Radio station Y100 (WPLY, Philadelphia) brings a popular band into Philadelphia's Sonic Studios along with 30-40 lucky listeners. The band performs a short set, usually using acoustic instruments. The singles from these mini concerts are then put on CDs and sold for everyone. The recordings (and the show I assume) are usually quite good, unless the band sucks and only sounds good after being cleaned up by some engineers.

Formerly, Sonic Sessions were held (but not commercialized) by the city's real alternative station, 103.9 WDRE. When 'DRE died along with alternative music in the mid-1990s, most of the DJs and staff fled to their competitor Y-100, and brought such features as Sonic Sessions with them. Despite the slight makeover, Y-100 doesn't have a quarter of the street cred or hometown feel of 'DRE, and neither do it's mass-consumer sonic sessions. This is a corporate station that played Hootie and the Blowfish a couple years ago, trying to reinvent itself as cool by playing whiny white-boy music and pop-punk.

94.1 WYSP further stole the idea of private sessions, and I'm sure similar radio promos now occur across the country. Like radio stations' summer and Christmas concerts, these sell-out events are a good way to see which bands are the biggest tools of their record companies.

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