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Friday, 24 May 2013

Universal Music's boss pays unsuitable "tribute" to Georges Moustaki

French singer-songwriter Georges Moustaki died on Thursday at the age of 79.

As you would probably expect from an artist of his stature, there were many moving tributes.

The national daily Le Figaro called Moustaki "un artiste extraordinaire"

On her official page, the minister of culture, Aurélie Filippetti, paid homage to "the man who had composed for some of France's musical giants before revealing himself as a great interpreter of his own songs."

Given Moustaki's roots (both his parents came from Corfu) TF1 took perhaps the more "popular", but nonetheless fitting approach.

Alongside running a segment on Moustaki's career, the channel's prime time news sought the reactions of a couple other famous Greeks (in France).

A tearful Nana Mouskouri sang him a short "message of love" and TV presenter Nikos Aliagas remembered the "sincerity in his eyes".

Outside of France, international news organisations such as the BBC and Deutsche Welle ran pieces on their sites.

And the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova sent her condolences to Moustaki's family and friends in a statement on her official page.

Inevitably their were also tributes from the famous and the less well known on Twitter, expressing their sense of loss and admiration for the man, or simply linking to videos and performances of their favourite songs.

Everyone, it seemed, wanted to their pay respects to the man and his life - and quite rightly.

Except for one particular person. Pascal Nègre, the head of Universal Music, France - the label for which Moustaki recorded.
 Alongside calling Moustaki one of "the last legends, an artist and a poet" Nègre couldn't, it seems, resist reminding his 35,000 or so followers that Moustaki's works were available on Universal - ending his tasteful Tweet with RIP.

While many might view Nègre's Tweet as inappropriate (and indeed were soon poking fun at it in reply), he couldn't see anything wrong with what he had done.

"Why should I regret it?" he said.  "I paid tribute to an artist we were fortunate enough to produce and I simply gave information that we hold a lot of his musical catalogue."

Well, as you obviously need telling M. Nègre, it's called opportunism. And it's in pretty poor taste.

Georges Moustaki - Le facteur par kyssiane

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