Mainstream radio has changed with the new millenium, but there may be hope for music yet
Once upon a time, the radio was the deity of all public services. Sweet sounding tunes were mobilized into portable stereos through the revolutionary discovery of wireless connection. It was the greatest thing that could have happened to the progressive movement of music at the time. From barbershops to hair salons, music aficionados were gathered across state boundaries with a communal love for celebrating big moments in music. For decades, those who did not have access to vinyl, CDs or cassettes, the gift of “free” music was as good as it got. To your parents, the term “radio” evokes a nostalgia-fueled trip down memory lane to the “good old days.” Evenings spent glued to a set, case in hand, waiting for the right moment to rip the next track on a fresh tape. Oh! The glory that came from executing a playlist with a perfectly timed flip side. Quite simply, it was groundbreaking.
Flash forward a couple decades, to the present day. Who even listens to the radio? We’re talking traditional, FM/AM fine-tuned stations separated by disturbingly loud hissing sounds of white noise. Unless you are one of those blessed students who happens to have a car, or takes the occasional (awkward) rideshare, you can probably relate. The mainstream radio is dead and has been since the 2000s, as we have ceded our ears to the dreaded Billboard’s hot 100. Not to throw any shade to mainstream enthusiasts but, quite frankly, no one needs to hear Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” 12 times a day, perhaps not even once a day, or ever. Yes, there are different channels which you can get your music from, but they all share the same infuriating traits. They are as follows:
1. Play only extremely popular synthetic tracks that appeal to everyone and their mother.
2. Play them again, and again, and again.
3. Insert completely unrelated dialogue about rumours surrounding controversial artist.
This pattern has time and time again been a hot conversation topic for many modern day musical philosophers: “why don’t they just play good music that we like?” And to that, the only answer provided is that, as long as there are people who will listen to the top 100, there will be people who play it. However, there is hope for wireless music! With the glorious invention of the Internet, iPods and MP3s, selection has become the birthright of every music buff. The increasing speed of uploads and downloads in recent years has opened up a virtual paradigm of musical bliss. Here, selectivity is highly praised, and exploration is encouraged. From Soundcloud and 8tracks, to Spotify and the many dark holes of YouTube, music that pleases your strange palate is readily available at the click of a button. Trust, in a couple of years, the radio will be so far removed from today’s state that it will be as obsolete as Katy Perry’s last single.