Music industry needs new talent

By Paul Skow
April 25, 2010

I remember when I was a kid, the radio was full of interesting new songs and the TV was full of outrageous captivating music videos to compliment those songs.  Today, the music industry and the integrity of good mainstream music is slowly dying.

For one, MTV, or Music Television, has become  horrible, completely unrealistic “reality” television.  The music videos are gone.  If you want to see them, YouTube is your primary place. There are not nearly as many excellent music videos as there were 15 years ago.

Songs on the radio have become over-saturated with the same uninteresting product emotionally devoid, dense “party” songs often written by people behind the scenes, not the actual artists.

Remember Miley Cyrus’ lyrics in her song “Party in the USA” about how she loves hearing Jay-Z songs? Well, she never actually listened to Jay-Z before. Who really wants to listen to lyrics that have no meaning?

I always joke that if you want to write a huge pop song, just write a song about college, drinking, partying, and, if possible,  make it derogatory towards women, because for some odd reason,  even girls will sing along with lyrics like that.

Coming from someone that listens to an absurd amount of music, there are some great bands out there.  It’s not just limited to gigantically growing rock bands like Kings of Leon, Phoenix and Vampire Weekend. There are some incredible musicians around that do not get the mainstream attention that they deserve.

A few new, up-and-coming bands that I would recommend are The Morning Benders, Surfer Blood, Born Ruffians and Philadelphia’s own Free Energy.

There are bands that have been around a little longer but continually put out great albums. The Strokes, The Black Keys, Spoon and Arcade Fire are incredible, but get minimal airplay on major rock radio.

Why would a terrible band like Nickelback ever get more airplay than the incredible Foo Fighters, Led Zeppelin, Queens of the Stone Age supergroup or Them Crooked Vultures on rock radio?

Even at our Cabrini station, WYBF The Burn, which is technically a variety station, the vast majority of DJs play solely top-40 pop songs. That’s fine, but if you want that, why listen to amateur DJs? Throw on Q102.

College radio is supposed to be the future of radio. Groups like R.E.M and Nirvana in previous decades found their start on college stations before becoming immensely popular in the following years.

College radio is synonymous with cutting-edge new music. To regurgitate the current mainstream at a constant pace seems pointless. Mix it up a bit and try something new.

There’s a reason CD sales are down and it’s not just online availability.  Sure, illegal downloading has created somewhat of a negative hit on sales, but that is not the only factor.

People realize when they are being fed crap.  Maybe not everyone would, but enough people would notice and your music sales won’t be going through the roof anymore.

The solution is to start selling the people a product with some heart.  There are excellent bands out there, so maybe give them a shot at the big time and slow the constant stream of garbage coming out over the airwaves.

Put good music on the radio and bring the real MTV back before mainstream music becomes a joke. The ‘50s had Elvis, the ‘60s had The Beatles, the ‘70s had Led Zeppelin, the ‘80s had Michael Jackson, the ‘90s had Nirvana and now we have Lady Gaga? Seriously?

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Paul Skow

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