How Mainstream Radio Destroyed Music

Originally, I was supposed to write the first ever article.  It’s only fitting, right?  My name is all over this site.  But some in the group didn’t agree.  So after several grueling rounds of rock-paper-scissors, yours truly, emerged victorious.  I felt that the first ever MarsBands article should, in someway, give our readers a feel for what this site stands for, what we wish to accomplish, and who we want to reach.

It didn’t take me long to figure out what I was going to write about.  So go grab a beverage, maybe a little snack, and make sure you have MarsBands Radio playing in the background.  Additionally, if you happen to have a small bladder, maybe take a pee-break. has a personal vendetta against mainstream radio.  In fact, everyone at MarsBands has a bone to pick with mainstream radio, as that’s kind of what got us our job here.  I can remember the good ol’ days.  Back when I would turn on the radio and love it.  Seemed like every song I heard was a good song.  Every band was good.  My friends and I would talk about the great new song we had heard.  But somewhere along the line, the radio turned on me.  The radio, it seemed, was no longer willing to be my friend.  No more would the radio provide me with new bands and new music.  Instead, the radio would give me the same old songs that they were being told to play, over, and over, and over.

And at first it wasn’t that bad.  They would play a lot of good songs still and you could count on hearing your favorite song about 4 times a day.  But even the best songs can get overplayed.  And that’s precisely what happened.  I soon found myself disliking my once favorite songs because I wasn’t getting variety.  It was like Groundhog Day for music.  The same thing each and every day.  And then, slowly over time, the radio became my mortal enemy.

I’m not sure who started it, exactly.  Perhaps it was Michael Jackson, maybe Madonna, hell, it could have been Milli Vanilli.  All I know is, Pop bands began to infiltrate even my once treasured Alternative Rock radio station, 105-7 The Point.  Now don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and a place for Pop music; ideally a wedding reception or some big party.  I’m not a hater on Pop music, as there are many Pop bands and songs that I am quite fond of.  But these Pop bands were like Herpes.  One day a new Pop sensation would show up, run its course, and go away.  Then another Pop band would take its place and fade away.  And another. (And no, I don’t have Herpes, but I do enjoy a nice Valtrex commerical)

Eventually it got to the point where a bunch of ladies would sit around and say, “hey, we’re some pretty good looking ladies.  Let’s start a band!”.  And they would all high-five each other and tell each other what a great idea that was.  They would go out and buy a bunch of musical equipment; amps, guitars, bass, drums, etc.  Then they’d all find the instrument they liked the best, got everything set up and realized they had overlooked something very critical.  They have ZERO talent.  They couldn’t play those instruments.  So they all sat down, bummed out, and thought really, really hard.  And then it happened.  The single worst idea to ever creep into any mind of any person who was in any way associated with music.  Dancing, in lieu of playing an instrument.

That was the answer for the group of good looking ladies who couldn’t play any musical instruments.  They would let somebody else with actual talent make their music.  All they really needed to do was look good and dance around.  With that revelation, girl “bands” like TLC, Destiny’s Child, the Spice Girls, and Salt-N-Pepa started getting regurgitated from corporate record labels who knew, full well, that they were destroying music.  They didn’t care.  They had dollar signs in their eyes.  And each time a girl band would begin to lose it’s appeal, they would replace them with more singing and dancing puppets.

Not to be outdone by the ladies, the men joined in on the fun.  Suddenly we had the Backstreet Boys, 98 degrees, and ‘N Sync.  It was like a virus of stupidity.  It was the plan of mainstream radio all along.  Get us to the breaking point by playing our favorite songs over and over until we hated them.  Then, right when we were about to snap, hit us with Girl and Boy bands.  They could have given us a singing and dancing turd and we would have loved it (arguably, that’s kind of what they gave us).  The millions of brainwashed minds lapped up the girl and boy bands at every chance.  But then people started to get tired of even that.

The big record labels went back to the drawing board and decided that less was more… was less.  Instead of giving people four or five dancing puppets they would only give people one really good looking, younger puppet, who, throughout the course of their career, would wear less and less clothing during “performances” and, eventually, their life would spiral out of control and become a living “reality-tv show” that everyone would find entertaining.

Enter, Britney Spears.

Oh, how everybody loved Britney.  But even the shiny new Spears wasn’t able to hold the spotlight very long before she became old news.  And apparently Britney doesn’t take rejection well, as well all saw.  No fear, there were others to take her place, like Christina Aguilera and Jessica Simpson.  And it appeared that with each new puppet, brains became a luxury big record companies weren’t willing to splurge on (i.e. Jessica Simpson and buffalo wings).  But not even they were good enough to stay popular.  The major record companies experimented with a few things after that, like Evanescense, Avril, and Paramore.  Hell, even Gwen Stefani, who I once loved because of her Punk/Ska/Rock appeal, fell victim to the times.

Fast forward a little bit and we haven’t gotten any better, as now there’s Rhianna, Katy Perry, Kesha et al.  But nothing could have prepared me for what happened next.  Take all those terrible things from every terrible girl and boy band, every fake solo girl, and wrap them into one talentless, stripper-wannabe and you have Lady Gaga.

Lady Gaga sums up everything I’ve just talked about.  The only way she can get people to recognize her existence is to do something insanely stupid (i.e. meat wardrobe) or wear absolutely as little clothing as the censors will allow.  It’s no longer about the music, (if it ever was) it’s about what crazy thing she will do next.  It’s like a car accident caught on tape that everyone wants to see.  I mean, just think how popular two girls and a cup was.  That was absolutely disgusting, but everybody saw it and actually wanted to see it.  Lady Gaga took that model and shrunk it down to just one girl… or one cup, depending on how you want to think about her.


So that’s where we are.  That is the sad state of affairs in today’s mainstream radio world.  Any band or artist that wants to “make it big” and be successful in today’s mainstream music era need only follow two rules:

  1. Be pretty
  2. Wear as little clothing as possible

Allison Crowe being awesome

And unfortunately bands and artists who have actual talent, who don’t need Auto-Tune, who write and play instruments in their own songs, who are so much better than any of the crap we’ve had pushed on us over the last 20 or so years, will never be as popular as a Britney Spears or Lady Gaga.  Despite the fact that they make wonderful music, artists like Allison Crowe, Hannah Georgas, Jeremy Fisher, Sarah Blasko and bands like Metric, The Subways, and Blood Red Shoes will never have the popularity their Pop counterparts have and have had.  Not unless someone does something about it.


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