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conspiracy theory

besides insanity and sluggishness, one of the various reasons for the lateness of the next blondie album is that we’re as usual currently embroiled in the dilemma of attempting to satisfy the various higher-ups (who our manager Alan calls the ‘gate keepers’) record co. heads and programmers, in that order, with our ability to produce what they consider a hit… this sounds like a simple thing, regardless of it being negative or positive when in fact it is really complicated… the idea that a hit is a piece of music that appeals to the largest cross section of listeners seems finally to be only a small part of the current equation… its like a filter has been added to the relation of artist and audience as people are more and more conditioned to accepting and then eventually really liking whatever is presented to them… somehow the boredom and frustration of the society has caused a complacency (laziness) and maybe no one really gives a shit anymore… hollywood is the main example, could ‘taxi driver’ or ‘midnight cowboy’ become popular mainstream films now? so what i used to think was a fairly simple thing: one puts out a song and people either like it or not has now turned into this crazy science based on marketing, demographics (age groups), and programming formats (all sort of categories like urban this, adult bla bla, etc etc etc) as well as about ten other things that i either cant think of or havent bothered to memorize, so although this sounds like im complaining which i am, this is still something that i hear people in the music biz talking about all the time now… look in billboard or one of the various music periodicals and find articles like “why music sucks” regularly
im only bringing this up cause one of the faithful “Paul” sent me this really cool bit of writing, no matter how crazy this sounds im pretty certain that there is some reality to it, whether or not stuff like this is consciously perpetrated by radio, record companies really doesnt matter, the fact remains that the conditions described do really exist, that even if the good and bad stuff isnt being deliberately eliminated the result is the same as if it were
so check this out and dont be discouraged by my rants i think the new record is one of our best etc etc

 

[included with permission of the original author Paul Jon Watson with special thanks to Joe Gallagher. – Ed.]

NO MORE HITS

Listening to NPR radio pledge drive speakers last week, drumming the audience for contributions, my full attention was drawn from my work to what was being described as a long term conspiracy against the musical arts. The announcer was pointing out that the public radio music stations are at least largely free of the influence of commercial pressure upon program content. He contrasted NPR radio programming with commercial programming in the light of the long-standing practice of the latter to first market-test all new recordings with small samplings of public response to them. If the public rates the recordings very highly or very poorly, both types of recordings are prevented from being aired on all commercial stations throughout the nation. The reasoning for this is that market analysts claim that if the music is enjoyed overly much by the listening radio audience, they will be so distracted by the pleasure of it that they will not be attentive to the commercial messages the station is broadcasting after the music is heard. And conversely, if the music played generates negative feelings in the listening audience, the listener will be in a poor frame of mind to be receptive to the commercial messages that follow it. So about the upper ten to fifteen percent of all top-rated submitted music as well as the bottom 15 percent of the poorest rated submitted music is routinely clipped off and suppressed by the broadcasting industry and our culture and the listening public is thereby effectively protected from experiencing the regular emergence of hits and immortal standards that formerly graced our airways and our hearts. Always wondered why the big hits stopped appearing around the late seventies and early eighties or so and why audiences are still hungry for the performances of the now geriatric but still very popular vocalists and music groups who brought them to us decades ago.

thanx for listening
   chris