Re: [rumori] download salvation

From: Bob Boster (
Date: Thu Aug 15 2002 - 01:29:01 PDT

At 17:44 14/08/2002 -0700, Matt wrote:

>Limited radio playlists. It's about time somebody said that. Seems that no
>matter where you go there are 4 radio stations
>1) The top 40 station
>2) The "lite rock less talk" station. (Yes, they all use the same slogan)
>3) The hard, alternative and/or classic rock station, often with a "No
>Repeat Thursday" and "Two for Tuesday"
>4) The obligatory country station.

bb> Here here. But I can say one thing from my outpost here in the Grey
Island (UK) CAN get worse than US radio. In the UK they have 2
formats, your 1 and your 2 (with 2 playing slightly older pop and no
rap). And they also don't have any oases of genuine choice like the
HUNDREDS of college and community stations around the US. Given that you
have KALF, KUSF, KZSU, and KFJC around you Matt, I'm surprised your list
above is quite so depressing...

[in the interests of full disclosure, I'll confess here that I pay my rent
on radio industry $$$, although from the supply side, so I'm hardly an

>I would also add that the largest record labels have a crappy business
>plan. They don't bother to carry a wide selection of releases to cater to
>different tastes anymore. Since the success of MTV, they have been using
>that, in combination with the vast radio station monopolies, to
>manufacture a very narrow range of taste in listeners, which they can
>satisfy with a much smaller variety of product. Maybe (hopefully) many
>listeners are getting sick of the same-old stuff.

bb> I actually disagree with the idea that their biz plan includes pushing
people onto one platform - current pop. I think they know well, and it is
clear that they understand, that the important thing is to create an
'apparent diversity' so they can intensify people's interests by
reinforcing the image of them as having a 'lifestyle' that matches their
musical choice. You can see this if you look through the very wide
portfolios of labels owned by the big 5. They all have a pop label (or 2),
a metal/hard rock/nu-metal label, an alternative label, a country label, a
'world cheese' label, a rap label, a soundtrack label, etc. I know it
doesn't seem like much of range to you and I, but it is actually wider than
you think.

Contrary to Jon's assertion, they don't necessarily want us ALL on the same
stuff, they rather want us all on one thing or another that they own the
vector of transmission for. They are even happy with those rare individuals
who can find interest in Beck, The Dixie Chicks, and REM. What they don't
want is consumers getting a look at some real alternatives, or a channel to
buy anything even vaguely persuasive on the mass level DIRECTLY from the
artist. Nothing scares them more than an Ani Difranco.

>It's amazing how cheap, uncreative and lacking in effort pop music sounds
>these days - especially, well especially all the choices listed above. I'm
>not just saying that to poo-poo pop music. I'll give the credit where
>credit's due, but if I hear another generic RnB cover of what was once a
>meaningful song, I'll just..... just... .complain more.

bb> I disagree that it's cheap sounding or lacking in effort. I know what
kind of gear it takes to make that stuff sound so shiny and it's nothing
like cheap. I'm sure I'm misinterpreting your use of the word. I actually
think there is some amazing craftspersonship in the production of much of
this crap. Just listen to the Beyonce single from Austin Powers part 21,
or the any of the Timbaland stuff (Missy Elliot last summer), or even the
Mutt Lange stuff (Shania Twain, some Britney)... It's really detailed and
skilled. It just happens to be deployed in the worst possible artistic
context...pure evil imperial intent. Even the stuff that's not ACTUALLY
prurient SEEMS prurient.

I remain interested in the vector of the internet for getting people some
opportunities to hear some equally persuasive things, but until there is a
greater diversity of possible channels to receive these things and have the
magic of the cultural reinforcement of the music (see skate rats and
poppunk, for instance) get a chance to work it's thing with some true
alternatives, we're not going to see any substantial changes. DAB, 3G,
802.11-broadcast, satellite/cable options jumping from the dozens to the
hundreds...this is the next window of opportunity for something new on the
mass level, and since the stuff will cost money to do, it's likely that it
will be very hard for the underground to really make a go of it. And
honestly, I think that's OK - we would all be a lot less interested in
N'land if they were millionaire/household name types, wouldn't we. In
fact, I suspect we'd all shift over to noise if collage was platinum
selling territory.

Something else I'll predict here - how long are we from someone offering
some offshore 'who fucking cares about the RIAA' platform for internet
radio? I expect we'll see it before the end of the year. If not ALREADY.

Enough pontification...interesting thread I think,


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