A NEW CHANNEL, LIVE EARTH, THE FIRST RAP STAR AND RETAIL HELL
A NEW CHANNEL, LIVE EARTH, THE FIRST RAP STAR AND RETAIL HELL
We’re launching a new channel—XMX. It’ll be a central point for all of our exclusive music programming. Desperately needed! There is so much cool stuff from Dylan and Petty shows to Artist Confidential, and an arsenal more…It gets lost. With this channel, it’s practically on demand. We had some debates about the channel name ranging from the very lame “XM Spotlight” to the bizarre “The XM Sausage Works”. (I kinda like that). In any case, it’s XMX and that works well. I have a constant battle with names of things. There's an aversion in saome quarters to cool names. It's a fight worth fighhting. In any case, this will be a much needed resovoir of high quality programming you just cant get anywhere else...our secret weapon.
Then there was LIVE EARTH. I think we can give "LIVE (put cause here) Concerts" a rest. They are quickly becoming a parody of themselves...Despite that; XM’s Live Earth Coverage was amazing. All politics and "cause" aside (it IS kinda silly to see "green" artists talking the talk, but living about as green as US Steel), our guys did a first rate job covering every city and broadcasting every note. Our "superbowl" style coverage is what turned it into a musical event worth checking out and getting into. We even did an EARTHSOUNDS channel. Sort of the sound of Earth before Man screwed it up. Environmental sounds…audio valium. Pretty cool. An environmental channel to discover the natural sonic beauty of the Earth. From the serene sounds of dawn to temperamental thunderstorms, Earthsounds is a seamless cinematic soundscape that captures the majesty of sound that is the soundtrack of the planet. Actually a channel we almost launched back in '01.
As far as environmental or other political causes--I think these events are great fun but don't reach the people who they need to reach. They are cool events if you are there and on the air--but I beleve overly righteous fawning from "caring stars" has more of a global eye roll effect than a changing one. Does anyone really think Madonna can help? These people can cheapen causes rather than enrich them in the eyes of those who need to be convinced. Raise awareness? Yes of course—and commendable, but I think we'd have a better world if the artists would make better records and let causes be fostered by those who have a clue about these sorts of things and have impact upon the real power players in the world environment. OR--DO AS WILLIE NELSON DOES--Invests HIS money in a Bio Diesel company--and promotes THAT. Maybe these Hollywood characters and pop stars should invest in the economics of change instead of a 4 song set and shouting a few slogans before hopping into their jet. I'd guess that 90% of those in attendance or listening on Satellite or Internet are already keenly aware and commited to the cause. My whining aside--there was some good music and a wonderful Spinal Tap reunion (anyone who hasn't seen it--and I'm amazed at that number), but I don't think rock concerts that are designed to change the world here in 2007, have any prayer of doing so. Time for a new approach....or borrowing from Willie's book and doing something beyond a gig. With that said--I think the thought was there...
Interesting to see the ratings---TV was pathetic…but it broke all streaming records, and XM listener ship was high.
Cindy Sheehan running for office against Pelosi? Might as well throw in a Dixie Chick and make it REAL exciting.
Somebody sent me a link to a photo of me, an old Atlantic Records guy named Phil Rauls and Robert Walker, a cohort at the old WMYQ in Miami. From back in 1971. I guess I really did have a Black afro back then. http://philliprauls.com/photo4.html I used to put on a suit when I pitched stations---I had ‘em completely confused.
