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Chris Moyles criticised for saying ‘most unsigned bands are crap’

The DJ has been called 'ignorant' over the on-air rant

By Tom Skinner

Chris Moyles presenting on Radio X
Chris Moyles on Radio X. CREDIT: Radio X/ YouTube

Chris Moyles has received criticism for saying that “most unsigned bands are crap”.

The DJ made the comment during his Radio X breakfast show last Friday (February 17) while responding to a listener who had asked why he doesn’t play any new music on the station. “‘Cause that’s not what this show’s all about,” Moyles said.

“And the real reason [we don’t play new acts] is – and this will blow their tiny minds, and they’ll hate this. The reason why we don’t play unsigned bands is because – and there are exceptions to the rule – but the main reason is that most unsigned bands are crap. I’m sorry but that’s the truth.”

Moyles went on to say that he doesn’t want to “sift through hours of crap” to find something worth playing, adding: “That’s someone else’s job – it ain’t my job!”

It was then argued that a national breakfast show isn’t necessarily the right slot in which to debut material by rising artists. You can listen to the conversation below.

Sharing a clip of the rant on Twitter, one listener said that Moyles’ argument was “unhinged” and “absolutely pathetic” while some people called the broadcaster “ignorant”.

Another user explained how unsigned acts currently “need as many outlets as they can get”, citing the recent proposed changes to BBC Introducing. However, that person noted how John Kennedy’s ‘X-Posure’ show on Radio X is “always on the money” in terms of showcasing new talent.

A third wrote: “Chris Moyles and [his] attitude towards new bands/music is the antithesis of everything that was so good about John Peel.”

Elsewhere, someone commented: “I think it’s time we all boycotted @RadioX isn’t it? Never mind the fact it just plays endless lad/dad-rock on repeat, the fact one of its major presenters said this… incredible. You do realise @ChrisMoyles that every band you play, were at one point unsigned right?”

Music site Drowned In Sound, meanwhile, said that Moyles’ controversial take was “a very 90s bloke thing to say”. “There are 100k tracks released every week,” the tweet continued. “The vast majority don’t have labels. Nor need them And plenty of self-releasing acts have had huge success. There’s awful music on labels too.”

Responding to that post, a DiS follower tweeted: “The appearance of ‘unsigned’ as a category at gigs and festivals a few years ago was deeply counter productive to such acts, probably helping to cement attitudes like Moyles’.”

You can see those reactions and more here:

However, some listeners had a more diplomatic response to the rant. “Not sticking up for Chris Moyles but the fact people think a breakfast show DJ on a national commercial radio station has any say on what gets played is a big worry,” one said. “He’s wrong to come out with some of the stuff he did right enough, but hardly a surprise he’s acted like that.”

A second Twitter user wrote: “He’s saying what the majority of the general public think unfortunately, who view the term unsigned as a mark of quality. Make no mistake here, if there was a huge thriving scene, he’d be all over it and pretending he was a champion of it all along.”

Moyles is yet to respond to the criticism of his comments.