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Mr. G Still Appreciates Sound Advice

by Keith Gatling | 6 months ago

I like to discover new music. From all different genres. We used to do that by "listening to the radio." And you didn't have to keep changing the station to accomplish your goal.

That's because once upon a time, what we called Top-40 radio was a place where you could discover a little of everything except for maybe jazz, classical, and ethnic music. That's because when I was a kid, WMCA and later WABC, the two big Top-40 stations in the New York metropolitan area, played a mix of everything that was popular. If it sold enough records, it got played. So you were exposed to artists like Elvis, The Beatles, The Four Seasons, The Temptations, Ray Charles, Bent Fabric, Al Hirt, Patsy Cline, Dean Martin, and so on. That's because with the limited technology of the day, a successful radio station had to be one that everyone in the family could count on hearing something they liked on.

This also meant that you were exposed to music you might not have chosen to listen to yourself...and you might discover that you actually liked some of it.

So your parents discovered that they liked Something by The Beatles, you discovered that you liked Crazy by Patsy Cline, and you were all humming along to Alley Cat by Bent Fabric.

Years went by; technology improved, making more stations possible; market research made it possible to "narrowcast" to a specific demographic; and suddenly the "All Springsteen, All the Time" station was possible. Well...not quite...but a Top-40 station only played the 40 songs that were popular to a certain narrow demographic. And you weren't exposed to as much from other genres anymore. Your mother didn't know who Dee Snyder was and you didn't know from Yanni.

So much for the discovery of new artists.

So much for my discovery of new artists.

That is...until Pandora came along. Now, yes, I know that you can set up Pandora to create something that approximates the "All Springsteen, All the Time" station. But you can also set it up to create numerous other stations like the Ingrid Michaelson station, the today's hits station, the country station, the big band station, the R&B station; and then...get this...have it shuffle back and forth between the stations so you're hearing a little of everything.

Just like in the good old days.

And every now and then, when I hear something new...or new to me...that I like, I make a note of it and buy it from iTunes later on.

To add to my rather eclectic music collection.