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Homogenized Music

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the emulsified-and-pasteurized dept.

Music 489

Mansing writes "The connections between broadcast radio and music industry are well known. In the old days, payola was the method to increase a song's (or album's) exposure. But now, the same "free market" corporate music that infects the music industry is also infecting the broadcast radio industry as well. What makes the article so informative is not the business angles, but how business has changed what is broadcast. Seeing the parallels between the recording industry's force fed music and Clear Channel's "nothing is left to whim or chance" programming, I now understand how hard it is for any non-corporate sanctioned music to become widely heard."

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Sarah! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3608895)

I claim this post for Sarah, and Gizmo!

Re:Sarah! (-1)

DonkeyHote (521235) | more than 11 years ago | (#3608976)

Reclaimed for CL, and IT!

Re:Sarah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3608989)

Now that I know what Sarah looks like [] , I find your posts very funny! What kind of animal is Gizmo?


DonkeyHote (521235) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609011)

Thats what wrong with AC's today a bunch of dog-fucking linux-using south carolina r'necks.

What you're doing to that dog is just wrong and you will burn in hell!


Tasty Beef Jerky (543576) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609094)

Mr. Hote,

I have heard rumors that you are actually a radiator for a 1963 Cadillac El Dorado.

Is this true?

Re:Sarah! (-1)

TrollBurger (575126) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609227)

go smoke a cock you FAGGOT LINUX USERS. use BSD.

one day i will have sex with your sister

raido sucks (3, Insightful)

Alcimedes (398213) | more than 11 years ago | (#3608904)

outside of college radio stations, there's nothing left worth listening to, and this tells you why.

can't someone show a business model to some exec. that shows that

good music=listeners=money?

instead of

crap music we're supposed to play=industry is happy=money

where's the listener come in?

oh yeah, as a stat on some marketroids excell spreadsheet showing that if you play enough Britney Spears, people's standards drop low enough to where they can sell their product.

if you can't tell, i hate almost all broadcast radio. it's been crap for years now and getting worse. i feel like an old man before my time. :)

Re:raido sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3608922)

"good music=listeners=money?"

your model is broken. Since when has good music been a moneyspinner?

Re:raido sucks (1)

johnpaul191 (240105) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609100)

that was their point..... that business model does not seem to exist. if it does, not on a large scale. that's where low budget college/community radio wins out.

Re:raido sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3609212)

No, he was saying that we listen to - and more importantly like - crap because its forced down our throats, and if they only played good stuff, we`d buy it and make them rich.

Anyway, this is pointless. What is `good` music? I like classical music - i somehow dont get the feeling this whole thread is a bunch of geeks who are upset because they cant tape Stravinsky`s serial works - for example - off the radio.

Re:radio sucks (2)

skribe (26534) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609108)

Try listening [] to TripleJ [] . Brought to you by the tax payers of Australia.

Re:raido sucks (1, Funny)

BankofAmerica_ATM (537813) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609132)

I am intrigued by your talk about radios. Perhaps I could one day learn how to do CONSCIOUSNESS-TRANSFER over the radio waves? This would surely break the ProjectFaustuslike strangehold that Clear Channel has over music distribution...

Re:raido sucks and advertisers are stoooopid (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3609145)

Advertisers run like hell from the 54+ crowd, especially the female segment. Why? I dunno. They're the ones with the disposable income, the best tastes, and are actually influenced by what they hear.

The 18 to 54 crowd has bills, prespent income (credit card debt), college tuition, and they're minds are already made up, don't care what they hear.

So, I make my money by targetting nonprofit appeals to the geezer crowd. The best bucks per appeal doesn't happen until you start mailing to the 60+ widows. And AARP perennially does real well, too. And you know their crowd.

So, again, why don't advertisers like the 60+ crowd, helluva lot of money to be made there.

Hark! Yon Radioplay Doth Sucketh Verily! (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609148)

Acually, it's a pretty good thing that much of it sucks, otherwise I'd probably hear more music I like and spend a ton more money buying it.

I sure as h311 ain't buying any Britney Spears.

college radio shreds Re:corporate radio sucks (2, Informative)

johnpaul191 (240105) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609163)

the only commercial radio i listen to is talk radio, otherwise it's college radio. though i will admit i am biased because i work at one. having been involved with an urban (philly) college, non-commercial station now for about 10 years i can see how dedicated people are to the station.
we, WKDU 91.7fm [] play pretty much "music not heard on other stations". we are the only free format, student run station left in Philadelphia. our programming cover punk/hardcore, indie, reggae, techno/hjouse/trace and whatever else. one thing about our programming... we do not follow the generic college block programming for styles of music. basically every 3 hours the DJ changes and most all of the time it's not the same style of music. a program guide (online or in print form) is helpful, but most people don't seem to care. they still listen most all of the time. i guess being the last Philly student run station and the only one without programming (DJ picks 100% of their own music) makes us pretty much the only broadcast option for many people.
We have been webcasting for a few years now (and hopefully will be able to in the future if those damn fees don't kill us) and have seen a pretty good online response. though we are not always on 24 hours a day, we do not shut down for holidays or summer (Drexel U runs full year... 3 months quarters). our webcast listeners are a mix of people in the local area, and around the world. i guess the bonus we have over other internet radio stations is a bigger budget than many with cool musical tastes, a lot of DJs and a record/cd collection we have been building up since 1968. i'm all for people starting their own webcasting stations, but there are some things bedroom run stations can't do as easily (live bands, DJ marathons, buy a lot of rad hardware)

the coolest thing about webcasting is the ability for a station like ours to reach everywhere. there are a lot of decent little stations out there, but unless you live in the right area (area often being small due to low power transmitters), you miss out.

corporate radio will always suck, but thanks to the internet we all have more options.

Overgeneralization (2, Insightful)

Junks Jerzey (54586) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609196)

outside of college radio stations, there's nothing left worth listening to, and this tells you why.

