If you're of a certain age, chances are you lived and died by your favourite radio station. I know I did. All my friends were constant listeners. We knew the names of ever single personality, the times of ever special feature and exactly when certain songs were played. We listened in our bedrooms and in our cars.
When I fell in with radio nerds, my world expanded exponentially. Not only did I know ever personality on ever station in my hometown, I made sure I knew what was going on in Chicago, Denver, Louisville, Cincinatti and all the stations I could pick up on my AM radio at night. I knew from a very early age that this is what I wanted to do for a living.
It's hard to explain how cool and how pretigious it was to be a DJ in decades past. What you said and did and played really seemed to matter to a vast array of people. And the loyalty the listeners showed in return was mindboggling.
Things are different now because people have far more entertainment choices than they ever had. Radio is still relevant and important and vital and profitable, but with so many other ways to get this kind of information and entertainment, it's not the same as it used to be.
I bring this up because of an article I found online entitled "How Internet Killed the Radio Star." It begins liket this:
If your birthday falls before 1990, you probably remember obsessively scouring radio stations to hear that perfect song, then fumbling to record it on a blank cassette. Or maybe you meandered down aisles of musty and aggressively hip independent music stores, looking at imported CDs of B-sides and rarities and hoping the employee's side-eye wasn't personal. Perhaps you even browsed the shelves at your local Borders or Barnes & Noble, looking to score some deals.
When MP3s came along, they created a seismic shift in the music industry, rendering those experiences obsolete. Consumers no longer buy physical copies of music in the same way they once did, and this is unlikely to change as our world becomes increasingly digitized.
To make it in today's music business, Internet savvy is nearly as important as musical talent. Musicians' innovative practices during this digital shift are helping tear down the down the lucrative music sales industry of yore, while engaging fans on an unprecedentedly direct level.
But this growing Internet savvy, which gives them cachet among younger listeners, doesn't result in blossoming bank accounts, and Internet fame to any degree is no guarantee musicians will be able to make a sustainable living from their work.