Monday, April 29, 2013

4.29.13 Bee-otch of the Day: the record industry and corporate radio

Bee-otch of the Day honors are awarded Monday through Thursday, Bee-otch of the Week is awarded Friday on


Name: the recording industry and corporate radio
Age: over 100
Occupation: the people who control the music industry
Last Seen: all over the world
Bee-otched For: killing rock 'n roll

Last week, the #1 album on Billboard's pop charts was an album called Save Rock And Roll.

Too bad the band who did that album was Fall Out Boy, a pop-punk outfit whose audience is almost made up of wrist-cutters (does the emo crowd still exist anymore?).

The rest of the top 10 albums were made up of rappers (Kid Cudi and Lil Wayne), popsters (Justin Timberlake and Pink), rednecks (Blake Shelton, The Band Perry and Brad Paisley) and a few other alt-rock acts (Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis).

Here's my question: where's the real rock?

You know, bands whose lead singers scream alongside drums, guitar and bass, and maybe a synth? Yeah, THAT.

Well, let's take a look at the rest of the top 20. The only band I see on that section of the chart that has a single on active rock radio is Imagine Dragons, whose dark single "Radioactive" has gained a lot of steam on the charts for the past few weeks. It's also the #1 song on the alternative charts per Mediabase 24/7. But, that song sounds like something U2 or Coldplay could have conjured up. As a matter of fact, while playing "Radioactive" on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno a while back, the lead singer was constantly striking a huge bass drum during the chorus, which isn't totally what you'd think of hard rock.

Shockingly enough, the top selling metal band on the Billboard rock charts is a group from Sweden called Ghost (or Ghost BC here in the states) whose album Infestissunam debuted at #29 last week. Not shabby for a group whose airplay has been quite limited on rock radio.

But, if there's a group who's saving active rock radio right now from a sales standpoint, it's Danish rockers Volbeat. Their latest, Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies is at #31, down from #9 last week. Sadly, it's a steep drop, considering that a lot of records in the top 10 have been there for weeks, like Justin Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience.

I do wonder, why do people love shitty music so much? It's a question I've been pondering for ages. In the late 80's, we were stuck with New Kids on the Block, Debbie Gibson and Tiffany, and when it came to rock, it was hair metal from the likes of Poison and Cinderella. But just a few years later, grunge took over. Nirvana, Soundgarden and Stone Temple Pilots were cool while MC Hammer was reduced to being a fake gangsta rapper on the Death Row label talking about how he loved "Two Humps and a Bump".

But, Kurt Cobain blew his brains out and alternative was either dead or going in different directions. Alt-rock stations either went the pop route playing all things Lilith Fair, No Doubt and ska or they went the metal route with KoRn, Rage Against the Machine and even touches of Metallica, a band that isn't even considered alternative. It was also that time when top 40 stations started to drift away from rock and started to overplay crappy boy bands such as Backstreet Boys, 'NSync and 98 Degrees.

For a while, I was thinking, "this is only a phase". Then came a little something called American Idol.

Tragically, that POS show has produced a ton of crappy pop artists in the 11 years it's been on. Thankfully, their ratings this season have been abysmal, getting creamed in the ratings thanks to repeats of The Big Bang Theory. But sadly, the damage is done. There's a lot of towns with hardly any new rock stations, and guess what's the biggest town without one?

New York City.

Yep, market #1 doesn't have any new rock stations, active or alternative. The last alt-rocker the city had, New Rock 101.9 WRXP flipped to all-sports WFAN when the failed Merlin Media sold it to CBS a few months ago. There is Clear Channel's Q104 - which was alternative in the 90's - but they're a classic rocker. Thanks to a lack of competition, they're at a 4 share in the ratings. Of course, Cumulus - a rock-friendly company - did purchase a radio station from Harold Camping's Family Stations after he bombed on that prediction that the world was going to end in 2011. But, they flipped that turkey to country as Nash-FM. So far, it's only climbed to a 1.8 while WRXP was in the high 2's when it was deceased.

Thankfully, Michigan is lucky to have plenty of new-friendly rockers such as WGRD here in Grand Rapids, WRIF in Detroit, Banana 101.5 in Flint and Z93 in Saginaw. My homeland of northern Michigan, however, isn't so lucky despite having five rock stations. Four of them - WKLT, The Bear, 99.3 The Wolf and the recently-launched Q100 out of Grayling - play their fair share of classics (although Q100 deserves a lot of credit for also playing a lot of deeper tracks and even some indie stuff). However, another newly-launched station, Rock 105 doesn't play a lot of moldy classics, but lacks on new rock. Just this past week, they finally added Papa Roach's "Where Did All the Angels Gone?" and Alice in Chain's "Hollow", two songs that other stations have been playing for MONTHS. Yet, they play Everclear every two seconds.

I know, I know. No two markets are the same. A small town might have the kick-assingist rock station in the world, but the bigger city might not and vice versa. But what worries me is that it makes me wonder if rock fans are truly loyal to their favorite bands. Don't get me wrong, I haven't purchased an album in ages myself. Hell, I wanted to go to Record Store Day at Vertigo last weekend, but not with 1) a lack of money and 2) flooding all throughout Grand Rapids. I think downloading also has played its role and so has a lack of interest in buying albums from new rock bands.

I think both radio stations and the recording industry need to do a better job of promoting rock music, period. I think there's a lot of people like myself who want to puke my guts out every time a kid goes into a record store and buys a Chris Brown album over buying the latest from Volbeat. I was hoping to be out of the douchebag pop phase that's been popular since the late 90's by now.

But sadly, as long as it makes money, it ain't gonna happen.

Got a Bee-otch to nominate? E-mail us @ All suggestions (except for me) are welcome!
Bee-otch of the Day Archives can be seen on!
Bee-otch of the Day is a production of, Grand Rapids' site for Stern, politics and more!

No comments:

Post a Comment