Radio, the Culprit, Dan Krimm
Subject: Radio and the Industry Complex
Greetings and kudos for this website! At long last, there
is a communal place where music lovers and musicians can vent
their frustrations, while hopefully providing fresh perspective
and direction. I hope you find my contribution helpful and
usually find myself with something to say on these matters, so
a word of warning: I'll be back! ;-)
Currently, I am a "starving artist" musician, living the typical
life working a completely unrelated day job while devoting
the remainder of my time and energy to songwriting and band
related stuff. I'm lucky to live in a metropolitan area
where original music is relatively well supported by local folk
who are eager for live performance as well as fresh musical ideas.
Unfortunately, local radio stations ignore the abundance of local
music, focusing completely on industry promoted talent.
I believe a chaotic combination of the recording industry and radio
used to serve as an open conduit between the public and "art music".
The public was better able to determine what they wanted through
exposure to much of the available music on the radio, and popularizing
certain music through record sales. During these times, there was much
room for "experimentation" and exploring consensual boundaries of
acceptable musical forms. I think this arises out of musicians'
natural need for self challenge and progressive musical growth,
something that adds fresh energy to live performance. Nowadays,
this notion seems more like a luxury, than a recognized component
of musical expression with the music industry.
As Dan describes, the industry has conducted much research
in effort to minimize exposure from "failed" artistic efforts
while growing the almighty bottom line with the red white & blue
tried and "true". While the many artists (worried about their own
bottom lines) have surrendered to this "new order" and arguably
surrendering their status as true Artist, musical expression
and the variety of it has not disappeared. Though increasingly
marginalized by mainstream radio and record labels, the "fringe"
musical groups and artists laboring independently through entire
careers is testament enough that the art is still alive.
(Of course this does not say anything about what these striving
folk must do to stay alive.)
At this point, it seems there is little choice between artistically
laboring in obscurity or conceding to the industry defined
musical formulas in some attempt at popular appeal. This
is a realization that has greatly diluted my personal interest
in any "new" music spoonfed from the radio.
Musical categorization and identification with "style" arose out
of the recognition of diverse musical interests in the world and
the attempt to help direct the most receptive audience to the artist.
Of course all this has spelled death and obscurity to "crossover"
music artists whose forms do not neatly fit into any one genre.
I suspect it also has stymied the creativity of many songwriters
lucky enough to have already succeeded in one or another genre,
but unlucky enough to be typecast in that genre.
For myself, I've not been able to "compartmentalize" my musical
ideas into one concise genre. I find these distinctions artificially
limiting as well as eliminating the very dynamic which my own personal
style depends on, the ablility and freedom to cull various stylistic
"brush strokes" from my personal wide ranging musical "palette"
to paint a unique musical portrait. For quite sometime now,
I've relied on some wisdom from I believe, Duke Ellington, who
said, "There are basically two kinds of music, good music and
bad music." I agree with this notion that any distinction, beyond
what is perceived as good or bad, is purely arbitrary. Now this is
a good subject for furthur debate, so I'll give your eyes a rest
-- Dave Fink, Pan Productions