By Frontline standards, this program was not too terribly insightful. They did mention something about the music money dropping from $40 billion to $28 billion. That's about a 35% drop, which is a major downturn, but with $28 billion to go around I don't know if I'd call the music industry dead yet.
They didn't really focus much on the extreme tightening of radio playlists and the great reduction in stations that will play new music (Top 40, or whatever that's called now). They also didn't mention that MTV, to a large degree, no longer plays music at all. Certainly not enough to give an unknown band the level of exposure they're likely to need to break through to an audience.
Another factor they ignored was that, with the introduction of CD's, the single, as a consumer format, pretty much disappeared. I mean, theoretically CD singles may exist, but how many people that bought singles in vinyl continued to do so when they were coming out on CD and selling for three times as much (assuming they could find a store that actually stocked them)?
I never knew that the public radio station in Santa Monica, KCRW, had a modern rock show, or whatever the format is ("Morning Becomes Eclectic"). I listen to a show from KCRW rebroadcast on my local public broadcasting AM station, To the Point, pretty much every day, but it's a current-events interview show, not music.
LA seems to be a pretty good radio town, with KCRW and KROQ (home of legendary DJ Rodney Bingenheimer).
As far as music goes, New York's only saving grace is WFMU and, at times, WKCR (Moondog Matinee, the jazz shows, the reggae show). Unfortunately, WFMU broadcasts from somewhere around East Orange, NJ with about a kilowatt. Definitely a station that requires switching to mono reception mode. But great music in mono beats crap in stereo any day.
Getting back to the Frontline, was anybody surprised that Sarah Hudson's single disappeared? Too much of an Alanis/Avril clone. And as for the success of the Scott Weiland G 'n' R/STP supergroup, people love the familiar.
i found the show interesting. while not frontline's usual story topic, they still did a good job.
they covered a wide range of topics -- what it takes to make it these days (looks over talent, mtv), why a decent cd is hard-to-find (the "smash-hit" single), the homoginization of music (clearchannel), etc.
it's definitely a worth-while watch...especially if you're a music fan.
i used to *love* kcrw when i was living in LA. it was one of the things i missed when i left. kroq didn't do it for me anymore.
as far as sara hudson goes, the song was decent enough...but just like the show proved...it's a tough biz.
Iver, I share your opinion about Thursday evening's edition of the otherwise superb series Frontline — I was hoping for a real narrative, with the focus being on media consolidation (and Clear Channel in particular), the fact that only five companies control most of what is out there, the utter lack of compelling talent that's being promoted, the artificiality of what does get promoted, etc.
I loved how that young Hudson girl was saying that she wants to be presented as a "real" artist "with something to say" as opposed to being "manufactured" — when everything about her is being manufactured (making me a "boy on the virge ... of a nervous breakdown"). And that band formed out of the remnants of Guns N' Roses is sooo late-'80s.
And David Crosby is the focus at the start of the documentary, yet it is not even mentioned what band he was in before CSN&Y: The Byrds!
So, what we got was a sort of stream-of-consciousness, nonlinear, non-narrative snapshot of what ails a corrupt industry. (Not once was it mentioned that another money-sucking engine is driving dollars away from recorded music: DVD-Video!)
Where was the historical context?
Only the week before, Frontline presented a hard-hitting look at the current president and his personal beliefs — vintage Frontline (and let's leave it at that, of course). Then this thing. Amazing.
On the other hand, it can be argued that by focusing on Ms. Hudson and on that band ("Slither"?), Frontline was indeed focusing very visually on what ails the music industry: There are no artists being sought out and promoted, just acts.
don't forget jack, she (and her team) stated that the first single would be the "lightest" (not sure what the actual term they used was) of her material. i got the intention that her goal was to get noticed first, then put out her meaningful stuff.
as far as the state of our industry goes, i think they did a nice job in their closing statement -- how sara's single hasn't even had any radio play, but velvet revolver is selling out in every city they play.
to me, that speaks volumes.
as far as the quality of frontline shows goes, i don't think it's fair to compare this to something like "the jesus factor" (which i also found amazingly scary), or some of their other more serious shows. i mean, how serious can you get talking about the music industry?
I think the show was a good starting point for totally uninformed folks to start with and not get bombard with too much, too soon. However, 5 minutes about the "big 5" and their relationships with promoters and Cleer Channel & Cirious should of made the final cut, IMO!