Comment: Don't listen to the radio
19th September 2012
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This time ten years ago the only way to hear a new band was through word of mouth. Radio DJs and music critics were the gatekeepers when it came to new music, providing audiences with what they thought was the next big thing. Popular music was fresh and daring. It gave bands like the Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, Muse and Franz Ferdinand room to grow organically. The passion of DJs like John Peel allowed alternative music to reach mainstream audiences. Barely two years into the 2010s and popular music has lost its balls. Now that people can listen to whatever they want either illegally or through streaming sites like Spotify, music magazines and radio shows have lost both audiences and relevance. What’s the point of being told what to listen to, when we can now pick and choose so easily? Radio DJs are no longer free to take risks with music. Personalities like Jo Whiley once had the freedom to play bands that were a little more risqué, a little more daring, but now have no choice but to keep to the playlists they are given. This way the stations convince themselves that they are giving the public what they want, whilst keeping their audience numbers safe and constant. Is there really a problem with that? Of course there is. We have to deal with more Lady Gaga, more Justin Bieber, more Tinie Tempah. And more (shudder) Coldplay and Rihanna collaborations.
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