Noooooo Sal. Say it isn't so.
Noooooo Sal. Say it isn't so.
OK. This is a little long but here is my opinion on the erosion of value on some of the music channels.
There are just two things you hear on a music channel…….the music and talk. IMO both are in trouble.
First the music.
It only takes a little time on the various message boards to learn that there is a big disagreement between the advocates of hits vs. the advocates of deeper cuts. Whoever programs the music channels has a tough time pleasing both groups. A position in between the two might just irritate everyone.
The problem here is that the competitors, Slacker & Pandora are really good at solving this problem on an individual basis. They even cover the discovery of new music issue. When we get WiMax really working in cars this will be even a bigger problem than it is now.
If satellite radio music channels are going to work, there must be something about them that subscribers are willing to pay for above and beyond a Pandora. I can’t imagine any stream of just music so expertly programmed that it would appeal to me more than a stream that Pandora has customized to my exact tastes.
Next the talk
So that leaves the talk as the way for satellite radio music channels to distinguish themselves.
Right away we are in trouble because another trip to the various message boards will show that a large number of subscribers don’t like to hear any talk at all and would prefer to hear just the music. Although I disagree with these people, I certainly do have a great deal of sympathy for their position. I, too am irritated by idiots who can only give the titles of the song played and tell childish bathroom humor jokes over the top of the songs. That kind of stupidity is a great deal of what is wrong with terrestrial radio. Creating a music channel with the playlist limitations I discussed above and a few of these idiots is a sure formula for failure. Just about no one would pay for that.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
We have seen that it is possible for the DJs to actually augment and enhance the music. That is by adding interesting information. Here are some examples…..
Dr. Nick on XM Channel 60 illustrated the influence of Nolan Strong of The Dialblos on Smokey Robinson by playing The Wind & Ohh Baby Baby together.
Matt The Cat on XM Channel 5 played Let’s Be Lovers by the Starglows and discussed Terry Johnson leaving the Wispers, going to the Flamingos, and then the Starglows. Also the disagreement between George Goldner at End records and Ahmet Ertegun at Atlantic over the recording. Trivia? Yes! I love it.
There was even more to the talk than the DJs delivering trivia. There was listener involvement over the telephone. This not only built a sense of community but sometimes the listeners had interesting stories about the music from their own expertise. We also had guests with listeners able to call in and ask questions. All this was coordinated by intelligent DJs.
What has happened in some of the channels is that all of these people are gone and the channels are now simply the computer systems playing out music. I have no interest in this. I have large amounts of music on MP3 files & I would much rather hear my own favorite selections. Certainly everyone expected some people to be eliminated in the name of cost savings but when all the DJs and the program director of a channel are eliminated I must believe that the management is repudiating the previous philosophy of the channel. Mel has spoken of “combining” decades channel to make something greater than what was there before. This is not combination. This is ‘dumbing down.’ If XM-Sirius was interesting in making a combined great channel these were just the people that should have been retained. I have met some of them over the years. They were hard-working and absolutely passionate about the music and their jobs.
So I fear that the value of several music channels has been destroyed and replaced with music streams that IMO have almost no value.
I also believe that terrible mistakes are being made right now in the technical areas……but that is the subject for another thread.