A New Year’s Revelation

MusicKeyboard It’s been a big year in music. Big named pop stars like Beyonce, Justin Bieber and Arcade Fire have all released new music. Other emerging and rising stars have as well. These were chronicled by larger music publications like Paste and Rolling Stones. As I looked at their list of the best music of 2013, I admit to not being familiar with many of the songs and even not recognizing several artists. This led to a new year’s revelation.

This realization that I’m not in “the know” on a lot of trending music shouldn’t come as big of a surprise as it did. I host and produce a radio program that IS about music. However, the reality is that The Appetizer Radio Show, and its blog, have become something something more. We’re a discovery center of sorts for music that is not on many other outlets. Sometimes that discovery is sounds from people you’ve heard of or are familiar with. Sometimes it’s a brand new artist discovery you haven’t heard before.

Paste and Rolling Stone, MTV and the Grammy‘s, XM Radio and most commercial radio outlets are not intended to provide discovery. They’re intended to provide sameness, and increased cash flow for the masses who want more of the same. It’s a numbers game here, where a small minority of “stars” compete for placement on the dial. The same songs are heard again and again until the masses no longer are groping for them. Then a “new” song is released. If someone manages to get on these frequencies who are not already on a major label and millions are dollars aren’t already being pumped into their marketing endeavors, it’s a rare and uncommon find. This was the magic of The Civil Wars‘ success two years ago.

The revelation for the new year is not that The Appetizer is a source for unknown and undiscovered music. It’s also not that our undiscovered music presentation is what we’re known and celebrated for. And it’s not that being an outlet for the unknown to become known is so needed. These are all obvious observations. The revelation is that I can be more upfront with not knowing a single thing about Drake, or have ever heard any of Bieber’s music. Someone loves that stuff, it probably has some value. But I’m not spending my limited time investing in it or try to become familiar with all the flavors of music.

I built the platform for The Appetizer around exploring the “flavors of music.” For the past decade, I’ve tried to include all of the flavors available. The real revelation is that some flavors don’t need to be explored here. We’ve focused much on the growing offerings from folk, singer-songwriter, rock, and alternative. That’s more than enough to cover each week. That’s what we’ll stick to from here. I still will throw in a new blues or R&B track as I find stuff that’s awesome. But being all things to all music fans is not optimal, and it doesn’t serve the best interests of anyone, least of all our audience.

Thanks for being a part of this growing story. This is the next bend in the road. Great things are coming this year. I look forward to sharing them with you.

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Host of the syndicated radio program The Appetizer heard on public radio across Texas and online from our Listen Now link; enjoys conversations, music, food, art, storytelling, and people. Connect with me. Would love to hear from you.

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