Nonsense. You might mean "only college stations play the kind of music I like," which certainly doesn't mean that other stations suck. Or you might mean that many commercial stations have short, safe playlists. But then there are stations that don't fit that mold.

This is just like the overgeneralization that commercial music sucks, when you'll find instead that all of the music played on college stations is, in fact, commercial. The myth among anti-media geeks is that CDs from Britney Spears and Mariah Carey are put out by Evil Money Grubbing Corporations, while music from Chemical Brothers and Radiohead is put out by Independent Freedom Loving Hippies. When, in fact, there's no difference.

Re:raido sucks (3, Insightful)

thesolo (131008) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609235)

outside of college radio stations, there's nothing left worth listening to, and this tells you why.

Even that statement isn't true anymore. College radio is no longer a free-spirited playground of diverse music that it once was. Now, college radio is a proving grounds.

Indies, promoters, radio execs, they all visit college radio stations. They pay the stations/DJs and/or the schools money to get certain songs on the air. They test the market amongst college students, trying to find the next big hit for commercial radio. Very few college radio stations don't have at least some form of commercial influence.

You can read more on the subject at / ndex.html []

crapola is more like it (2)

GutBomb (541585) | more than 11 years ago | (#3608905)

this is complete crap. college radio! i hear the strangest most non-commercial shit ever on college radio. there is even a college station in L.A. that plays wall to wall industrial. these people have never heard of a dial on thier radio?

Re:crapola is more like it (3, Informative)

mrybczyn (515205) | more than 11 years ago | (#3608930)

College radio tends to have very low power broadcast, and hence low range. If you don't live in a college town, or even on the outskirts, you don't get it.

Besides, from the last slashdot article on payola in the music industry, seems like a lot of the big college radio stations are where the corporate fuzz do their test runs.

Re:crapola is more like it (1)

Drizzten (459420) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609037)

UT-Austin's shared radio stations, KVRX [] and KOOP [] , have online presences. KVRX broadcasts all day on the web to make up for it's sharing agreement. Do other college stations do this?

Re:crapola is more like it (3, Funny)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 11 years ago | (#3608973)

College radio has no advertising. Nobody knows it's there. And most people are scared to go below 92 on their radio dials, because that's where the boring classical stations and *shudder* NPR are.

Re: "college" radio (2)

No Such Agency (136681) | more than 11 years ago | (#3608995)

"i hear the strangest most non-commercial shit ever on college radio."

This is probably why a lot of listeners stay away. Most people don't WANT to hear anything new, or risk their cozy bland existence by hearing anything which might challenge their concept of what constitutes "music". (end of bitter gripe). I do suspect that its very diversity is one of the factors hurting "college" or community radio - it's almost impossible to predict what will be playing when you tune in. Will it be death metal, reggae, christian rock, aboriginal talk radio or something completely unexpected? Personally, I like that. It's neat. I don't care for the Christian rock, but hey, turn off the radio for an hour, and later something else will be on :-)

"There is even a college station in L.A. that plays wall to wall industrial."

Cool :-D I have to put on a CD player to get my morning dose of Front Line Assembly...

Re: "college" radio (-1, Flamebait)

Tasty Beef Jerky (543576) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609160)

Just because it's "new" doesn't mean it's good.

I could pee on your face. That would probably be new to you. However, I doubt you'd like it.

I could stick your hand in a blender set to "puree". That would probably be new to you. However, I doubt you'd like it.

Another thing, most people don't want to hear anything new not because they "risk their cozy bland existence," but simply because they've probably already heard the "new" before and like it about as much as nails grating on a chalkboard. This "industrial" crap you speak of is about as musical as a pair of fighting cats in a garbage can.

Get off your high podium jackass. You do not hold the moral high-ground here.

Oh, I'm sorry, you're a unique rebellious individual, just like every other unique rebellious individual. Fight the power, don't conform (Except to do the things all the people you want to be like do), be yourself (except when that doesn't allow you to fit in to your "unique" culture).

The same music over and over again (1)

pfb (201727) | more than 11 years ago | (#3608926)

o'er here in engerland, specifically london, the two or three main radio stations (imo): capital [] & radio [] , play the same tunes everyday.

In fact I'm pretty certain that capital plays the same tunes at the same time everyday...

Re:The same music over and over again (2, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609219)

o'er here in engerland, specifically london, the two or three main radio stations (imo): capital [] & radio [], play the same tunes everyday.

When I lived in Michigan there were a couple radio stations, WHNN & WIOG which pretty much fit that same bill. Result: I stopped listening to them.

I've often wondered, even aloud to others, why radio stations insist upon overplaying music. I once had the complete Led Zepplin collection, but go so sick of hearing it over and over on the radio (usually on a radio at work) that I sold off all but two albums (Physical Graphitti & In through the out door, which didn't get much airplay.)

I still have to be in a very narrowly defined mood to listen to Phil Collins, so scarred am I by years of radio beating me over the head with his music. Pretty good stuff, but not when you hear it all the time. (There was even a radio station which planned a Phil Collins-Free weekend, it was so bad.)

I've got a collection of about 400 CDs (mostly bought in the 80's) most of the newer stuff is alternative, classical, jazz and euro-pop. At the pace I once bought music, I'd think the RIAA and affiliated scum would like to cultivate that, but the influences which built my collection were listening to music from other people's collections (which the RIAA appears dead-set against and even prosecuting me if they could nail one incident. There's the rub, eh?)

Re:The same music over and over again (2)

fdsa (78632) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609230)

I don't know about Capital, but Radio 1 (I assume that's what you mean) certainly doesn't play the same songs all day everyday. I think their daytime program is playlisted (lots of info about that on their website), but they have some great shows in the evening. John Peel [] , most notably.

Payola? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3608927)

I thought this was still an issue [] ?

huh??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3608931)

I now understand how hard it is for any non- corporate sanctioned music to become widely heard.

Yes. Like Chopin.

