So we have stations which exist to accommodate such listeners, with an output that is predictable, repetitive and ‘safe’.
Take Virgin and Absolute for example. Here we have two competing outlets running almost identical playlists. Now really - What’s the point?
As regards the top 40. Well I remember how excited I was back in the 70s and 80s when the charts really meant something and weren’t just a barometer of what the young kids were listening to. There was a strong intergenerational element where we had artists sitting alongside each other in that listing as diverse as Abba, The Police, Rush, Earth Wind and Fire, Johnny Mathis and even The Manhattan Transfer!
To make the top ten one needed to sell several hundred thousand copies of a single.
We’d listen in anticipation to hear how many places our favourite song had moved up in the rankings and everyone from the kid in the street to your grandma knew what was at Number 1.
These days few people seem to either know or indeed even care what’s in the charts. Much what’s there seems instantly forgettable and disposable – often a third rate rehash of what’s gone before - Sampling classic records, rapping over them and putting them out as something original.
Look in your average charity shop and the racks will rarely contain classic albums. Instead they will frequently be laden with music that was in the charts just a few months earlier.
There’s still some great new material out there from real musicians making real music but these days it’s rarely to be found anywhere near the top 40 and must be sought via avenues like BBC 6 Music - A very well respected digital only station with a significant audience.
In the same way there’s a future for stations like Caroline but only as they continue to innovate rather than simply replicate that which is already well served via other outlets.
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