[Date Prev][Date Next]   [Thread Prev][Thread Next]   [Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index]


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Bill Fox" <billyfox@soundscapes.us>
To: <Loopers-Delight@loopers-delight.com>
Sent: Saturday, 18 February, 2006 02:59 AM

> loop.pool wrote:
>> Things like this are never big money makers,  they are labors of love 
>> very necessary labors of love as new and emerging
>> artistry is crowded out of this culture's venues.
> ...as evidenced by the report 20/20 did on Thursday night on Payola in 
> radio.  Still going strong.  Still keeps all the airplay for the big 
> budget labels, to hell with the rest of us.  I have nothing against 
> business and making a profit.  In fact, I insist that musicians make a 
> profit.  But the Payola system is just greed; greed on the part of 
> commercial radio and greed on the part of major labels not wanting to 
> share the airwaves with little niche markets like where we loopers 
> Thank goodness for non-commercial FM radio and the internet.

Warning!  Rant follows!  (some would say what else is new, eh?)

Indeed!  It's interesting to me - and a little discouraging at times - how 
business deals that would otherwise be labeled "collusion", 
"anti-competitive", or to use the actual legal phrase "in restraint of 
trade", have been allowed to be made over the past 15 or so years.  AOL 
buying their only competitor CompuServe, for example, if not also their 
assimilation act with Time-Warner.  I'm sorry that 20/20 doesn't appear 
in the UK - but then such a program as described above would most likely 
ignored by the British TV-licensed public, who would be surprised that 
anyone would object to payola, anti-competitive groups like Clear Channel, 
or government control of the media.

While I used to despair at the state of LA radio in the post-KROQ world, 
least there were occasional blips of independent radio before they were 
bought up by Clear Channel and turned into a piece of the Big Tapioca 
Machine.  A listen to a range of stations in the UK - we've had various 
groups of workmen in the house here since 2003 - makes one wish for more 
than bloody revolution, frankly.  UK radio is not much more than an 
extension of the Sales departments of the Big Five, with exceptions like 
Juice FM and a few rasta pirate stations that pop up only on Saturday 
for instance... and one gets a strong impression that what is thought of 
elsewhere as an entertainment medium is more of an employment medium.  It 
as if a bunch of civil servants, middlemen, cigar-chompers and accountants 
have thought up the idea to maintain a kind of funnel leading to the 
Marketing Pipeline, in order to catch large numbers of aspiring or wannabe 
acts, with the supposedly-best finding their way into the Pipeline.

What does one get when you're on the consumer end of such a Pipeline?  An 
awful lot of barely-infringingly-duplicated, tone-corrected rubbish that 
sounds like there aren't any songwriters anymore, just performers of other 
peoples' material (cut up, resampled, slightly rearranged to have a 
over-bass hip-hop beat slapped on top of it).  James Blunt?  Are you 
me?  What's darkly hilarious at times is that such pablum is played 
in juxtaposition to Led Zeppelin, which even if you hate Zep still makes 
New Crop (er, Crap) sound even less interesting.  On the depressing side 
presents a reality that doesn't exist - one where there are no more real 
songwriters, just committees and promo execs that approve what you'll be 
allowed to hear.

Most of us on this list know there are songwriting musicians out there, 
that they either cannot bear the idea of dealing with the civil servants, 
middlemen, cigar-chompers and accountants, or believe that if they did so, 
they'd just get pimped and robbed, and their material stolen and 
by one of the new breed of Tone Corrected Celebrities.  Robert Fripp 
recently said in his diary that he'd "rather be dragged around England by 
left testicle" than deal with record execs etc.

The Internet is the Next Frontier.  We all know this.  The Big Five never 
anticipated CDs, CDs on computers, P2P, and they just barely got their 
anti-competitive paws on DVDs.  Unfortunately the DVD cat has also been 
of the bag for some time, and even non-moving-parts items like USB drives 
are out of their reach.  There is a future for people like us, one that 
still doesn't involve us crawling across some cigar-chomper's carpet just 
have the right to record our work.

And now back to cleaning up after yesterday's workmen dust (Fripp calls 
'workmen's pollen'), and clearing out my Mum-in-law's cupboards for the 

Happy Washington's Birthday too.  Yipes.
Stephen Goodman

* Cartoons about DVDs and Stuff
* http://www.earthlight.net/HiddenTrack
* The Loop Of The Week since 1996!
* http://www.earthlight.net/Studios