Homo ... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3608934)


This is nothing new (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3608936)

It always happens like this. When network TV was getting bland and homogenized, cable stepped up to fill the void. All the net does is accelerate the process.

All forms of media really need to take their eyes of the ledgers and look toward the future... otherwise they'll be caught by surprise again.

With the net all neighborhoods are virtual and local.


Re:This is nothing new (1)

djwavelength (398555) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609144)

Was that an ad for XM radio?

In past ages the philosphers... (2, Interesting)

00_NOP (559413) | more than 11 years ago | (#3608942)

"History repeats itself, the first time is tragedy, the second time, farce." So quoth Karl Marx.

Of course nobody would admit to being a Marxist or even a Marxian - think of all those killed in the Soviet Union and China.

But it seems that you can't keep a good idea down and those of the Marxist critical theorists of the Frankfurt School keep coming up again and again in /.

This is what capitalism does, people - it tends to monopoly, and restricts human development.

The great pity is that the left - and nowhere more so than in the US - seem unable to produce a decent theory of politics - the theory of praxis as it was once called - that connects the frustrations of those who post these articles on /. with proposals to change the world.

Capitalism is still making us pay for the Soviet Union's experience of repression.

Re:In past ages the philosphers... (3, Insightful)

Drizzten (459420) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609126)

From the article:
The passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 swept aside many of the old ownership limits, and ignited the business like a firecracker. Small owners started selling, and larger companies began feverishly merging. Six years later, radio is a big business, with publicly traded companies now dominating ownership of the nation's 11,400 commercial stations.
What gets lost in all this is the fact that those mom-and-pop stations voluntarily sold their stations. Since the people who bought those stations want to make the most money possible, they pander to the widest audience possible. Yeah, it results in the big stations playing pop-oriented hits. But you also have to understand that those stations wouldn't be popular if the music wasn't popular (for whatever reasons that music is...I certainly don't like most of it).

It's obvious there's a growing backlash against this kind of radio. People don't want to hear 15 minutes of commercials out of 30 minutes of air time. People grow tired with oft-repeated tunes. That doesn't necessarily mean we need to have a political solution. It means those people who feel they are disenfranchised need to start their own radio stations, non-commercial [] or commercial [] .

Re: Marx (5, Insightful)

ke6 (96078) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609129)

Capitalism does tend towards monopoly. But the monopolistic trend is countered by some things Marx never considered. Inventers, developers, people who just think outside the business box, they then provide more competition. Of course, the Monopolies will try to eat them up, but they can and do fail at that, and get washed up and forgotten.

While Communism, that's the Monopoly of the state, with no chance for competition, after all the State KNOWS what you need and want. Even if it's true for the majority, the Tyranny of the Majority is not something to be desired either.

So Monopoly, from Communism or Capitalism is bad. But at least with Capitalism, we have a chance against it.


Re:In past ages the philosphers... (0)

Saloth Sar (559229) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609135)

> "History repeats itself, the first time is > tragedy, the second time, farce." So quoth Karl > Marx. > Quoting Hegel.

Sold out (1)

FearUncertaintyDoubt (578295) | more than 11 years ago | (#3608944)

"It's a fun idea," Zier says of his brainchild, "but fun ideas can be very dangerous. It can be an inside joke that only you and your co-workers and your Aunt Rose think is funny. Besides, we're happy with the formats we have."

Fun ideas being dangerous? I believe the term for this is "sold out".

internet radio is where it's at! (1)

roy23 (159499) | more than 11 years ago | (#3608962)

I can find dozens of shoutcast stations that play the wierd stuff I want, without loads of ads!
Admittedly, I'm usually lister 4 out of a maximum of 9 and the music stops when the dj switches off their pc or their dsl line goes down.

You are just jealous (0, Troll)

PhysicsGenius (565228) | more than 11 years ago | (#3608963)

Is anybody complaining that Renaissance painting shows "too many fat, naked women"? No, we call it great art. Keep in mind that it was popular at the time. People liked it.

The radio stations play what people listen to. Britney and N'Sync are good musicians playing good music. Just because they are popular with the hoi polloi doesn't make them crap. And I think they would resent your implication that they are "corporate"--all popular musicians started off unpopular and on the fringe. They made it through hard work to their art and deserve recognition of that fact.

Re:You are just jealous (2)

ShavenYak (252902) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609074)

Britney and N'Sync are good musicians playing good music.

I hope this is a joke, I see someone modded it funny. Neither Britney nor N'Sync are good musicians. They aren't musicians at all. Have you ever seen any of them play an instrument?

I'm not even sure you can classify them as singers. Has anyone ever heard any of them sing by themselves, without a studio full of equipment?

playing an instrument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3609172)

the human voice is an instrument. i see britney singing all the time (OMG she is the light of my life) and so she is a musician. things like electric guitars and casio keyboards are instruments so I don't see whats wrong with equipment"

...or is your argument backwards? (3)

Interrobang (245315) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609214)

Er, could it be that people like what they hear because they only hear what they're given to hear, and not the other way around (that they hear only what they like)? If people actually were exposed to a wide variety of music on the radio, they might suddenly discover that they like other music, besides manufactured factory-farmed "bands" like Britney et al.

Perhaps an example: the Insane Clown Posse, who, although (yes) they're on a major label, have so far managed to sell multiplatinum on several albums with NO commercial airplay whatsoever. On the other hand, I'd say they're the exception that proves (in either sense) the rule.

In any case, a pithy thentiment from the Dead Kennedys keeps playing through my head:

Could it be they put out one too many...lousy records?

Who do we tell to get off the air NOW?

McRadio (2, Funny)

freality (324306) | more than 11 years ago | (#3608970)

Memes need a name :)

Clear Channel == Devil (0, Flamebait)

Wind_Walker (83965) | more than 11 years ago | (#3608980)

The problem with Big Radio (ala Big Tobacco/Oil/etc) is that most people don't know that they're all being controlled by the same company, Clear Channel [] . They have 1225 radio and 37 television stations under their control. That amounts to about 80% of the total radio stations in the USA.

