The Question: How do I get the music I love to come to me?
Isn't that what we really want. We want the music we love to come to us virtually effortlessly.
We'd love for terrestrial radio to be the mechanism. It's cheap and accessible to everyone. I understand that as time goes on, it becomes harder and harder to please everyone, let alone discerning music listeners like myself.
Back when DJs had greater control over what the radio station played, there was a connection between the Dj and listeners. The Dj had an integral role in breaking new music. Their musical taste and understanding of the audience combined with a love of music fostered a trusting relationship with the radio station audience. He had the duty of giving the people what they wanted and the request line made feedback from the audience easy.
He also had the freedom to give the radio listener what he felt deserved their attention. Dj's being natural music lovers, this freedom was deserved.
When did all this change?
Don't make me lie because I do not know. It could have been a gradual thing, or maybe there is a date that's recorded in history as the day the Dj, and the radio listener's trusting relationship became disconnected.
Music on terrestrial radio is being picked to primarily please investors and advertisers on radio. The radio station's goal is to keep us (listeners) tuned in so we will listen to the ads, which is how they make their money.
Surveys show if the beat and hook of a song are catchy, we listeners won't change the channel so fast. Those elements are what radio station programmers look for when developing their playlist. It's become a science.
Understanding this is key to realizing how a lot of good music is overlooked. Many listeners now feel disconnected from the music being presented by radio.
The music presented is being dictated by those whose primary motive isn't to entertain or enlighten musically. It's about listening time and money. There's nothing wrong with money, we all love money. However, we now see what the effect of this money based playlist is having on the airwaves.
Erykah Badu explains it like this.
We can't be upset at the business angle, the bills must be paid and making a living is something we all have to do. From the artist to the studio musicians, engineers, record labels, producers, writers, and anyone else involved in the music chain, money keeps the train moving.
Balance is what's missing.
The interesting thing about the current situation is how the tail starts to wag the dog. Making a radio "friendly" song becomes the order of the day for the music producers. They soon study what it takes to get on the radio and model their music to that end.
The formula to successfully get on the radio, whatever that may sound like at any given time, has become the formula to emulate. Following this formula is what the record labels stress to the artist, producers, and writers right out the gate. It's also what the record labels hear from the radio stations programmers when it comes to getting plays.
We all can understand the science behind the business.
What happens to the music?
Diversity and creativity are lost from the terrestrial airwaves because the music isn't chosen by lovers of music for lovers of music.