Radio stations have often been criticized for playing it too safe where new music is concerned. Quite often, this criticism has been justified. When radio music is listened to critically, it's quickly apparent that examples of new music tend to closely follow the patterns of what's currently popular. Local music is seldom, if ever, featured in preference for national and international celebrities.
Terrestrial radio stations have been subject to stiff competition from streaming music stations lately. This is really not surprising. The streaming stations offer a great deal of new music. Where the stations are closely in contact with their local communities, UK music talent has a much better chance of gaining an international audience, something with which terrestrial radio cannot compete.
Where new music radio stations are concerned, those programs that actually feature local music generally only occupy a short amount of time during the broadcast dayor weekand are not as heavily advertised as those programs which feature the most popular recording artists.
For musicians operating in a local scene, the potential for getting any help from radio is fairly sparse. Radio has become more and more dominated by fewer and fewer broadcasters and radio music has become more homogenized over the years. UK music talent, which once could rely on programs that featured the latest bands from throughout the isles, now have to compete with international acts who come with all the slick production and marketing that multi-national record labels can afford. Because of the expense of broadcasting, many of the best new music radio stations are to be found on the Internet. Of course, this sort of broadcasting carries with it an increased risk of piracy but the tradeoff might be worth it for some bands.
New music always suffers for having to develop an audience before it is taken seriously by record companies. The companies aren't being evil or scurrilous, they're simply trying to sell a product and only have a certain amount of capital to invest. Like any investor, they'd prefer that capital were put toward a venture that will generate revenue for them. New music is always a risk, in that regard. A band may become the next Beatles or the next nobody and there is really no way of knowing.
Radio music has essentially been transformed into a means to advertise music that is already selling well. Those artists that dominate the airwaves generally suffer no lack of publicity and are certainly not restricted to notoriety in only a local music scene. This makes it more difficult for local bands to break into the mainstream, especially if they're playing a particularly innovative form of music that hasn't yet garnered a large following.
Radio stations, a s the world moves more toward digital formats, are likely to become less important to the world of music than they have been in the past. As they're converted to be essentially advertising mediums, whether the advertisements be purchased by sponsors or are in the form of songs by major label's current big sellers, their service to new music and to UK music talent is not likely to increase, barring major shifts in the market.
UK music talent would do well to look for other means of gaining popularity and, if they desire to break into those new music radio venues, they would do well to already have a following before they try. Radio is a medium that tends to increase sales once there are sales to increase, but not one which is particularly good for starting from zero.
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