A tool for more adventurous student radio, without alienating mainstream listeners. sign now

For the actual proposition, skip to the last section.

- - - WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT - - -

My name is Linden Watts, I’m a second year undergraduate at one of England's top 15 universities, of medium size. I'm talking about a seriously disregarded problem in student radio that is contributing to the loss of interest in it. I need to give you some context first to persuade you, so please be patient! :)

I host both the student radio's most popular specialist music show and one of their most popular mainstream music shows. I am an enormous music fan, spending hours researching for my shows, and contributing a lot to the music team.

Unlike most music fanatics, my tastes are omnivorous, and relatively mainstream. For instance, I play Rihanna, Adele and Labrynth as often as I play Radiohead, the Kills and Bon Iver.

The (relative for the station) success of my show, which the music is so central to, means that I've managed to push listener’s buttons correctly. Im not a super-popular guy, my listenership isn’t built on heaps of friends.

However as soon as ‘lesser-known’ music is mentioned in music meetings, objections pop up across the board such as: 'Oh I love it, but it's not what’s in right now...', 'yeah this is cool, but I don’t know if people out there will like it because they don’t know the artist'. This proves that the music has the potential to be enjoyed on first play by our listeners. Unfortunately, we as a team are fearful of poking our heads above the parapet and playing music that has not featured in the charts. Furthermore, its unlikely to have any influence on a national level.

Those students that love music and want to hear more of it, the kind that would tune into student music radio regularly and devotedly, find out how to illegally download, and never represent themselves in the singles charts. This is why Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver went from non-charting debuts to number two in the album chart without any singles represented by mainstream radio.

Students are unarguably the most adventurous music listeners in the world. I often hear unknown material blaring out of people’s headphones on the bus far more often than anything I instantly recognise from the chart.

The fact is, for many people, music is as much a matter of social cohesion as it is of aesthetics - the fact that we like it collectively is of more importance than the effort or talent evident in the song.

So what is the point of one student radio station playing a lesser known song if it doesn’t end up being heard by other university students, played on radio one, and landing in the charts?

We need a system that can help unite university music teams behind music outside of major american labels, create national buzz and get tracks onto radio one, leading tastes once again.

Maybe then student radio can support artists like Janelle Monae or Elbow, who were initially ignored until glastonbury performances (see the youtube vid) and mercury music prizes boosted their sales. Similarly, Foster the People needed a Greg James bum dance more than a year after it was first released to sweep the nation - student radio could have been ON this.

- - - THE IMPORTANT BIT - - -

The system I'm thinking of is some kind of online page, branded by SRA for trust reasons, where motivated student radio music team members can post lesser known though accessible playlist possibilities (Youtube links and such).

There is no point posting up guaranteed hits, we'd be crazy not to play them anyway.

Other members can then vote like/dislike. By the end of each week all universities across the country will see some kind of consensus, and they have the option to play these tunes, reassuring less brave/bothered music team leaders/members that these tracks will be played to the student population across the country, and will likely be enjoyed. This could be as useful and reliable a tool for music teams as the singles chart (which, granted, should still be paid attention to)

When we have consensus across the country, we create a student chart that drives radio one and the singles chart. If you are in support of this tool, and i can't imagine why you wouldnt be, unless you love 'only' whats in the charts now and fear one or two other songs getting in.

Thanks,
Linden Watts

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Information

LindenBy:
Entertainment and MediaIn:
Petition target:
The Student Radio Association

Petition community:
All members of student media that particularly care about music.

Tags

alternative, consensus, music, online, petition, radio, student

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