Does anybody else remember the "CC" commercials on the radio, emploring people to register internet domains that end in .cc? Guess what "CC" stands for! That's right! Clear Channel. That was their bid to get into the internet business, and from what I hear, it failed. But just think about that... Every radio station that your heard those commercials on was controlled by Clear Channel.

These people are worse than the RIAA and MPAA combined.

Re:Clear Channel == Devil (4, Informative)

Amarok.Org (514102) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609046)

Does anybody else remember the "CC" commercials on the radio, emploring people to register internet domains that end in .cc? Guess what "CC" stands for! That's right! Clear Channel. That was their bid to get into the internet business, and from what I hear, it failed. But just think about that... Every radio station that your heard those commercials on was controlled by Clear Channel.

Did you even think to research this before you spewed it out?

The .cc tld is the ISO country code for the Cocos Islands - who sold the rights to the tld to eNic, one of the VeriSign companies. Clear Channel had nothing to do with it. Nice conspiracy theory, though. Maybe the tin-foil hat isn't working?

Re:Clear Channel == Devil (4, Informative)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609096)

Clear channel was pushing that top-level domain, and originally had changed all their radio and television stations and even provided sponsors websites .cc domains. (as in clear channel)

It does stand for Cocos Islands, but was being sold as meaning "Clear Channel"

Re:Clear Channel == Devil (2)

Amarok.Org (514102) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609202)

So if I start moving all my domains to ".sr" (the assigned country code of Suriname), and promote them as "Silly Rabbit", this somehow changes who owns the TLD?

Clear Channel does *not* control the .cc TLD, VeriSign (through one of it's subsidiaries) does. It doesn't matter how many domains CC has registered, or what they say it means, the fact is that it's *not* theirs.

Re:Clear Channel == Devil (2)

Servo5678 (468237) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609047)

Guess what "CC" stands for! That's right! Clear Channel.

Everyone loves a good conspiracy, but I thought the .cc domain was from the Cocos Islands (unless Clear Channel owns their own island chain, too). [] has the info on that.

Re:Clear Channel == Devil (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609117)

They have 1225 radio and 37 television stations under their control. That amounts to about 80% of the total radio stations in the USA.

The article puts it at around 10% cross country.
Clear Channel has grown from just 30 stations to more than 1,220 -- more than one of every 10 in the nation.

Re:Clear Channel == Devil (1)

Garion911 (10618) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609149)


Wrong answer. I heard these commericials on a non-CC owned station. Locally owned and operated.
(TK99 in Syracuse, NY)

Re:Clear Channel == Devil (3, Funny)

Nilatir (179045) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609165)

Hey Taco! Any chance of getting a "Full of Crap" moderation option?

Great Timing (4, Funny)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 11 years ago | (#3608985)

this subject dovetails nicely with a recent Onion [] piece, hehe.

Radio GaGa (2)

toupsie (88295) | more than 11 years ago | (#3608990)

I can't remember the last time I listened to the radio for music. With an MP3 library that can play for over 30 days 24/7 without repeating (started buying CDs in '86) and the Internet, radio music is so 20th century. The only reason I even turn on a radio is to listen to the news or talk.

Radio music is dead. You can tell by the ratings of FM stations. They pick up their biggest audience when the kings of fart jokes and naked chicks hit the air, i.e., Shock Jock Talk Radio. Howard Stern, Opie & Andy and their moronic minions of copycats are the only ratings FM stations are getting these days. Its no wonder that Clear Channel and Inifinity are looking outside of shoving ads into their customer's ears for revenue.

Re:Radio GaGa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3609142)

In Philadelphia (the 5th largest market in the US), the #1 music station plays no music in the daytime. Just Stern, O&A, etc.

Force-fed music (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3608997)

Force-fed music? What is michael talking about? No one makes you listen to the radio! No one makes you buy albums (I've more-or-less stopped doing so, as they are just too annoying). No one makes you trade music on Kaaza or whatever.

If you don't like the music industry, stop listening , stop whining, and make your own music. It what I do.

Got a problem with corporate radio? (1)

Satan's Librarian (581495) | more than 11 years ago | (#3608998)

Support LPFM [] , or hell, just run a high-power pirate radio if you have the balls for it.

I can still breath air for free, and I'm damn well going to use it for radio as well if I want to. IMHO, regulating the airwaves the way they do in the US is worse than any RIAA crud. At least we can choose to buy music from alternative sources [] . Can we choose to use different air?

News For Nerds: Stuff That Doesn't Matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3609000)

"In the old days, payola was the method
to increase a song's (or album's) exposure."

Wasn't there an article on Slashdot a couple of
weeks ago about payola?

Nothing has changed.


What I think should be done with music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3609003)

Think of literature. Think of rolarcoasters and fashion. What is the difference? The former is by default about art, expression, meaning, philosophy. The latter are by default about social conformity, seeking ever higher levels of stimulation, materialism, etc. Although they can blur into each other, those are the defaults. Commercialising music (and movies and books) changes the nature of its production and design; changes the nature of its contents. I believe it is bad for society to have music created by commercialism. They play on base desires. Their music is generally empty of meaning - it is synthetically-created lowest common denominator stuff.

Commercialising music is like replacing the libraries with rolar coasters.
We all know what a corrupting influence commercialisation has been on software and goodness knows what else.

The problem is not a failure of the market (5, Insightful)

squarooticus (5092) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609004)

The market is working just fine. The problem is that the majority are willing to listen to the homogeneous crap that CCU broadcasts. You can argue all you want that the airwaves are a "public good" and not just another form of property, but in the end of the day, someone is going to be arbitrarily choosing what goes on the airwaves no matter how the power to choose is apportioned. And if it's the public (read: majority) choosing how to use that good, you can be assured they're not going to waste that bandwidth on indie rock, metal, big-band music, or African tongue-clicking.

