The Derry-born singer said the music business is now so obsessed with marketing and online promotions that it is stifling creativity.
In an interview to mark his 60th birthday, the singer said online music streaming is “killing the ability for songwriters and artists to make a living” – which may impact on their desire and capability to produce music.
Sharkey also claimed that The Undertones would not have made it in today’s industry due to the internet and risk-averse record labels.
“A songwriter now will be better off working in a hamburger bar on a minimum wage because they will probably make more money,” he said.
Sharkey said his former band relied on the simple but effective marketing strategy of sending their debut single Teenage Kicks to BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel 40 years ago.
Peel – who famously played the song twice in a row on national radio – was reported to have burst into tears upon hearing the song and named it as his favourite of all time.
“Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, all kinds of record companies were signing up a huge range of artists,” Sharkey told The Sunday Telegraph newspaper.
“So, The Undertones got a chance.
“But most major labels are no longer in a position or willing to take that kind of risk and make that kind of investment to develop cutting edge artists exploring the fringes of what is possible creatively.”
“When I talk to young artists, I say, ‘Why are you worrying about all of that?'”
Despite this, Sharkey believes the UK remains the most likely place where the next great musical talent is most likely to be found.
“I’m an eternal optimist and think there’s some 17 year-old somewhere about to create the most incredible piece of music anyone has ever heard,” he added.
“And, if any country on earth can deliver that, it probably is the United Kingdom.”Tags: