Watching some of the Grammy’s last night and this morning (thanks to you tube) I realized what we were watching was contrasting eras. On the one hand we have the bygone era of music. When we see Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson & The Police on stage we’re reminded of what music used to be. When it was about the music, when the acts had actual talent to back up their mass appeal.
When we see acts like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Carrie Underwood and My Grammy moment it reminds us that mainstream music is less about talent are more about marketability. Do you actually believe that in 25 years they’ll bring the RHCP back onstage for a reunion show or will they play forever like some bad reincarnation of the Rolling Stones who themselves should have stopped after Some Girls (this is called a run on sentence children)? Who really believed that Justin Timberlake was playing the piano last night?
Real talent is no longer rewarded because it flies so far underground. Good music is referred to as INDIE. Call a radio station sometime and request a song that isn’t “mainstream”. Good luck getting that song played. Red Hot Chili Peppers are marketable. They’re a proven commodity that can bring in advertiser’s dollars. While internet and satellite radio continue to steal people away from “terrestrial” radio, “terrestrial” radio is doing nothing to ebb the flow quickly. They’re making strides with shows like San Francisco station Live 105’s Sunday evening show Soundcheck, but it may not be enough. I recently watched a trailer for a documentary called, “Before the Music Dies” referred to me by former Live 105 jock Tom Anger. I bought it on amazon.com & anyone who wants to watch it I will be more than willing to share it once I’ve studied a little more or buy it yourself cheap asses.
Is it a surprise that they bring out old stars or new stars playing old music? Justin Timberlake and some American Idol reject singing a Bill Withers song. Justin Timberlake actually has some talent, but that girl is infringing on the opportunity of so many others who struggle to make it. In a sense what they’re saying is the only way you’ll make it is through some gimmick.
The radio industry sells it’s soul a little more each day they play RHCP and not Interpol or Evanescence instead of Streets of Nowhere or Weezer and not Gym Class Heroes. What’s the likelihood that Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix or Chuck berry would’ve been discovered today? I’ll make it even simpler, what’s the likelihood that Bad Religion, The Clash or even the Police would be on the air in today’s radio climate? Slim and none. Radio isn’t about music anymore it’s about money. Once everyone realizes that, then and only then will there be changes.