Instead of complaining, choose one of the alternatives: listen to satellite radio, internet radio, listen to CD's (the real ones, not those phony pseudo-CD's), etc. If CCU truly isn't performing a service that people want, advertisers will stop buying airtime and it will go bankrupt. I'm guessing that isn't about to happen anytime soon.

Re:The problem is not a failure of the market (2)

Wansu (846) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609201)

The market is working just fine. The problem is that the majority are willing to listen to the homogeneous crap that CCU broadcasts.

Only because that's all they get anyway.

CCU truly isn't performing a service that people want, advertisers will stop buying airtime and it will go bankrupt.

I'm not sure how tightly coupled advertising is to the actual number of listeners.

return of the payola (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609005)

I heard last week that radio stations are still being paid for every song they select. The record companies can't pay them outright, but they can have an associate agency pay the radio station to preview 3 new releases and select one to put in heavy rotation, as long as their isnt' a specific quid pro quo

See MarketPlace [] (Public radio finance show) for more info.

What about Canada? (1)

IIRCAFAIKIANAL (572786) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609007)

Sort of off-topic - how does radio work up here in Canada? - I know we have our own big media companies (Shaw, Global) but how involved are they with radio? Do we have Clear Channel here?

I listen to the classic rock and college radio stations mostly so I never really paid much attention.

It's kind of wierd how quickly things move - bands I listened to in junior high are on that classic rock station - i'm only 22

Bandwidth solves this problem soon? (5, Informative)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609010)

i think the problem here is one of bandwidth... here in the UK, we have a small number of large indepedent radio networks, as well as regional stations that are currently peddling almost exactly the same type of music as each other, all going for the least offensive (to the average listener) and most bland music 'product' that they can find, in order to maximise advertising revenue - a 'one size fits all' system.

However, I can't see that this will last for long, as soon as any of the following technolgies reach the average consumer household: Net radio, Stand alone recievers for audio-only channels over satellite, digital radio (we are a long way ahead of the US in this field, I believe, as the BBC have pushed the technology) and increased spectrum avaialbilty due to theproposed switch off of terrestrial analogue TV transmitters (which the UK governement are keen on as they stand to rake a fortune in from selling the bandwidth off).

When any (or all) of the above technolnogies are mature, then it will be possible to deliver cost-effective radio to much smaller markets (with tightly targetted adverts), so the constant search for the lowest common denominator will no longer be the best way to maximise advertising revenue, providing a wide spectrum of choice will be more cost effective.

Re:Bandwidth solves this problem soon? (1)

BeenaBerry (173104) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609228)

The local stations are not peddling 'almost' exactly the same type of music in the UK, they are peddling exactly the same type of music. The majority of them are owned by the same company [] . Folks in London, the North-West of England and a few other big cities don't notice so much because they have proper indies but the rest of us have to put up with this lot.

They have the same logo, with the words changed, the same jingles and slogans (sometimes with the station name clumsily dubbed over), the same competitions (so you're competing with the whole country, not your area), the same theme weekends, etc, etc. And the same music. A lot of the programming is shared too.

I wouldn't mind so much, if they didn't pretend to be local stations rather than a national station with local opt-out segments. When people phone in, they carefully avoid giving out their location. When there's OBs, they just say "James and Kerry are out and about 'in the city'" but don't identify which one, so everyone thinks it's theirs.

I hope digital broadcasting will change this, but I doubt it - these WERE originally local licenses, but Big Radio took over.

If you listen to only punk, you are not affected. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3609023)

All my life I have only listened to hardcore punk, regular punk, ska-punk, and some pop punk.

And except for a few bands (pop punk) that got on the radio, all of my music is totally untainted by the big 5 music publishers.

None of my music is harmed or affected by payola, other than making it harder to find in regular retail outlets.

If everone found their music the way i find it (and I bought and own about 800 cds and records), then the world would be a better place.

Many genres are similar to freedom from corporate payola.... there are hundreds of them, punk is one of them.

The article is written from the perspective of an N*Sync-Britney Spears-S Club7 viewpoint and not a wider view.

Re:If you listen to only punk, you are not affecte (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3609120)

Too bad that you are a stupid, festering pile of shit and so is your "music".

If you were standing in front of you I'd grab you by the pink spiked hair on your head and rip all of your piercings out.

Re:If you listen to only punk, you are not affecte (1)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609223)

And except for a few bands (pop punk) that got on the radio, all of my music is totally untainted by the big 5 music publishers.

Not quite. With some notable exceptions (i.e. - Vagrant Records, Victory, etc) many of the small labels (Spitfire, Artemis, Thrill Jockey) have dupe and distribution deals with subsidiaries of the big 5.

Many genres are similar to freedom from corporate payola.... there are hundreds of them, punk is one of them.

As Loud Rock Director of a college radio station, I was in constant contact with the indies (The independent promoters that are the arbiters of payola these days) who would give me guest list access to shows and other goodies for charting and adding albums to the library and playlist. Its not nearly as pervasive as commercial promotion, but thats the way many are promoted.

era of the corperations (2)

iplayfast (166447) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609024)

There have been many eras. There was the bronze age, iron age, industrial age, and now we have the corporate age.

Each one of these ages gave more power to a select group of people. The corporate age gives the most power to the fewest people. This is showing up in the government and laws, in the schools, in every work place, and most dangerously how people think. RMS is an extremist only because of the times that we live in.

For a more thorough look at ClearChannel (5, Informative)

Tony Tastey (247) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609032)

Check out the extensive coverage they've gotten over at Salon for the past year or so. There's about a dozen articles about various aspects of their business practices. []

The Plus Side (1)

withak53 (463555) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609043)

At least Clear Channel is several billion dollars in debt.

