Monday, July 20, 2015
YOUR PLAYLIST CAN'T REPLACE ME
One major part of being in my position is finding music to air on the broadcast. That task in itself is one of the most tedious yet somehow fulfilling parts of the job. Picking a few songs out of the literally thousands of songs that are constantly promoted, submitted, serviced and posted daily for radio, even in controlled environments, is daunting. But combing through them all is the easy part. The hard part is making someone else believe that you picked the right songs.
Enter the D.J. and what exactly it means to be a “record breaker”. For years the model for being a D.J. was as exclusive as it was trusted. But then a few of them began to put money before quality, the digital revolution ensued and well, now being a D.J. is not as revered as it once was. It’s not that a D.J. or any record breaker shouldn’t be respected for their craft and what they do, if they are good at it. But what made the D.J.’s and record breakers different from everyone else that loved music? It was the fact they could get music you couldn’t get. But the internet made instant access to new music from even the most obscure artist, especially in urban music, happen at the click of a mouse.
A D.J. or radio broadcast plays music that they think is good (supposedly) and the consumer/listener is left to decide based on what they hear if they agree or not. But outside of mixing and matching beats, scratching and cutting records together in a club or at a party, the D.J. is selecting songs from a playlist of music they picked personally. What makes this different from a playlist in your iPod, or you own Sound Cloud or Spotify playlist? Why exactly do you need a D.J. or any other record breaker? Why even listen to radio, be it FM, XM or Internet if you can easily get to the new music just like the people whose job it is to break records?
The answer is, IT IS THEIR JOB TO BREAK NEW MUSIC AND RECORDS, NOT YOURS! The reason is simple yet very seemingly complex to comprehend in the era of digital music. Here is the issue: as a consumer you only THINK you have the latest and best new music that’s being released most of the time. You think because you follow Drake on twitter and Beyonce on Instagram, that you are getting access to all the music they have. You only THINK a D.J. just plays music from a playlist that you could easily comprise yourself off of Pirate Bay. You only THINK that you can get all the music that a radio station plays for free.
The fact is, nothing could be farther from the truth. There is this thing called TIME, and there’s only so much of it available in a single day. Consumers only have limited time and access to new releases and they DON’T get every song the same time as record breakers. And even if they did have that access, they wouldn’t have the TIME to sift through all the selections.
Let’s be clear, record breakers, the people who run music outlets and DJs do this EVERYDAY if they are worth their salt in this industry. Your personal playlist probably pales in comparison to the amount of music even a mediocre D.J. has available, and even less than that of a good radio broadcast. Consumers have to live their daily life. They can't dedicate hours a day searching for the new music or the latest trending artists. And exactly how do you guess that those songs and artists began trending in the first place?
D.J.’s, and professional music outlets such as radio and a few reputable blog sites infect their individual audiences with the music first. I’m all for personalized playlist and selections of music. Even as a Program Director, sometimes I want to hear what I want to hear. It may be it my 2Pac mix, my favorite new artist album or whatever. But even I still need other sources to catch some of the music that slips by me. I’m on the email lists of pretty much every “major” label and music promotions’ company in the world, and some of it still gets by me.
Just like anything else in life, you should defer to the professionals sometime. So when you want to hear music that you don’t already own, you should check out your preferred radio station, D.J. mixshow/mixtape or reputable music source. They will have music you have never heard, and if they are good they will have music you will want to own. That is their purpose. That is why everyone isn’t a D.J. and everyone doesn’t work in radio either. Don’t think your personal playlist can replace them. You are only fooling yourself and missing out on some great music more than likely.
-BLIZM (Program Director, K-100 Radio)