(or What To Listen To When The Local Jocks Just Aren't Rockin' Anymore)
It's 2:30 am, and you can't sleep. Got that exam tomorrow and you are so
wired you don't know what to do. You've already listened to your CD collection
umpteen thousand times and that's old. And you got no funds for the club,
which is probably closed by now anyway. (It's 2:30 am, remember?)
So what do you do?
You turn on the radio, thinking, well, maybe some new stuff will be on the
box tonight I can check out. When you turn it on, though, you hear last month's
hits, some retro-type-rehashed-last-year-brought-back-this-year-as-something-
totally-different-quasi-musical goulash that frankly, ain't happenin'. Add to
that the fact that you will only hear three or four songs
(notice I didn't say GOOD songs) before being deluged by ten minutes of
commercial spots and possibly the news, then whenthe music (?)
starts back up again, you get still more retro-type-rehashed...you get the picture.
Doesn't it make you wanna yell at the top of your lungs?
All you ask is for some straight-up non-stop jamming to music you are totally
in tune with, without a lot of talk or product hawking, or listening to the
same news being transmitted hour after hour. Your kind of music, at your
But alas!, radio is the billboard of the corporate machine. It's set up so
that you can listen to what we think you think is popular, (remember Jeff's
column? Better read it again!) just as long as you hear about my soap chips
or used cars or Viagra replacement pills for half price. And don't forget
about the local news loop that runs every hour with the same monotone voice
delivering the same news as this morning.
So what do you do?
Whether you know it or not, you are at this very moment sitting in front
of yet another resource brought to you by IT, information technology. Yes,
friends, I'm talking about Internet Radio. There are literally thousands
upon thousands of Internet Radio stations online that play any kind of music
imaginable, at all hours, with crystal clarity.
MSN Music has a radio setup that seems to be pretty good. It is located at
http://entertainment.msn.com/stations/. It has an extensive list of stations
which are categorized by genre or by style. A typical genre in their list
is Alternative (nah, ya think?), while a typical style would be listed as
All Day Music. One station on the All Day Music list is Just Relax, which
touts artists like "Kenny G, John Tesh, Sergio Mendes, Burt Bacharach and
many more." Another station there is The Mozart Effect. This is how they
"Worried that junior might be slow accumulating those higher cognitive functions,
thus keeping the little darling from the fast track to Lexus land? Worry
no more! Why waste thousands on SAT prep courses? Play The Mozart Effect
in utero to get those all-important spatial skills up to an Ivy-League level."
Whoa! Longhair philosophy. Bugs me out.
Remember the article I did last month?
About the sampling?
Well, MSN Music has that covered as well, with a section called Electronica.
That list includes stations like Breakbeat Planet, which features sampler gurus
(OK) like DJ Shadow, Squarepusher, Amon Tobin, DJ Cam, DJ Krush, and
more. These are the type of FruityLoops "aficionados" who successfully
invented their own classificationof "music" and seem to be living it up.
I suppose I need to back up off of them, lest I be subject to their harsh rebuttals.
Despite what I personally feel about sampling, they seem to be doing quite well.
MSN only represents a tiny share of the Internet Radio pie. To see complete
listings of national and global Inter Radio stations, log on to http://www.live-radio.net/.
There you will find a pretty good listing of stations playing everything
from Rock to Bach.
And don't forget that regular people like you and I have the capability of
becoming IR Broadcasters as well. If you have the right kind of Internet
access equipment, you can become a radio broadcaster over the Net. All you
need is a straight connection to the Internet, free of firewalls, a relatively
fast, powerful computer, and a really good streaming audio software package
like ShoutCAST, which uses WinAmp. Hook up the equipment, install the software
(which is free), set your ports, and start broadcasting!
It's that easy!
I LOVE TECHNOLOGY!!!
Of course you know there are issues, right?
Such as, the ranting of corporate types and standard radio stations moaning
about things like antitrust and cutting into their business, much like the
Postal Service did when e-mail was getting started full tilt, wanting to
get in on it by taxing or charging for each e-mail sent. I think they wanted
5c for each e-mail, because they said that e-mail critically reduced the
amount of first class mail sent, the amount of stamps sold, and the amount
of services required in general. Just like the government, wanting to tax
everything just because one entity is losing money to technology. I'd like
to see that same kind of passion directed toward claiming some of the jobs
lost to technology.
Then there are the complaints about advertising, or not being able to get
ad space on the Net. It seems the businesses have fewer outs in terms of
getting stations to plug their goods and services. The price keeps going
up because the listener base for standard radio is declining, making for
less potential customers for their businesses. If nobody is listening to
the radio, who will hear the ads? But radio stations subsist on advertisement
money, so it's logical that they would be concerned.
Which brings me to something else. In my writings, I try to persuade new
artists to go to the college radio circuit to get some airplay without having
to do the payola thing. Unfortunately, more and more college station jocks
are getting into this despicable practice. Although I have yet to hear about
anyone getting caught at it, I can no longer endorse that alternative. It
seems that they are getting just as bad as the top jocks. Bunch of crooks.
Now, Internet Radio, however, doesn't seem to be conducive to this, simply
due to the fact that you don't meet the jocks face to face. You submit your
material to them. It may take a little longer to get heard, but in the end,
you get wider play as a result. This is assuming, of course, that your material
meets the standards of the station. You still have to be copyrighted, you
still have to be published, and you still have to work hard at it. Just because
the world of technology is making it easier to get played, I guarantee you
will not live to see the day when getting ahead in this business does not
involve hard work and perseverance. As I have stated before, there are giants
in the business out there struggling, despite any milestones they may have
turned in their careers, and if they have to work hard, you have to work
twice as hard to get half as far.
I love you all.