From David Lewis:
"...The majors, at least, were not successful in dealing with emerging grass
roots trends around 1980 and decided instead to cultivate their own pop
artists, with MTV taking a major role in getting this out to the masses, a
calculated plan to divest the business of radio and to control trends in pop
What I saw happen from the inside was that Madison Avenue started wanting
radio to narrowcast to small demographic groups based on testing music with
focus groups. National radio sponsors loved this because it gave them
numbers they could use to cover their asses with stock analysts when their
new products tanked.
MTV was Warner Brothers answer to no longer being able to get anything fresh
on the radio in order to reach actual music fans who might buy records.
Madison Avenue had killed radio's relationship with the fans and turned
music radio into genre-flavored background muzak for people to identify
with. It no longer reflected local record sales and popularity with engaged
music fans the way it had for the previous three decades. The rise of Clear
Channel pushed this trend over the top.
Unfortunately the Madison Avenue monster went on to eat concert promotion
and eventually even relatively small venues. This is why a promoter can make
more money from a half-filled, corporate sponsored oldies concert than they
can from an engaging young band that actually fills the house.
Where the majors did lose their way was failing to find or create a path
other than radio for exposing new artists. Many still pander to focus groups
which is a lot of what today's digital loudness war is all about. At this
point we've lost radio, record stores and reasonably priced venues young
people can afford. With them, we've lost several generations of potential
It's 1945 all over again. The infrastructure grew new artists between 1945
and 1985 was allowed to die. It needs to start from the beginning with a new
generation of live venues. I have no doubt somebody will do this.
Bob Olhsson Audio Mastery, Nashville TN
Mastering, Audio for Picture, Mix Evaluation and Quality Control
Over 40 years making people sound better than they ever imagined!
615.562.4346 http://www.bobolhsson.com http://audiomastery.com