From the hair gel handed out to attendees on registration day, to the specially produced coins we had to use to buy beer. The coins had a nazi-like eagle on one side, and "VG" on the other. VG, one of Norway's two tabloids, featured praising reviews of the concerts, while Dagbladet, Norway's other tabloid (not being a sponsor), of course handed down the dirt, like pointing a finger at the mixing of roles by the by:Larm arranging committee and music industry. But this is of course not corruption, it is simply friends at work.

The rock minister
rockminister Nice then, to see that the Norwegian Minister of Culture, sometimes referred to as "The Rock Minister", has his clear visions through all this. Mr. Trond Giske stated in an interview at by:Larm that "In Sweden they know the importance of promotion, while in Norway promotion often is pronounced like a negative word. The Swedes also recognize a best seller despite the fact that it's been improved and refined in the studio. In Norway, that's called a sell-out. We'd better get rid of the cred-police once and for all!". Now, Mr. Rock Minister, I know it's a major part of your job description to hand out other people's money, but you know, if some believe that money alone is not making everything go around, it's not your business to tell them to shut up. Get rid of the cred-police once and for all? When I hear the word "credibility" I reach for my gun? Now that's a minister of culture for you.

The nature of by:Larm of 2007 is not far from that of the TV show Idol, its main focus has become basically the same - a music industry trying to spot and promote the next big thing. As a music festival, by:Larm is somewhat off track. It is more than anything a gathering of the music industry et al. shamelessly singing hail to themselves. Nothing would be more appropriate than by:Larm giving the by:Larm-of-the-year award to ... by:Larm boss Erlend Mogård Larsen. Which they did.

Hair gel and sushi!
As an official attendee, I was very happy with the aforementioned free L'oreal Studio Remix hair gel, and as a bald man I also found the sushi recipes handed out by Norwegian Seafood Export Council very useful. Now there's another industry in trouble, but they can't blame the Internet, so I guess they'll go after the sea. Strange though that they focus on sushi, we Norwegians will normally do anything but eat the fish raw: we'll salt it, smoke it, dry it, bury it in the grown to rot, or even let it soak in caustic soda - I'm not joking. Anyway, let us conclude that the Norwegian music industry has found the recipe to survive and expand through the next years - sushi, hair gel and no credibility. Good luck!

Copyright © 2007 Makem E. Rich e-mail address

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