31 August 2009

Today is MuchMusic's 25th birthday. It's a pretty big anniversary but not one that the station has chosen to honour in any significant way. I wonder if this is because people would see that the channel actually used to be pretty good.
I remember shortly after joining Facebook, one of the first groups that came to my attention was called "When I was your age, MuchMusic didn't suck." I found it, and still do, entirely apropos after reading this article because of the basic truth of it. Bland DJs, the creativity sucked out of all the actual music programming, and shows that are of minimal interest to a music-seeking audience; it's not a recipe for success in any medium. Remember the 4-hour blocks of music videos? Remember when MuchOnDemand played videos that people requested via phone, mail (some of the work people went into the signs was amazing when you consider the intention), etc., instead of having staged requests for the current industry hot hits? Remember Spotlight, where you'd get a solid half-hour block of a band's hits and bio? Certainly the VJs from the 90s--Bill Welychka, Rick the Temp, even Ed The Sock--had a lot more personality and flair than the current bunch because they were allowed to express themselves. The current crew has to tow a company line in order to avoid hurting the profit margins - can you possibly envision Devin Soltendieck trashing Fall Out Boy or Ashley Simpson and their terrible music?
The times have changed, and not for the better. You know that when it's 2009 and the only references to Metallica you hear on the network involve Napster, there's a real problem. Nine Inch Nails is wrapping up their final tour as a live act, not a mention of it--gets in the way of the latest Katy Perry video. But the biggest problem of all for Much is that they've become a product of their environment: the music industry is becoming increasingly irrelevant, and as a consequence so is Much. There was a time that they'd be setting trends in Canada, serving as a place that young kids could watch and get informed as to what's current and hot. Now, it simply serves up whatever their corporate masters tell them to for public consumption and equally quick disposal.

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