There is a nasty postive feedback loop built into the music industry today, and it's been there for decades.

The fact is, to really find music you like takes effort. You have to listen to music, not just hear it, to know whether you really love it, and the most rewarding music takes several hearings before you realise just how great it is.

Very few of us put this effort in: I know I don't, often. Most of us rely on magazine reviews, personal recommendations, and the broadcast media for our exposure to new music.

... and here's the feedback loop. The masses only get exposed to what commercial radio plays; if they hear something they like on commercial radio, they might buy it. You are likely to be exposed to certain songs over and over again, if you listen to commercial radio: by which time it may well be drilled into your head. But commercial radio only plays what is already popular, or stuff which they are certain will become popular (because a record company rep is pushing it).

An artist wishing to reach as many consumers as possible, needs to get into this loop, and at the moment this requires a record company: an artist who wants to distribute their music as MP3 will have trouble getting radio play, because they don't have the record company to help them. This is an issue.

College Radio, or some of the more left field BBC radio programs are outside this loop, although they may well be parts of alternative loops all of their own.

Putting yourself (as a consumer)outside this loop is hard work. Most people don't bother. Ever so occasionally, a recording, or a style of music will cross over from outside the loop to the inside: this has happened recently with hip hop, for example.

Of course, being inside the loop doesn't necessarily imply bad music: beware cultural snobbery.

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