More geeks in space!!! (1) (557454) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609045)

I have had a beef with how radio works ever since clear channel bought the local channel where I live. The numbers were Z103, and the morning show was "the freak show". Very local, very funny. Now they forced them to rename it "the morning Z". Or I like to call it the morning snooze. They used to have an hour long show on Sunday nights where they would play only local music, the garage band that I was in actually got some air time that way, and helped us sell some CD's, but that is all gone now. If you call in to make a request, it had better be on thier pre-approved list, or forget about it. It makes me want to start up my own non-prophit puplic domain station. I would have to have a technology based show. Whouldn't that be cool? Somthing on the lines of geeks in space, but more regular!

Which... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609051)

Which is why webcasting should be a good thing.

If artists want to be heard they should look into making some of their music available over the web, with its considerably smaller financial requirement (as opposed to owning a radio station or network)

Just because the RIAA and broadcasters want to hobble internet play of their corporate property or sacred cow, shouldn't limit the ability of grass roots growth of online broadcast and distribution of non-properties. Seems to me the burden of proving ownership of music was placed upon the RIAA in the Napster trials, which should offer some protection for small startups.

Problem is, though, if it doesn't get a move on then you can expect the legal/regulatory groundwork to be followed up by the same old corporate crap on the web, and protected against competition; i.e. to be a webcaster you must have an engineer, you must have records of all air play, you must have permits, you must blah blah blah, you must leap over very high hurdles cleverly placed by purchased legislation/regulation.

One clearchannel station that plays "good" music. (2, Interesting)

Hitch (1361) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609056)

DC101 in the MD/DC/VA area plays decent music. sure, it's mostly the same corporate jam it down your throat rock that we've all gotten used to, but they've started playing a lot of songs by "Carbon Leaf", an independent band, and they sponsor unsigned local bands for a lot of the shows they put on. Welbilt is a pretty good band that just opened their Chili cookoff. anyway, I guess what I'm saying is that individual stations have more say in their programming that it at first appears.

Yet another reason... (1)

cmay666 (202732) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609064)

Add this article to the long list of why internet radio is FAR superior to broadcast/FM. And don't think payola is a thing of the past. MANY artists' songs see the light of day because of modified payola, which still amounts to labels indirectly paying stations (i.e. ClearChannel) for exposure. Example: Limp Bizkit. I'm also surprised there was no mention of ClearChannel's bullying tactics in getting artists to "agree" to play SFX (i.e. ClearChannel) sponsored tours, or else face the prospect of getting blacklisted from ClearChannel airplay.

Good NPR story on ClearChannel and its practices: ipts_040602_ clear.html

Caption competition (2)

Salsaman (141471) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609067)

What we need is a caption competition for the pic in the article.

My suggestion:

"You better play what we say or you'll get this baseball bat up your a** !!"

WCBE columbus oh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3609077)

Then we have examples or where good ecletic stations like WCBE are be driven into the ground by politicing. For those who don't know WCBE is owned by the Columbus Board of Eduction and is the only NRP FM affiliate in Columbus. The School board used to provide about 250k of funding every year and the rest was gotten through twice yearly fund drives and sponserships. Guess what, the board cancelled this springs fund drive. Pretty soon at least one local market will be left with one local alternative station (WWCD who wants WCBE's antenna site really bad) and one classical station.

Anybody ever think about.. (3, Insightful)

Sc00ter (99550) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609084)

Okay. I've already seen some posts about college radio. Now, college radio has the benifit of not having to make much (if any) money to stick around. Unlike commercial radio stations.

That being said, some of you might find the college radio station better to listen to becuase you get to hear different stuff, things that you don't get to hear on mainstream radio. Now, did you ever seem to think that the reason that it's not on mainstream radio is because mainstream people think that the music sucks?

Commercial radio is there to make money, so they need to play what MOST people want to hear, not what you want to here. I like techno, most places don't play techno, why? becuase mainstream people don't like techno, in fact some people hate it (my brother included).

To say that college radio or internet radio is better then commercial radio is silly. Just becuase you don't like it doesn't rule out the fact that somebody must like it, because it's still around, and it's doing well. I've also found that there's some people (an ex-coworker comes to mind) that listens to non-mainstream stuff just becuase it's non-mainstream. I found it to be shit and could see why it wasn't played on the radio. This just goes to show, different people have different tastes, and just because you don't like Britney doesn't rule out the fact that a lot of people do.

Re:Anybody ever think about.. (1)

djwavelength (398555) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609215)

But because the same big company is trying to control all the stations it can, and because there is a finite amount of stations in an area, you are forced to listen to something. There isn't the choice to listen to a techno station, or a punk station, or anything that isn't mainstream. That is the problem with the system, not that people don't like something others do.

Re:Anybody ever think about.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3609247)

Your basic premise is 100% correct. The crap on college radio, electronica, etc. does indeed suck. That's why it is relegated to college radio.

However, the dateless oddball wing of the slashdot crowd happens to be correct that commercial radio sucks as well. But it is a trend that began long before Clear Channel came into existence. CC is simply the straw man bacause they are successful (gee, like bashing the successful has never happened here before!).

Public Service is nice. (2)

eddy (18759) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609091)

I live in Sweden. We have several Public Service TV and Radio stations. The biggest radio station is Programme 3, P3.

P3 play a lot of top-20 stuff, but fortunately smaller interests are seen to. One favourite is P3 Live, which airs four days a week -- a new band/artist every day. Very good and broad selection of music, and excellent live quality

Look around the playlists [] . There's everthing from Slitknot, Bob Hund, In Flames [] and lot's of lot's of bands you've never heard of and would never ever hear on a commercial station.

Tonight is Kittie [] , and Entombed [] is coming up soon. Very nice.

Open Source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3609101)

Will they make this music Open Source? We have to retain control over the music, especially when we have an enormous pool of hardened developers contributing to the Open Source movement.

How can we ever hope to wrest away control from RealMedia and MS if we don't stand united?

Music and art. (1)

Byteme (6617) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609109)

The music industry today is going to do the same thing to music as what Hollywood has done to film. Now the only creative force in the 'industry' is profit. Thank god for college radio and indie labels...

