Overplayed Songs on the Radio

We all know how radio stations have been sterilized and homogenized by large conglomerates such as Clear Channel. It’s almost pointless to even bother turning it on, unless it’s a last hold-out local station or NPR. I think part of the blandness of radio is also the simple, aggravating annoyance of having to always hear the same old perennial favorites played over and over and over and over and over again every single day. Whatever value of freshness and wonder that these songs may have once possessed has been completely ruined by overplay. How many times can you listen to U2’s One or Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing (wait, I guess I could listen to that one again) or EMF’s Unbelievable or Eagles’ Hotel California , etc, before it just sounds like, well, like the same song that it was the last time that you heard it. . . like yesterday, for example. I think that there should be a quota for songs, world-wide. A song can only be played so many times before it must be shelved until a certain amount of tasteful time has elapsed, like a few weeks to a month. After all, there’s plenty of good music out there to play, other than Nirvana or Queen or Nickelback or Jessica Simpson or whatever crap they’re looping as we speak on a station near you.

Here’s a suggestion for how to attain this goal: have a centralized database of songs (operated by the UN or something) that must be accessed by commercial radio stations and advertisers, which logs how many times a song has been accessed and begins to impose a tax after a certain number of plays, with the tax increasing incrementally until no one will have any reason to play it anymore, whereupon it will begin to incrementally decrease until it is free again. Or impose some kind of cap and trade system on songs like they do with carbon emissions. Something. Anything. Anything to end these endless loopings of the same old songs. Anything to force commercial radio stations to start rotating something new and interesting instead.

Alas, I know, it’s a pipe dream. But wouldn’t the world be a much better place?

Author: manderson

I live in NYC.

5 thoughts on “Overplayed Songs on the Radio”

  1. I’ve long dreamed of a song-i-cide, the impossibility of destroying all copies of a single over-played song. For instance, “Respect”, it’s ubiquitous & on so many computers, the notion of deleting it is kind of exciting & super-villianish.

    That being said, you should explore more internet radio. Pandora is popular, & I’ve been enjoying http://www.counterstreamradio.org – which is American classical, experimental & jazz.

    There’s a new shisha poem on me blog.
    Ever coming North again?

  2. I enjoyed your shisha hymnal. Alas, I am unable to make it north before I leave for la Costa Oeste, as I’ve been lacking in income for 5 months now and the coffers still need to get me and all my stuff over there, and then some.
    Pandora is great—I don’t really use it very much, and I actually never listen to the ‘normal’ radio, this diatribe arose out of the frustration of only overhearing it when someone else turns it on or when I am subjected to it in cafes and such. Even just that dab of commercial radio in my day is enough to make me go crazy.

  3. A simpler, more logical way of achieving the same result (and fixing a bunch of other intellectual feudalism issues) – the copyright only lasts while the product is in print.

    As long as it is in demand AND the demand is being supplied by the copyright holder, it is protected by copyright. When the owner gives up on it as no longer profitable, it becomes public domain, thereby removing one major force for pushing old content on people who want new content.

  4. Just found this…. gee, only 3 years later!! Totally agree though; I’m having fantasies of turning a herd of rampaging ferrets loose at the radio station offices whose repeatrepeatrepeatrepeat play list is imposed on me all day long at work. It’s the most evil during December… I spend the whole month angry because I have to hear Wayne Newton singing Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree at least 5 times a day. Isn’t that how they forced Noriega out of hiding? These are war tactics. I do like the idea of tapping into a database though–as soon as any song has reached x plays in a region, IT MUST DIE. For at least 2 years. Then it can be played maybe once a week on the oldies stations or something. If an station wants to get longer use out of any given song, all they have to do is…. NOT PLAY IT INTO THE GROUND. Easy.

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