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Sunday, April 26, 2009



I'm still waiting for Springsteen to get geriatric enough to come to St. John's.

Bob Hallett

This phenomena is a huge topic backstage, as it were, in the industry. It represents a couple of issues/problems.

10 years ago, there were several ways for a young band to acquire audience, and become a major touring band in their own right. They could open for slightly bigger acts, get a hit on radio that draws fans, or make a video that received airplay on a video station.

Currently, neither of these avenues either exists or is capable of breaking new acts.

The sort of older act touring at a large scale these days, i.e. Dylan and Cohen, either do not take opening acts, or if they do, their older audience is uninterested in new music anyway.

Radio across North America has largely abandoned new music, or has been narrowly focused on one segment of the market. Stations like OZ FM in Newfoundland that play a little bit of everything are extinct elsewhere. KRock's classic rock format or the Coasts bland pop are way more popular archetypes right now. The result is new music has few avenues. Major Canadian cities like Toronto, Calgary and Montreal do not have any real contemporary hit radio stations at all. If they do have any top-40 radio, they focus on hip-hop and r&b, genres which huge segments of the listening audience ignore. Listen to American Top 40 some day; most of the songs are unfamilar to listeners of local radio. it is not just that one is too old - rather, there is no one playing those sorts of songs here. The CBC does not rotate songs in anywhere near the kind of saturation needed to establish a broad public interest.

Also, the music video stations have almost completely stopped playing videos. MuchMusic and MuchMore music are lifestyle stations these days. They do not play more than a handful of videos a day, and if they do, they are restricted to a handful of top hits. Breaking new acts is a thing of the past.

10 years ago the music business was a pyramid. Now it's and inverted triangle. There are established acts who have a big enough audience to allow them to tour continually and successfully. Underneath them there is nothing, as the industry as failed to create a way for new acts to develop. All the talk of the internet aside, it is very hard right now for a band or artists to create the sort of broad critical mass approval required to sell out hockey arenas.

Note events like the ECMAs and the Junos: the reason so many older acts are featured in these events is that the industry has not been able to develop new acts that can appeal to a wide audience.

Ross Craig

Neil Young was doing small markets a favor by coming to these areas. Neil Young doesn't need to tour, especially small markets.

I went to the Kingston, Ontario show and it was a fantastic show.

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