October 20th, 2011
The news that Westlife have decided to call an end to their 14 year career was not greeted by wailing and gnashing of teeth in my household. I was woken at 7.30 this morning by a call from BBC Radio 5 Live to ask what was Irish boy band’s greatest contribution to music. “Breaking up,” was the only thing I could think of.
It is probably fair to say that I wasn’t their target audience. But what I really hate is that very concept: an audience being cynically targeted by backroom entrepreneurs and managers with no real love of pop music.
Westlife were the spawn of Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh, two of the most manipulative characters in the music business, with their emphasis very much on the latter part of that equation. They represented not the peak of the 90s manufactured boy band phenomenon but its nadir, the moment when the business squeezes out the music altogether, slowly strangling the golden goose in the name of profitability.
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