Thursday, January 19, 2012

James Taylor "Lo And Behold"

Despite my claim that there are no new old songs, sometimes we do go looking for them.

How do you keep the station's library from stagnating? Well, the easiest thing to do is remove songs. If something is burned out, or if it has aged poorly, pull it out of rotation.

That's the simple solution, but it does alter the recipe. If you reduce the number of, say, songs from the 70s that mvyradio plays, you reduce the percentage of songs from the 70s that mvyradio plays.

And like a recipe, if you suddenly reduce the percentage of, say, carrots that you put into the soup, it ultimately alters the flavor.

So we will dip into an artist's catalog and see if there is anything we can bring into the library.

I recruited Barbara to help me look at James Taylor's 70s output, to see if we could improve the quality of JT tracks. Though he is one of the primary artists some people associate with the station, we actually only play a 1/2 dozen songs by Taylor at this point. Over the years, we've weeded out tracks. Time to, uh, weed in . . .

One of the simple things to do, was to look back at songs we used to play, to see if we could put anything back into rotation. We found a couple, though we also found some that were still burned, or still sounded too dated for mvyradio today.

The other thing to do (and this is why I needed Barbara), was too try to think about what tracks would stand out on the air, to anyone who owned the album.

In 1970, you (but not me, since I was only 1 year old) might have bought the "Sweet Baby James" album because of the song "Fire And Rain." But you probably listened to that record a whole lot over the years. So even if an album track wasn't a radio hit, if the album was popular, then the songs is going to be familiar to lots of folks/fans.

That's why you'll now hear "Lo And Behold" on mvyradio, added to rotation this week.

As we were doing this, it got me thinking about the future.

In 20 years time, will we be able to do this exercise for albums released in 2012?

Fewer and fewer people are listening to albums, as we move to a digital, "singles" musical culture. Some of the people who like Mumford And Sons, will only download "The Cave" and "Little Lion Man" without ever digging into the album to discover "Timshel."

Will a future radio station Music Director be able to pick up "Sigh No More" and ask the question, "What non-singles will people remember from this record?" and actually come up with something new to play? Probably not.

Lo And Behold by James Taylor on Grooveshark

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