I don't work in the business, my college radio DJ and garage band days are over - but if I was a successful artist in music I would give back. Scout for talent - help them self produce their work, let them be in full control of the creative process and maintain full ownership of their creations... and also be vocal about the ills of the industry while doing so.

With the FCC recent opening of regulations to low power stations I see no reason why small local non-profit stations might emerge. I live in a small town (30,000) which happens to be nearby over six colleges and universities (all with college radio stations) in western Massachusetts (student population might exceed 80,000). We have over a dozen record stores, possibly 50-100 local bands and many music related support (engineers, critics... etc). If there was a local public owned station it could be staffed 24hrs. And this is not a major market which does have two local Clear Channel stations...

Now that I have been thinking, it is time to get to work on this!

Raido Sucks? So what? (5, Interesting)

Drath (50447) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609112)

So what? I haven't listened to music on the radio since high school. Why? Well I can decide what I want to listen to for myself. If you can't investigate new music on your own then the radio telling you what to like shouldn't be a concern of yours.

Checkout some independent or smaller labels. Labels like Matador Records, Prawn Song, Fat Wreck, and may others. It's a shame that labels like Grand Royal were forced out of business for not force-feeding the status quo. Read Nude As The News [] for non mainstream album reviews.

Find a band you Like and check out their influences. This is a good way to find new stuff to listen to. Like Led Zeppelin? Listen to Muddy Waters. Like Trey Solo? Listen to Count Basie, Sun Ra, or Little Feet. Like Primus? Listen To Rush. Ect.

GO SEE LIVE MUSIC! If you live near a large city there are tons of show to go see, there are some good websites dedicated to finding shows in your area. Check out Jambase [] for example.

Trade Live Music! There are several communities for the trading of live tapes, a large number of bands ok the taping of their shows and the thousands of tapes are out there for free. One Such community Etree [] is a great example of this.

Listen to College radio if you live near one!

Don't complain about the lack of variety on the radio, just don't listen to it.

Captain Internet Saves The Day! (2)

Hell O'World (88678) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609119)

Wait! I'll save you! Da-Da-Daaa! With my amazing Network-O-Power, I can connect you directly to millions of radio stations and mp3 files! The evil forces of Dr. Money are no match for my Connect Ray!!! What? Dr. Money has a new weapon!! He's buying the politicians!! Isn't that illegal?

Dr Money: At last, I have you under my power, Captain Internet! My minion forces of bad laws will keep your kind down... FOREVER!!! BwaHaHaHaHA!!!

Will Dr. Money squeeze the life out of the fearless Captain? Will Captain Internet make the world safe for good music again? Tune in next week for anothe exciting episode of...


Strange U.S. station names (2)

Salsaman (141471) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609128)

What's with all the weird station names you have in the US anyway ? They all seem to be odd four letter things starting with K or W. Is there any logic behind it ?

Re:Strange U.S. station names (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3609185)

Yes. W is where we put the New Country Hits stations. K is for Pop Music and Alternative.

Re:Strange U.S. station names (1)

512k (125874) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609207)

yeah, all radio stations here, are required to have a unique 4 letter name to identify themselves, if the station is east of the mississippi (the eastern 1/2 of the country)it starts with a "W" if it's to the west, it starts with a a "K". They can pick the other 3 letters themselves.

Re:Strange U.S. station names (1)

southpolesammy (150094) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609241)

Unless you live in Philadelphia where you have KYW...go figure. I think one of the radio stations in Pittsburgh has the same discrepancy.

Re:Strange U.S. station names (2)

Servo5678 (468237) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609245)

What's with all the weird station names you have in the US anyway ? They all seem to be odd four letter things starting with K or W. Is there any logic behind it ?

From what I hear, stations that start with a W are east of the Mississippi River, while stations that start with a K are west of it. As for the other 3 letters, typically they are made up. For example, WBSH in the Illinois/Missouri area is in the Wabash Valley (sound out the station letters). Sometimes they make sense, sometimes they're just arbitrary.

This is a good thing (2, Insightful)

boristdog (133725) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609137)

It's this kind of situation that leads to a change in music. That's how we got punk rock in the first place. There won't be a rebellion until there is something to rebel against.

CD101 -- Columbus, Ohio (1)

southpolesammy (150094) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609152)

I know this will come off sounding like a shameless plug for a radio station, but the folks at CD101 [] in Columbus really have it right. They are one of the only non-corporatized radio stations in the city, and have won the local "Columbus Magazine" award for best radio station for the past 10 years or so.

They also broadcast over the Internet, sponsor special things for the community, such as Comfest and the Andyman-a-thon in December (one of the DJ's goes on-air for 48 straight hours and plays great music and auctions off some pretty cool gear throughout the 2 day period with all proceeds going to charity), and bring in great bands from all over the nation and the world in fact in order to keep non-standard music on the horizon.

Worth a good listen if you have the chance.

Article Summary (3, Insightful)

rnturn (11092) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609168)

To save folks the time, here's a quick summary of the article: middle-aged manager of a group of radio stations tells us all how hard it is to make ends meet in today's radio marketplace.

Hint: Skip to the last 2-3 paragraphs and find the real point of the article. You'll be glad you did.

Killer Artists & the Internet Top 40 (1)

PurpleHigh (519921) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609169)

On getting "non-corporate sanctioned music" to be heard:

I still think the Internet has the ability to completely obliterate the power that Clear Channel, the RIAA, and their ilk have on widely-heard music. Maybe it is like the 'Killer App' problem: in the same sense that the killer app still eludes us (if it wasn't Napster), the killer Internet artist does too. It's going to take a Net-born artist or perhaps a handful of artists, brought together as a package, to really give people a reason to pay attention to Internet music.

