Thursday, January 12, 2006

So... what's on your iPod these days?

I don't know about you, but I' ve always had a keen ear for good music that may be mainstream or it could be a little rough on the edges, it doesn't really matter, its the passion that moves me. The past several years have really turned me from the recording industry as a whole. I'm not quite sure if its the absurd price of CD's these days, the poor quality of releases, or the pumping out of utter crap (see Ashlee Simpson). The whole industry has taken the perspective that they need to tell us what to listen to rather than letting us decide. If you look at what's happened in Radio you can see just what a mess it has become. In 1996 the telecommunications Act removed the cap in place for radio station ownership. At the time ownership was limited to 40 stations. Since its removal, several companies started gathering small empires of stations. Currently, the reigning champion is Clear Channel, sitting on top with a whopping 1194 stations. Want to know who sits behind Clear Channel? Well lets put it this way, the next top five combined doesn't touch Clear Channel. The nearest competitor is Cumulus Broadcasting Inc, which happens to be 900 stations behind with 305. As far a markets, Clear Channel reaches 188 markets, triple the number Cumulus does. [reference: journalism]

So that leaves us a behemoth of a company direction a large portion of what mainstream America listens to. As their defense, Clear Channel sites the The Herfindahl-Hirschman Index, which evaluates market concentration, and is used for a tool to review a possible monopoly. For their defense, they state that the top-5 music companies account for 85% of that industry├é’s market share, where the top 10 radio companies account for 43%. [reference: Clear Channel] The music company issue aside, numbers are a funny thing. When you compare Radio to the other industries, Music: top 5 at 85%, Movies: top 8 at 84%, Cable: top ten at 65%, 43% starts to not look so bad. But then we break those numbers down and combine the total stations owned by the top ten radio companies. The total comes in around 2469, 48% of which are owned by Clear Channel. So in a totally non-scientific, off the cuff number, one could guess that the market share for Clear Channel is more like 20.64%, kind of nice to be hidden in that 43% by the top ten huh?

Well where am I going with this, outside of bashing Clear Channel with theequiviantt of a pebble thrown at the Nile? I'm going to try and do my part to get the word out on good bands that you may or may not have heard of, and in turn bands you may or may not like. But hey, I do what I can, and I'll try to key the few smattering of people who swing by my nook in the web with a heads up on at least what I happen to be listening to.

The plan is to try and post a band of interest on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. To start off, I think I'll do the honors to a Le Tigre a "feminist punk electronic music" band trio of riot grrls that leave a punch that leave you nodding your head to the beat. TKO fromtheirr album This Island released in 2004, happens to find its way up the list on my iPod. In true punk fashion, they come at you fast and leave you quickly. Check them out if you get a chance, and swing by to let me know what you think.

-Scott

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