Posted by: admin

Creating a culture of music exploration

It's fair to say that 1st world countries have had a head start. With so many people having easy access to computers and fast internet, it made it easy for people living in 1st world countries to literally surf the web. With the rise of websites like Myspace, suddenly independent & unsigned artists had a platform to showcase their music, even sell it, often times without having had a single shred of radio airplay. It became so easy for people to explore the web & find new, undiscovered music. It wasn't the popularity contest of "we all need to listen to this music that everybody's listening to because if we don't, we won't be cool" but instead "I'm unique because I've discovered something wonderful, new & fresh that you've never heard before".

My question would then be, did this culture only start with the advent of the fast internet? In my opinion, no. Spending time in countries around the world I've always been amazed at the amount of options, musically available to the public. & beyond the consumption of this music, its the exposure of it. Every genre you can imagine & much more you've never heard before are available on a multitude of radio stations & tv channels. There quite literally is something for everyone. On a performance level, you're bound to find a jazz band playing while around the corner, an indie rock band is jamming & a few roads down from there, a hip-hop club where not so far from there you can dance the night away at a house club. Even these sort of clubs would cater to a specific sub-genres.

Bringing it back to South Africa, it's my observation that we don't have much variety as far as music is concerned on our radio stations. I'm going to focus on radio in particular because it still remains such a powerful medium in our country. I believe there's an assumption that this is what white people listen to, this is what black people listen to, this is what Indian people listen to & so on & so fourth. The problem is, not all white people listen to pop music & not every black person listens to house music. It does, though, feel like a lot of people place all their trust in these stations with the notion of, this is it. This is what's out there, both locally & abroad. My fear is, are we not losing our uniqueness as a people by all listening to the same music & to a larger degree by not thinking for ourselves? Maybe you're reading this, thinking maybe you'd love to listen to something you don't hear on the radio.

True, In South Africa we still aren't in a situation where every citizen has easy access to computers & even adequately fast the internet but we do have phones & pretty much every phone out there is now a smart phone & thanks to our cellphone service providers, these "mini computers" we hold in ourhands every day can access the internet, sometimes at lightning speed, anywhere in the world. This means that any of us can access any music, in the world at the click of a finger. I can guarantee you will find a station that fits YOU. I can also guarantee that once you realise how much amazing music is out there, radio (fill in your name) will be the best station you've ever heard.

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