October 10, 2017
Music is a companion to our everyday activities.
We listen to the radio driving to class, we sit through film soundtracks and even wander around campus with our headphones in.
According to the Center for American Progress, 90 percent of Americans listen to the radio everyday. But it seems like we aren’t taking control over what we are listening to as some students choose to solely consumer Top 40 tracks instead of expanding their tastes.
This might be due to the explosion of rock ’n’ roll in the 1960’s, which came to influence pop music as we know it today.
During this time, the radio industry expanded, and many DJ’s played a variety of different music through the explosion of rock n’ roll. As a result of more air time on the radio, thousands of record labels began to take shape.
Because of the competition, many musicians fought for airtime on the radio, and DJ’s eventually started to accept bribery, also known as payola, from other record labels to play their clients songs.
This still happens today as Clear Channel, Sony and Colorado Springs’ own 98.9 KMMG has been suspected of accepting payola in the early 2000’s, according to a 2005 Gazette article.
According to a 2016 Lifehacker article, record labels want these songs to be played multiple times a day because they know the more people hear these songs the more they will like them, the more money they make.
This is why you will never hear a Mars Volta or Deafheaven song played on mainstream stations like 98.9 or 99.9.
It seems that mainstream stations want easy listening tones with typical verse chores verse chores arrangements, which lacks creativity and experimentation.
Music that might have a different sound or time signature will take longer for people to appreciate than the newest Maroon 5 song.
If you listen to music on the radio everyday, I would encourage you to explore other stations, like 103.9 and 94.3, record stores and streaming apps with more variety to broader your taste outside of Top 40.
The lost art form of record shopping is all about finding music you don’t know is already out there.
Of course, your typical record store is going to have the latest Lady Gaga album, but most likely that’s not what the store is going to encourage you to buy.
Many experimental rap or rock music is going to be front and center in the staff picked section enticing you to buy something new that’s not on the radio.
This platform of music searching puts more control into your hands instead of someone else’s.
So expand your music selection outside of the Top 40. You might just find your new favorite band.