Friday, April 1

Music Industry in Crisis: Day 11688

Norbizness is smart, inventive and funny and does this every freakin' day. It's like whoever noted that Joe DiMaggio never got grass stains on his uniform. HFPST is a blog with no grass stains. Even when he's passing time with the topselling albums of alltime.

The really frightening thing there is not the cringe-worthy artists nor the shocking failure to choose the best albums by even the good ones, it's the number of Greatest Hits packages. Look, I know why I buy a Greatest Hits collection: the artist is long dead, long past recording, or had only a couple of songs I liked. Why do 21 million people buy "Billy Joel's Greatest Hits Vol. 1 & 2"? "Y'know, I really like that Billy Joel guy. Here's the 24 of his chartbusters I'd like to restrict my listening to" ?

[Ob.Simpsons. Helicopter pilot: "Another guy I like is that Leo Sayer."]

Alex of Buck Hill reminds me of the glory days of Bravo as an arts channel, when they'd fill open spots with independent shorts, which I am left to guess now play on IFC, which I can't get despite having the cable company complaint desk number memorized. Siddown with Alex and the academy leader starts, then there's something between 15 seconds and two minutes long which may frequently be described as magic. Wednesday he put the Grokster business to bed by quoting a sentence and a half. Wow-ee, as we say here in Dixie.

Which brings to mind the local dust-up over radio station format changes which had probably aready occurred in the other 49 states and Guam. The Oldies station is now a veritable iPod shuffle of "the 70s, 80s, 90s and today", while an adult contemporary station went to an eclectic country format. Front page story in the Star.

Like I care. I dropped the radio habit for good in 1977, when Elvis Costello and the Ramones did not blast "Freebird" off every FM outlet in the country. But there's two interesting things about this. One, these are both multi-station operators making the change, and it's usually amusing to see what an idea that passes through thirty corporate inboxes comes out looking like. Obviously, this one can't be chalked up to audience demand; somebody somewhere sold the idea, and somebody else wrote it up in a trade journal, and now everybody's just got to play "a wide range of music". Gee, that's a great idea. What's kept you from doing it for the last 25 years?

The other trend just now washing ashore on the mighty White River is giving these stations the diminutive of men's names, Jack and Hank, respectively, ("like in other cities with stations such as Bob, Joe, and Dave", notes the Star.) This crowns the effort to reduce the call letters to the singular. Apparently the reduction from three to one, plus three or four numbers, is still too challenging, and market research has shown that Americans respond best to products named by a specific barking sound. This does not bode well.


Norbizness said...

I'd like to restrict my Billy Joel listening to about 13 seconds worth, the synth intro to "Pressure"

Anonymous said...

Ooh, we've just had one of those "Jack" stations visited upon us here in L.A. I didn't know it was a "thing." In the last week or so, it shoved one of the "classic rock" station aside. I've never stayed on it long enough to hear whether it's an improvement. I'm not cool enough to be able to tell, anyway.

Anonymous said...

Oh, but back when you were giving up radio and I was borderline cool (that is, still not cool but hovering around other people who were), we had KROQ here in L.A. We actually got big juicy doses of Elvis Costello and the Ramones and more.