Bought a new Laptop and it was hell. STORE ONE: Horrible! Waited 30 minutes with no help. Then asked a guy and he said “I’ll be with you soon”…and disappeared not to return. Then saw two employees hanging out and asked them if they could help. They said no….but they’d find someone. Then they just continued chatting with each other. Finally I said to a guy “Look—I want to BUY a laptop”—he said he’d try to find someone to help…no one ever showed and I left. STORE TWO: Better…though the store was pretty empty. They had XM 70’s blaring on the store PA and outside. Was immediately helped, though the guy barely spoke English. I decided on a unit…went to check, and there’s no stock. Bought another one, but the store computer was down. Finally after about 40 minutes the trainee type who was checking me out figured how to do it. I left it with them to transfer files. When I called them using both Information and the Yellow Pages to find the number, both gave me the fax number. Then I looked at the sales receipt which oddly enough had the right number. Spent 20 minutes navigating the "push 2 for" and NEVER got a soul. In fact when I pushed 1 for the computer deptartment I got a no-one is available message that went BACK to the original message. Reason I called is that when I finally got my laptop back, the store had put their password on it and I was locked out. Had to drive back to the store since I couldnt reach them by phone. When they finally undid the password, about 1/10th of the files were actually transferred, but I decided to eat the $99 they charged me for the transfer because therre was no way I'll ever step into that store again. Both stores were incredibly inept, though I got the sense they were “trying” at store two, but the ineptude was laughable. Scary. Future purchases will be on line!
Got into a debate about the first rap artist. I guess it probably goes back to poets, but it forced me to bring out and re-discover my Gil Scott Heron vinyl. Man—this guy was WAY ahead of his time. The Revolution Will not Be televised is as chilling today as it was in ’70. Worth checking him out. Definitely angry and probably didn’t care for white people, but the man delivers some strong stuff. No "Red Carpet" or mindless after parties for this guy. Check "Small Talk at 125th and Lenox" album...or just Google the guy. Real.
FROM THE “ARE YOU KIDDING” DEPARTMENT: Study says radio airplay actually drives down record sales.University of Texas at Dallas Professor Stan Liebowitz says radio airplay can hurt music sales by as much as 20%. He finds the more time listeners spend tuned into the dial - the less likely they are to buy pre-recorded music. Liebowitz's study comes at a time when record labels have started pushing to nix radios' royalties' exemptions. So should labels pay radio to stop playing a record?
Well, historically there has been no more powerful vehicle to exposing music than radio. Even now, as wretchedly limited as most FM stations are, nothing will power a big seller better than radio. We certainly see the power of radio at XM, as SO many people feed back that were turned onto music by hearing it on XM. But there are different levels of being turned onto music where it translates into sales. Listeners with a more sophisticated ear can hear an artist one—become mesmerized, and purchase it. More mainstream listeners NEED the repeated play to finally go into the purchase mode. EVERY artist is different but the fact remains that IF something gets exposed on radio (a big IF)...it influences sales. Then you factor in cult/fringe. It’s complicated, but suffice to say that the best way to influence buying music is to hear it first (there are exceptions with “cult” bands where you are SO into an artist airplay is irrelevant—no one sat back and waited to hear the new Phish a few years back—they were in line the second it came out. Then there’s the whole sharing and word of mouth factor. As FM radio becomes less reactive to new music, this becomes ore of a factor—aided by technology facilitating this—BUT, once again, hearing something over the air in your speakers or buds off broadcast, satellite or Internet radio, has a powerful promotional effect. This Dallas Professor is completely full of shit---I read the report. I “love” all of these paid reports coming out that manipulate data for those who pay for it.
And WCBS-FM is back to oldies. Well, duh. Blowing up a timeless franchise for the latest new focus group format didn’t make too much sense. More “trying to be modern” when the old way worked just fine. In listening (hard to tell during its first week) they sounded like...a typical "oldies station". Pretty average. Nothing inspired. It'll probably do "OK" which seems to be what most oldies stations on FM strive to be. Same predictable "Respect" and 'Good Vibrations" every day...standard production etc...The thing that bothers me about that is that in New York--the Media Mecca of the Universe, and with the resources of CBS, you’d think it would be mind blowing. The kind of station you fly 1000 miles to tape. But, like most terrestrials, they are SO conditioned to average as being acceptable, that they'll never get there. They’re probably listening and patting themselves on the back about how great it's sounding, and sending around congratulations memos...
Central Talent Booking handles a lot of our Talent bookings---especially with our “Morning Shows”—Good bunch. They have a blog worth checking: