I’m a music fan, and I’m also a fan of radio. Traditional radio, that terrestrial station that you can turn on anywhere there is a signal and catch great tunes. Your car, home, work, headphones, everywhere. Where else can you catch great new music without paying? For the small price of advertisements that interrupt your listening, its cool to sit back, flick on the dial, and jam. Itunes, Pandora, Rhapsody, most online services are just that, services, you pay for internet, you pay for a package to hear new music. Satellite or cable stations are cool, for a moment, if nobody is playing movies, video games, soap operas. XM radio seems filled with talk shows like AM radio. Internet radio shows are sporadic and mostly not well put together, you have to be diligent to follow the programming and be online to even listen. Phone apps for these are just starting to make a dent. Seems most people are downloading and playing the songs they know and love. They may occasionally hear a new song on TRADITIONAL radio, or TV music program, look up that artist, then download and play their music.
With such a gamut of choices, radio stations know their status on the food chain. Without them, new music would be lost in a vast universe of a gazillion unheard tunes, good or bad, that will never cross your ears. Peer to peer sharing, whether face to face or online, is a small dent in the overall marketability of a new artist. Touring is essential to get your brand recognized and acknowledged, but has anybody tried a successful tour when you are unknown? Touring, relatively unknown, is a virtually impossible task. Sure, you land a few gigs here and there, but do you destroy a full 25 city trek, selling out, gaining tons of new fans, and demanding stations play you? It doesn’t work that way unless you are an already sellable amity. Face it, your love of music, the craft, has become a hot commodity. Somebody like Michael Jackson was looked as a product, not a regular human being with exceptional talent.
I love radio, but radio is greedy, they are not relying on their natural status in the musical entertainment world to harbor and nurture new and exciting talent. Gone is the day a disc jockey can discover a hidden gem like Kay Cee and Jo’ Jo’s -‘All my Life’, or Shaggy’s ‘It Wasn’t Me.’ ‘Wow, this is a great song, lets play it and see what happens’, boom an instant hit, not sanctioned by the record labels or the station. It merely was a great song, timing was right, it blew up. The only people in this position now is the weekend mix disc jockey, they are usually exempt of the same ol’ same ol’ playlists radio stations stick to. But their shows are limited to small blocks, quick edits, weekend shows, without the song playing in its entirety, the all important Arbitron rating doesn’t stick. Some songs do blow up this way, but few and far between.
Radio needs to change with the times and set new standards. Being a blog, this is a snippet of the full barrage I’m going to share on my recommendations for the future, part II will be next. I adore radio, and I’m not attacking the great people behind it, but there are corrupt forces in the industry. Like Tribe Called Quest claimed, ‘Industry rule #40,080 record company people are shady!’ We, the fans of music, must unite to make a change in the industry, and I’ll layout the plans to do just that.