As a child, over several decades ago, I used to love, LOVE listening to the radio. The music culture was so different back in the seventies and eighties. It was such a wonderful time because the type of music culture we had really allowed us to discover new and interesting music every day. But today, a feral cat can literally put up a music video on YouTube and become a viral hit! Don’t get me the wrong way; I’m not one of those old farts that thumbs down every single music past year 2000. I’ve heard some darn good music recently. However, we can’t ignore the fact that the internet has changed the quality of music in so many ways unbeknown to the average music listener. Of course, our individual tastes has a LOT to do with it. On the other hand, back in the day, a lot of artists with potential where coached, trained and groomed to be that performer/band that we knew and perhaps still love today. I think this is one of the reasons that so many “old timers,” such as myself, that’s been listening to music for so long we’ve developed an ear for music quality. People like me have come from an era where music truly was about art; but today music is about shock value, and doin’ anything to get attention. Regardless if you’re talented, or even like music. Although it is common knowledge that the music industry had a hand in destroying music culture as we knew it; however, their greed for “that money maker” filtered the airwaves and prevented us from hearing music that would be less desired by the general public. I do believe that like it or not, there was a formula to what the labels were doing. It’s just their unchecked greed fucked it up for everybody.
The radio used to be essential when it came to discovering new music
When I was growing up, there were only two real ways of finding new music we loved. Listening to the radio, and or, going directly to the music store and listening to what they were playing. Music was so serious when I was growing up, that most record stores would play portions of an album for you, so that it would help you make your decision as to whether you wanted to by a record or not. But, today most record stores I grew up with are not defunct. The radio stations are now practically on repeat. Repeat because most stations are now fully playlisted. Even if a studio has a live DJ, they’re still using pre-selected playlists. I’ve mentioned this before…. A playlist (at least in the context of radio), is not the same thing as hand-selected music. There is a difference!! Most, if not all playlists that come from radio are automated, based on algorithms that pullout songs by record sales; and do not take into consideration the various music culture, neighborhoods, or even emotion. Music today are selected by robots.
Automated Playlists Hinders Further Music discovery!
Now we have a new problem with playlists. That problem is what I call cycling. See, I realized that there are only a set number of songs per given time frame or radio segment. In other words, if you’re listening to Internet radio, the selected playlist will play again usually in a 2 hour time span. On a “live radio station,” a playlist will get replayed about every 6 to 8 hours. Some times they’ll even shuffle the same playlist. What’s bad about that is, it’s become harder to find new oldies, because there is no effort to use a human DJ. A seasoned DJ. This brings up an important point, on how interesting it is (if feel) that now music streaming services (not youtube) are more important than ever! Why? Because huge streaming services such as Spotify and Apple/iTunes have complex algorithms that really do learn the type of music you like, therefor now becoming the best ways of finding new music (customized to your tastes).