Archive for April, 2010

Will Classic “Black” Radio Exist in 15 Years??

Posted in Music Industry with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 21, 2010 by djvinceadams

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Close your eyes, take a second and think back to Black Radio in 1995. On one station that plays current Urban hits (we’ll call this station “Station New Music”) you hear Jodeci, Snoop Dogg, LL Cool J, Mary J. Blige and some Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey thrown in for good measure. A little further down the dial you have your typical “V103 – Urban Contemporary” station (we’ll call this “Station Dusties”) where you hear some current Luther, Whitney, along with some classic Stevie, Marvin and Aretha (notice, no last names needed.) Before you get too comfortable, open your eyes and figuratively turn on those same stations today.

In 2010 if you turn to “Station New Music”, not only is the selection more narrow than its ever been (in regard to variety), its nearly impossible to imagine how a lot of today’s music would be played on “Station Dusties” 15 years from now in 2025.

Can you imagine what “Station Dusties” will sound like in 2025? Will the 9am – 9pm be filled with this past decades hits like “Laffy Taffy”, “Hot in Herre” and Ciara’s “Goodies”? Will the slow jam/“quiet storm” after 9pm section be filled with radio anthems like “I’m in Love With A Stripper”, “Shawty is a 10” and “Birthday Sex??” Think about it, what songs from 2000 – 2010 will be considered a classic or “an oldie, but goodie” in 2025.

I ask these questions because as much as today’s music is about what’s hot or relevant in this social/news cycle, it has really moved away from being crafted music to simply being manufactured “microwave hot” songs. As a DJ, I talk to people about their views on music. One conversation not long ago with a Sprint representative (while I was in the Sprint Store) was that in her opinion people don’t care about whether music is “good” or not, they just want to have fun. She continued to say “think about it, whatever could be done musically has already been done. There’s nothing new left to do, so what are people left with.” I didn’t debate her position, but my initial thought is that if we as humans really believed there was nothing new left to do we would still be living in caves, playing with 2 sticks to get fire while wearing bear skin.

However, I do believe that she has a point. Not that I believe that there’s no new ground to break, but I do believe that many artists are more caught up in “what’s hot” than in breaking new ground (personal note – I don’t consider Auto-tune songs breaking new ground.)

My main purpose for writing this is that it really wouldn’t matter if all of the song writers, singers, rappers and DJ’s got together and said “we’re only going to give people quality music”, that wouldn’t change things in the least. There are still independent artist and some major artists who produce quality and potentially timeless music. Some people say that it’s all about exposure & marketing, but I don’t totally agree with that either. I believe that it’s the old “supply and demand” formula. Simply put, the people that listen to radio stations and consume music are the one’s that are ultimately responsible for what gets played and what doesn’t.

To me, the solution to this is similar to the solution that I’ve stated in previous blog entries about the state of music. We as individuals must demand more from our own music likes and dislikes and set our own personal bar for what does and doesn’t get played or purchased by us. In the event that we don’t change our personal standard for what’s considered good music, we are not only killing the future of Classic Soul radio, but future generations won’t have a measuring stick as to determine what a good standard for quality music really is.

Its up to us as consumers to not just “live for the day” as it relates to music, but we also must make sure that we conserve the institution that great African-American artist set for us in the 1900’s. Who will be the Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, James Brown, Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan, The Temptations, et al of the 21st Century? So, next time you’re blasting  “Daddy’s Home” by Usher, “Pretty Boy Swag” by Soulja Boy or “Massive Attack” by Nicki Minaj give some thought to the future of Black Radio. Oh yeah, think about progressing “Black music” for the next generation wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

The same way that planting a tree preserves the forest or using less plastic preserves the ecology, the choices that we make in music today will either destroy or cultivate Black music radio/culture moving forward. Much love, take care of one another and remember – “we all we got”…VA

Oh yeah, R.I.P. Guru from Gang Starr – a true lyricist. Check out a blog about him and his passing from national tastemaker and blogger Audarshia Townsend… http://312diningdiva.blogspot.com/2010/04/deejays-reflect-on-rap-icon-gurus.html

Related Information:

“From Nancy Pelosi: Death to Music Radio?”

http://www.wgnsradio.com/from-nancy-pelosi-death-to-music-radio/15513/