I think it's a visibility problem. I'm sure there are artists out there who I would really enjoy...but it takes such an effort to find them. What I'd like is something like an Internet Top 40: a professionally programmed, DJ'ed, sleek production presenting new and independent artists that I can listen to while I program/cook/take a shower. The situation right now, where everything is so fragmented, doesn't lend itself well to taking on the power of the traditional media conglomerates.

Re:Killer Artists & the Internet Top 40 (1)

djwavelength (398555) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609238)

The killer app for internet radio is the device that lets you tune into a net station from your car.

Punk Music (2)

totallygeek (263191) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609195)

It is interesting that now some independent labels for punk bands are selling 100,000 copies per disc. Look at labels like Fat Wreck Chords [] , Dischord [] , Alternative Tentacles [] and Epitaph [] . Bands like NOFX [] and Right Turn Clyde [] are really selling tons of "albums". Sometimes corporate backing isn't needed, heck NOFX loathes it to the point were they sued MTV for playing a cut of one of their releases in South America.

the payola hearings of the 60's were a scam (3, Informative)

spoot (104183) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609205)

All that the payola laws and hearings of the 60's did was take the power of music influence from the individual (disc jockey) and put them in the hands of the corporations. The large radio corporations of the day (rko, gannet, etc...) saw that the control of their content was being usurped to the talent of their stations. The DJ was the all important business and creative liaison at the stations. Record labels did anything to get to the talent, including bribes and perks. All the payola hearings and laws did (brought about from the investigation of the Miami DJ convention) was remove the personality from the equations. Enter the more influential role of the program and music director of stations in the late 60's and 70's. The only real exception would be the "progressive" radio essentially invented by Tom Donahue in SF. Payola was seen as a threat to the radio corporations of the day, God forbid that an indiviual (ie: dj) could have that much control over their (the corporations) widget. So a public spectacle was made. And the dj was villified as a wolf, while the real wolfs were in fact the corporations afraid of loosing control of their publicly liscenced product... that was supposed to be in "the public interest."

Today in the corporate mentality of the radio world, the individual, the station DJ or the program/music director has any real say as to the music being played on the station. All edicts are essentially made by the corporate programming heads. Everything from play lists, national contesting and yes... even talent. Most talent is run on an automation system (usually prophet) that essentially has destroyed the job market for radio talent and stifled any creativity and the talent pool, stagnating radio to where it is in the present day. Radio listenership is down in the last few years. There just not much compelling. As my daughter puts it, "radio sucks." Hopefully something will happed to shake it up soon, so some rebel out there can get back to creating something compelling again on the radio dial.

Listen to Independant Radio (1, Offtopic)

Royster (16042) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609213)

College stations, public radio stations, off-beat formats abound on the low end of the FM spectrum. You often get commercial-free stations and an eclectic mix of music.

Here in NYC, I listen to WFUV (Fordham University) and WNYC (public radio). When I'm out on Long Island, I listen to WUSB (SUNY Stony Brook) and Connecticut public radio.

Cultivate your ear.

Slashdot Radio (1)

hirofxp (581513) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609221)

Slashdot has a huge reader base, and if they were to set up a station of their own, maybe even just rebroadcasting college radio shows from across the world, they'd be making a huge difference in the way people listen to music on the internet.

support good radio (1)

paradesign (561561) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609224)

support NPR (National Public Radio)
101.9WDET in the Detroit area. its the only radi i listen to other than the morning shock jocks, Drew and Mike rule, Biiitch! 101.1WRIF, and the drive home fm talk guys Deminski and Doyle 97.1WKRK?

hey wait, that means i only listen to non music original content on the radio, wow, what a strange thing. Misic radio sucks almost as bad as Music Television MTV.

Audiogalaxy for yourself (4, Insightful)

colmore (56499) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609229)

OK Tired of radio and MTV? Me too! Who the heck decided that bad Eddie Vedder impressions would be popular this year?

Here's some bands worth checking out: (reply and post your own)

Neutral Milk Hotel
The Microphones
The Shins
The Dismemberment Plan
Need New Body
The Mountain Goats
Boards of Canada
... and You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
Belle & Sebastian
The Hot Snakes
The White Stripes (yeah, they've got a video, but they rock harder than anything since Zepplin)

music has always been comercial and pandering to trends, but in the past five years or so it has gotten *much* worse. There has not been a single innovative band to make it to the popular stage, music hasn't seen anything like this since the dark ages of the late 50s/early 60s. Think about it, what was the last novelty hit? What was the last song that got popular just because some DJ thought it was amusing? It's been quite a while. The early 90s saw innovative acts like Nirvana, Beck, and Liz Phair getting tons of airplay, and now we just have 1001 Pearl Jam/Creed rip-off acts. I won't comment on the R&B teen pop, that's obviously commercial fluff, and it wouldn't bother me if there were good things elsewhere. When we had the New Kids on the Block, we also had U2 and REM. Rap is, thankfully, still going strong, it probably has a good 10 or 15 years of life left in it.

Rock and Roll is approaching death. It will soon be as dead as Jazz. It will still be made. There will still be people doing amazing and creative things with it. But it's period of cultural relevancy is nearing the end.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the Strokes/White Stripes garage/blues punk thing will take off. That would be cool.

Death of a giant (1)

intermodal (534361) | more than 11 years ago | (#3609246)

the thing is, the radio industry and the record industry both work on outmoded business models. More and more people get sick of the same crap being played all the time and the same lack of variety and originality being played over and over again every day. As much as I hate to admit that the Internet changes all the rules, it does. 20 years ago, how do you get a band from San Francisco exposure in Frankfurt, Germany and Ontario? Either you sent a friend there a record, or you got in a van and went there. Now you put it on the internet and if you can find a way to get people to listen, you may spread via word of mouth. The difference is that eventually the concept that success in music equals fame and fortune needs to die, not be shored up by government law and evil legislation like the DMCA and it's ilk. The fact is, Radio's days are waning, and one can only hope that from the ashes (if people wise up and make CC and such die) will rise small college-like stations in their place that actually listen to what the people want...
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