Sunday, April 6, 2008

Not only is British TV more original, but so is British music

Have you noticed that British music is generally more innovative and combines more styles than American music? Just as the BBC helps innovate TV, it helps innovate music. BBC radio plays a huge variety of styles on one channel. Anyone who has listened to the legendary late DJ John Peel knows that you can go from listening to trance to tabla drums to rock. Most BBC radio is like this, and this leads to performers getting a much larger musical background than their American counterparts.

Think about American radio for a second: How many (non-college) stations can you name that, within the same hour, would play hip hop, classic rock and jazz? American radio stations are constructed such that each style of music gets further entrenched in its own style. Country fans listen to nothing but country, hip hop fans have their own station, pop has its own too. There is no cross-over. I heard something on NPR about this about a year ago and it stuck with me. The guy said that in America "white music gets whiter and black music gets blacker." While that is a generalization, it's pretty close to the truth. I can't think of many any hit American artists that blend styles. Sure, there are some, but I said hit artists.

Say what you will about the following artists (I'm sure my supporting crew could think of some better ones), but they mixed wildly different styles and came up with something more original than most American music has been able to offer. Radiohead, Amy Winehouse, The Streets, Joss Stone, M.I.A. and The Libertines have all mixed different styles will success.
If I was stuck with only one music source, I would definitely listen to the BBC. At least I wouldn't lock myself into one style.

I mean, right now on the home-page of 6 Music there are pictures of Radiohead, Dizzee Rascal, and Bob Dylan.

(For a full flavor of all the BBC channels go to

1 comment:

E-Brake said...

Your second paragraph pretty much explains why I listen to my ipod in the car and almost never listen to the radio.