Tuesday, 26 January 2010

How Music Changes Through the Years

Triple R, probably the most interesting radio station in Melbourne, had a bit of a chat about the way most radio stations work when it comes to choosing the music they play. Turns out they follow this model that was developed by an American station many years ago: they choose between 300 to 400 songs, and for a while they'll only play those selected songs until some songs refresh process takes place (probably gradually). The logic is simple: allow the listeners who hear some song they like but don't listen to too often to come back to the station in order to hear that nice song again a couple of days later.
I'm not here to question the commercial logic; I'm only mentioning it because it came as a surprise to me. I never really paid the concept much attention but rather chose to assume that given the millions of tracks out there, radio stations just select one out of a million in their library to play each time around. Guess I should have known better, given the way the radio does tend to keep on playing the same sh*t again and again.
The way I see it, the real problem with this model is that you never get any exposure to the B sides; you only hear the hits. But it's those B sides that form the majority of tracks, and on many occasions they're more than just a filler. Sometimes, especially when played in the context of the full album with their neighboring tracks, they're even better than the hits. And what chance does the public have of exposure to songs like Pink Floyd's terrific yet 22 minutes long Meddle?
I can see why today's world of music has got me so uninterested I'm severely disconnected. If this can happen to me, an audiophile, then it probably does say something about the current state of the music industry.

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