My Appearance on CNBC—and Other Responses to the 'Old Music Killing New Music' Article
I must have struck a raw nerve. . .
My article on old music killing new music must have hit a raw nerve. It generated quite a response—with many offering their own perspectives on the matter. Within a few hours it set a record for clicks, links, retweets, and comments on The Honest Broker.
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Larry Rosin sent me some information on radio station formats that showed how dramatically the marketplace has abandoned new songs over the last decade. Even I was surprised by the numbers. Check out this table, which makes painfully clear the retreat from current hits. Radio is tilted to commuters in cars, so it doesn't measure the whole audience, but still...
Another reader made an amusing connection to Christmas songs (which I shared in my interviews yesterday). We have grown used to hearing the same songs in December, and don’t even expect to discover new ones. The tracks hardly change from year to year. The only new development is that the same thing is now happening every other month, with a body of canonical popular tunes dominating the public soundscapes. And that mix of familiar songs changes—if at all—at the slowest possible pace.
Hey, it’s like Christmas every day of the year!
Here are a few additional reactions:
I heard similar comments from other readers:
And then there was this:
I was especially surprised by how many people outside the music world had strong reactions. Yesterday, I did a round of interviews, and none of them were on music or entertainment media outlets—including this appearance on CNBC last night.
I will be talking about this subject again in other settings during the coming days. Next week, I’m doing an interview on KCRW, the NPR affiliate in Santa Monica—one of my favorite radio stations on the West Coast. On Monday, I will spend an hour with their music and culture host Madeleine Brand—however, I don’t know yet whether this will be live on the air or prerecorded for later in the week.
And on February 1, I’ll spend an hour with host Krys Boyd on her fine NPR interview show Think. Her daily broadcast, on NPR affiliate KERA, is syndicated on about a hundred stations, so I might be on the air in your neighborhood.
I’ve had a few previous encounters with Krys on the air, all of them quite memorable. She is one of the best prepared interviewers on the scene today. The last time I visited her in the studio, she had a copy of my book on her desk. This is what it looked like
That’s the kind of behind-the-scenes preparation she brings to her craft. So I’m looking forward to talking with her about the new music/old music controversy.
I may need to write about this subject again. In particular, I want to address the single most prevalent opinion I heard in response to my article—namely that the older songs are simply better than the new ones. Could it really be that simple? That’s a big issue, with all sorts of ramifications. Too big for me to address in passing here, but I hope to tackle it soon.