Rick Wakeman's Caped Crusade: The truth will set you free

An illustration of a man holding a tray of coffee

An emergency meeting was recently called at Clueless Records, one of the UK’s major labels, to discuss falling sales. The chairman, president, six vice presidents, the Head of A&R, and the sales and marketing team were all in attendance. Also present was Eric, the 16-year-old work experience lad.

The head of the label’s German office, Herman von Streaming, opened the proceedings. “Guten tag, gentlemen and ladies. I have called this crisis meeting as physical sales have now reached an all-time low.”

He clicked his heels and continued, “Whilst it is true that streaming is very good for us and we certainly like that we can pay the artists next to nothing and pocket the major income share whilst ripping them off [sinister laughter]… but apart from that and the money we get from online downloads, we are dying so we need to find a solution.”

Harry ‘Good Time’ Braindead, the 24-year-old Head of A&R, was the first to speak. “I don’t get no play these days,” he sighed, drumming his fingers on the table. His colleagues were impressed as he normally didn’t have a clue when it comes to music. He still thought a crotchet was something to do with sewing.

Lucinda, Head of Sales, asked, “Do you mean radio play?”

“Nah, foreplay, innit!”

Justin Doors spoke next. He was one of the overpaid vice presidents. “I’ve been at Clueless longer than most of you,” he said, his eyes darting around the room to make sure everyone was listening. “It’s been almost two years since I joined following my third-class degree in Media Studies at the University Of Herne Bay. Anyway, the truth is, the sales team just aren’t selling and the promotions team just aren’t promoting.”

He sat down, feeling very smug that he had grasped the essence of the problem.

Herman ignored him and shouted. “The problem is clear; the public aren’t buying enough CDs, and the question is why?

“Surely somebody must have some ideas?” His face was now red.

The silence was interrupted only by the gurgle and whir of the coffee pod machine as Eric started handing out drinks.

“Boy?” Herman asked, as the lad popped a latte macchiato in front of him.

“Well, there are no record shops anymore,” replied Eric. “They all closed down when you lot tried to get everyone to buy online so you’d make bigger profits. Now everyone has realised they were conned into buying in a way they didn’t want to, and so instead of saving money, you’re now losing money.”

Herman spoke again, “Ah, gut! Thank you, Boy! That is very interesting and you may have stumbled upon the answer. I will cut costs immediately. You’re all fired and, Boy, you can have my job.”

“No thank you, Mr von Streaming,” said the teen. “I’m hoping to have a future!”

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