Hear Ye, Hear Ye!

I was aimlessly browsing the net when I again stumbled upon NPR.org, a site we forgot to include in a previous post. It was featuring The Race For Space — the latest album from Public Service Broadcasting (yup, that’s the artist name). Such name made us think about broadcasting nowadays, so we’re discussing it in this post. You can share your own opinions in the comments section below.

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Is Radio Dead, Or Are We Still Killing It?

A good number of pundits have long proclaimed radio to be dead. Their arguments usually revolve around consumers’ behavior, but it seems that the radio industry itself is biting its own tail.

According to an article at Antenna, the FM dial in the US is under unprecedented proportions of spectrum grabbing. To the uninitiated, the broadcast spectrum is limited, so the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) limits the signals or stations that any entity can own in an area or market. The ownership cap was meant to prevent monopoly and to promote localism.

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However, a loophole in how FM translators are regulated is threatening such goals. FM translators were initially meant to rebroadcast for local, non-commercial stations in areas with difficult terrain. But in 1990, they were “freed” from local stations, and were allowed to be commercially developed. And since they are not counted against the ownership cap, big organizations built networks of such, thereby consuming the broadcast spectrum to its last bits.

Somehow, we still discover new music (specially from local acts) through a few radio stations. But if this trend of greed continues, then it just might really be the end for radio.

Broadcast Your Garage Concert

We loved the live streamed concert of Incubus a few years ago. For a band as big as Incubus, it was easy to pull off because of the ways and means at their disposal. But for cash strapped local acts or budding musicians, even producing a crappy recording could be challenging.

And so, we were happy to discover the Gigcaster — a device that makes it easy for live music to be broadcasted online. But it isn’t available yet — it’s currently listed at Kickstarter, waiting to be funded by ordinary people like you. We urge everyone to support it, because who knows, it might be the best way for your  dub music to be heard.

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The Best 2015 Grammy Award Winners

The 2015 Grammy Awards is finally done with! It’s been an almost 4 hour long spectacle, but it was worth it. Below, we celebrate the victories of our bets.

St. Vincent is Best Alternative Music Album

We first heard of Annie Clark as St. Vincent through atypical sources. That time, she had just released her critically acclaimed debut album, Marry Me. Since then, we never wanted to divorce her.

Now, she have finally won a Grammy for her fourth critically acclaimed album, St. Vincent. Which isn’t surprising, since she’s been at the top of almost every publication’s best album lists for 2014. Annie is ahead of her time — she sounds surprisingly natural despite of polysemous lyrics and unpredictable arrangements.

For the win, Annie edged out Alt-J, Cage the Elephant, Arcade Fire and Jack White.

Jack White Wins Best Rock Performance

Jack may have lost to Annie, but he didn’t went home empty handed. He won the Best Rock Performance award for Lazaretto, a single from the album of the same name.

Jack also won the award for the Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package. It was for his role as an art director in The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records, Volume One (1917 to 1927). This brings Jack’s Grammy collection to a total of 11. (His first Grammys were during his White Stripes days, for the single Seven Nation Army and the album Elephant.)

For the performance award, Jack bested The Black Keys, Ryan Adams, Arctic Monkeys and Beck.

Album of the Year for Beck’s Morning Phase

Beck is back, and he is definitely not a loser.

But though Morning Phase was well received by critics and listeners alike, it’s obviously the most surprising upset at the awards. He won over quite a stack of artists, which included Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, Pharrell Williams and…the Queen B herself! So, it was up to Kanye again to hop on stage while someone is accepting an award. This time though, he just flashed a smirk and went down immediately.

Morning Phase also won as the Best Rock Album and the Best Engineered Album (Non-Classical).

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How to Discover New Music

There is this article at Forbes, written by a guy named George Howard. He says that for streaming services, recommending new music is a waste of time. He goes on to say that we intrinsically don’t want to discover new tunes or artists.

hear no evil

Now, we don’t know who he is including by saying “we,” but we’re certainly not part of it. And neither are most (if not all) of our acquaintances — from the barely interested listeners to the most hardcore of fans. We don’t know about Mr. Howard, but in the world BSM lives in, nobody seems to like getting stuck on repeat.

So for anyone tired of hearing the same tunes for the nth time, below are ways to discover new music. Choose your path, then share your discoveries below.

 

Music Sites

Admittedly, we know this is kind of biased, since we ourselves are classified as such. And so, we will instead dare to refer you to our best “competitors.” Below are some of the best music sites that inspired us to start BSM.

  • Pitchfork
  • Consequence of Sound
  • Stereogum

In particular, another great music resource is Random Life Music. It has musical instrument guides and reviews, in addition to features of musicians and their songs. That’s a huge plus for people who play music as much as they listen to it. The features are as sporadic and unpredictable as you can get, so you’ll surely stumble upon unexpected discoveries there.

Streaming Services

No, recommending new music isn’t only not a waste of time for streaming services. It’s actually also a time saver for those on the prowl for sonic goodness. We can’t count the many times that such recommendations have made us say “how come we never heard of this before?”

Among streaming services, Spotify is obviously the most popular, specially because of the recent ruckus with Taylor Swift. The free version has ads that may spoil the experience, but they are sprinkled sparsely enough for our liking. And come to think of it, the interruptions are worth it because of the recommendation system. Spotify has a really healthy batting average in terms of pushing good local acts.

Pandora Radio is another favorite source of ours. You choose a handful of your favorite artists, and then it plays a selection of music based on that. Hence, Pandora is perfect if you have already developed a taste, and you want more of what you already like.

Show Up!!!

It’s tempting to go to anything at the very last minute, including concerts. More so if the artist you paid the ticket for isn’t going to perform until the wee hours. But if you keep arriving late at shows, you’ll miss the opening act, which may be a new artist (like the one below).

Besides showing up early, show up for smaller shows too. Do so with friends so that it’s also a bonding experience. And speaking of friends, they are probably sharing music on social media, which you are likely following. Sometimes, new music is right in front of you.

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