Had a television interview yesterday with a really good friend of mine who is also in the music business (and even was a DJay on radio) named Ali Hackett. It was filmed downtown at Phillycam in Philadelphia and for the session we just talked normally and candidly as though the cameras were not even rolling. Since we both were in the business we touched on all sorts of different related topics (and stories). One of the more interesting topics we addressed was the difference between the music of yesterday and the music of today. I had to be frank in my answer, but to me music will always be “expression.” Great music is music that is heard but yet it is also “felt.” Back in the day people recorded with no computers. There were real live musicians who played everything with feeling, emotion and identity in the music. A lot of times they would experiment with different chords in the studio and find something even greater musically. The engineer would record as many people as he could fit in the studio. Nowadays songwriters will go searching for a “loop online,” which is a pre-recorded musical interlude that will play forever while you add your vocals to it. Most times that loop will never change, and the artistry of the song suffers from it. Now I do realize that I am from another generation, and my views may conflict with those who disagree, but we all have to admit that the industry has changed drastically due to “money.” If you don’t have to pay musicians, then of course that means that you get to save more money. The industry is more concerned about “marketing” the song to make it a hit rather than creating a good quality recording. Most times they don’t care how bad it sounds just as long as they can do their promotion to sell it. Ali asked me how we could change the industry back to where it should be and I just told him that these people who promote bad music only do so to make a buck. If we (the public) continue to support these people monetarily then we are only “contributing” to the deterioration of the music industry. We have “choices…” Right now, conventional radio is still the front runner in what people listen to, but there are plenty of “great internet radio stations” that are on the rise. Soon the industry will bleed to death from it’s own “self inflicted wounds.” All we need to do is “find” those great stations online. Most of them are without commercials and a lot of them won’t play the “same artists” and the same songs “every hour.” If you have a good phone and an auxiliary cord for your car then you can find a “plethora” of great options. Believe it or not, I am not trying to bring down the radio industry at all. I have just heard all the complaints from people who are “fed up with it.” The stations only play what money can buy and this is a business. However, when the businesses don’t cater to the needs of the consumer then they are subject to the same repercussions as any other industry from their actions. I love listening to other stations and getting other choices. If you dare to venture, you just might like it too… Whatever your situation, I just hope that you are happy with your own choices… Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
Lalah Hathaway, Kim Burrell and Brett Jolly onstage