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Music or fast food? Make your own choice


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If you'd ask an average person about what he listens to, the answer probably will be – music. If the question is more precise, you will hear – everything. After such response, another question comes to mind. This time, names of formations and bands, which is a natural reaction, because we hope that the man standing in front of us has no music boundaries or genre limits, and this is of course so obviously rare in the society. In most of cases, the response we get consists of one big disappointing string of sentences. Our hopes are fading automatically when it appears that the majority of audience in fact listens to virtually everything – indeed, but this usually narrows their tolerance of music to the one broadcasted by radio stations. These popular and available almost everywhere platforms, after buying a license from the artist, are trasmitting it endlessly because the license is granted for lifetime term. Listeners still keep coming, so why not let the circle go? In the opinion of these people everything is limited to the typical hip-hop, pop, and few genres of Rock. In other words, this music of pop culture turned people into commerce devourers, which in the apparent absence of alternatives are listening to what is given on a plate. Directly from hand to hand and most often - without any differentiation of genres, because everything sounds just the same. Such people usually have limited perception of the music industry. For them everything is blurred and indistinct, and their ability of listing some band names is almost an unbreakable bareer. Therefore, the term "radio music" perfectly describes this kind of mirage directed towards the audience. A mirage, because how else can you describe an illusion of music, which deceives and quite skillfully plays with the perception of listener?

I'm not saying that the work of musicians presented in most of the popular channels of communication is shallow. The statement is, music from the radio is given to audience by force. It’s only a big cluster with no identity and it doesn't take any certain state of mind into account. The audience which grows up in such a dangerous mix will have definitive difficulty to find its own musical identity in future, regarding the varierty of music genres. Subconsciously, people are looking for what is similar to this anonymous crowd, and everything what has a bit of temper is said to be a musical deviation. Pop culture destroys curiosity and a musical impulse to search for new sounds. It destroys a sense of diversity and individuality, and also introduces a state of confusion and musical racism. It promotes a lifestyle that is reminiscent of depressing images, which is seen in "Metropolis" - the previously mentioned anonymous crowd, moving at one pace throughout entire life performing the same duties. Fortunately, music critics see it – those created by niche and, paradoxically, those created through pop culture. Robert Leszczynski is one of the pop music columnist. He compared popular music to the junk food. This statement becomes woefully true after a while of reflection. How it’s possible not to agree with the idea of the only seemingly unobtrusive blend of nothingness attacking the listener from all possible sides and the destroying ability of his own thinking?

"The history of music - as for the compilation albums, they appear to be a string of pleasant hits, not known by whom and when sung, resembling the same phenomenon as fast food burgers. It does not allow to form your own taste, because it is a taste of everyone and that is nobody's fault. Real music fans despise these compilations and they avoid radio like the plague. They are fans of carefully selected performers and genres - not of a single radio hit. By themselves, they’re relying on their own taste in picking their musical menu and do not benefit from what they get from the songs chosen by a radio program director, because he thinks of those "everyone " who did not want to think, and the music taste of which is generally all the same. Such audience listens to anything, without any expectations – just to hear something buzzing in the background"
Source: "Wprost" 42 / 2008 - Robert Leszczynski.

During a short work at the radio station, I found out that this is how commercial radio stations imagine a typical listener. A recipient, which usually comes back tired from work and does not want to listen anything more demanding. Therefore, he is made to listen to something that might relax him – by force. That's a misunderstood and erroneous belief, because how something irritable in its own repetition may be a soothing attribute for this kind of listener? In many cases it misses the goal, and unfortunately in many others – paradoxically still works. Of course, good music – a bit more demanding, though still under the form of constantly broadcasted hits absorbable by the public for decades - is exhibited by the stations. On the other hand, good music exists in the media, but it’s likely to be overlooked due to the emission in really late hours. Therefore, hardly anyone is able to wait so long at night to listen to the broadcast about the movie soundtracks, or young artists who created something new and fresh. The same laws govern television platforms where a more challenging content is available at such ridiculous times that it makes the programs out of reach for most of the audience concerned with them.

Fortunately, there are also different units – owners of smaller, underground stations. They are not oriented on profits, but on the satisfaction of the listener - a value now marginalized and regarded as a relic of the past, according to which no one sets the popularity of the station anymore. In the same way as websites consider the statistics, television viewers and newspaper readers buying the titles, radio stations do not rely on listeners' tastes, but only themselves. Such niche radio stations, usually based on websites, are following a certain rule - not popularity or outstanding amount of listeners, but precisely this issue, which is apparently dying. Namely, they focus on the challenging message, ambitious music and its a great menu- that’s the thing which makes a listener satisfied and repleted. Even those who are engaged in daily intercourse with a great range of radio stations, now are getting just tired of them. These small projects are hard to find. The are found either by a recommendation of friends, or completely by accident. They do not have an extensive advertising due to the low or even non-existent budget, and its promotion is mainly based on luck or support of similar sites. The content presented by them generally do not have any borders or barriers. If we miss a concept broadcast, we still can experience a clever jump from genre to genre which attracts listeners encouraged precisely by this unpredictable spontaneity.

Admittedly, it is a statement referring to genuine music fans. They do not wallow in the positions chosen by the stations, instead they look for another band on their own. They have no greater satisfaction and euphoria than the one gained by digging up something fresh and deviating from the low requirements of the public. People open to music, curious about new experiences and experiments are also more receptive to people and diversities. They are people full of passion and motivation. Music from the underground develops people's personality, allowing you to find your preference - not just music. Nobody would argue that the underground is more difficult in the reception and more demanding, but also gives more room for interpretation. Everyone can find their own message and can freely analyze it, because most of the lyrics is a perverse system of reticence, comparable to contemporary poetry. Totally different is the case with radio units. These often get lost and shut in their own limitations. Being not able to cross them, they fall into the mainstream and stop pursuing any individual. And that's when the vegetation begins, resulting in the transformation into musical fast food.

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Translator: Wendy Troy
Add date: 2011-03-07 / Articles


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