Repost; This was written last year and it’s the time of the season again to donate some money again.
I’m a sucker of technology. I admit it. My RSS reader is full with feeds of tech blogs, new gadgets, DIY tips for musicians in the digital world etc etc etc. I find it thrilling that the entire world is just behind my computer screen and that there are almost no borders – we are the world. Totally.
Every now and then you read about a new ‘music discovery’ website/widget/app/whatever. These services allows musicians like myself to upload their music to countless numbers of website who get free content, and provide a chance to get discovered. These are good services, but you can’t really spend an hour listening to these services without pressing the skip button couple of times, as usually the artificial intelligence that is produced by these algorithms, can totally miss it. We’re talking about music here, not tech, not math and not statistics.
That ‘s why I prefer listening to the radio. I’ll revise – that’s why I prefer listening to free form radio stations. Free form – where each show has it’s own personality, based on the host.
My favorite station in the world, is Jersey based WFMU. I discovered WFMU about four years ago, and have been listening to the station ever since, whenever I get the chance. When I’m working at home or on my iPhone/iPad with the WFMU app. I love so many shows there, from Irene‘s show, to Bryce, to Liz Berg‘s, Stan’s, Scott‘s ,Woody‘s, Brian‘s , Three Chord Monty, Underwater Theme Park, Jason‘s and Give The Drummer Some – pretty much 99% of the shows (sorry if I didn’t mention someone – it’s a long list – still love you all).
WFMU has a very interesting concept. It’s a free form radio, that excellence in their hosts fine taste in music, who are constant searchers of obscure music, stuff you probably won’t hear anywhere else.
Being a music fanatic like myself who always look for the next exotic/rare music – this station is perfect for me. It provides me of good ideas for my own radio show – Sonar, and for this very blog.
I’m drooling every time I watch this
WFMU is also a curator in the Free Music Archive, one of the most exciting websites that hosts thousands of files, free music, provided by artists, musicians and radio stations who upload live sessions from their studio (also participating in FMA are KEXP, Philadelphia’s The Issue Room and others. So the community wins big time. Fans can download music for free and legit, artists get exposed, WFMU hosts have an ever expanding library of music – everybody wins.
WFMU hosts also write the fantastic blog Beware Of The Blog, that sometimes write information about upcoming station events – but usually it’s full with more rare music that the staff writes about.
But above all – all the WFMU staff are volunteers. i.e. no money. They put a lot of work and thought to their shows, songs selection and online interactions with their listeners- without getting paid.
This morning (Feb 20th), WFMU starts their annual two weeks marathon, where the listeners can donate money to the station, to keep it up and running. In return, aside for the ‘staying alive’ concept that will go on for another year until the next marathon – there are all sorts of treats and rewards for the donors , from t-shirts, to be a Fly-On-The-Wall during the annual Yo La Tengo studio session, where they play listeners requests, and lots of other merch.
Aside from donate money, you can also volunteer to cook in the studio! This is very nice. The radio gives you musical nutrition, and you feed them back with lettuce and tuna sandwiches and rice with almonds.
Labels should donate money to the station. They are the people who’ll play your music, based on its quality alone. No commercial considerations, so even if you’re a CD-R label that releases sounds of penguins that play drums on turtles backs – your release might get airplay.
Musicians, you should donate as well. Why? I’ll tell you.
First, see the above paragraph, these are the guys who’ll play your music. Second, by helping to keep this station alive, you give yourself the opportunity to be 24/7 inspired by new music, which is the most crucial part of your creation – the part where you keep yourself open to new influences.
Listeners, I don’t think it is necessary to explain why you should donate. You are getting all that hard work for free. It’s time to give back.
Lucky for me, I’m a label, musician and a listener and an active participant in the live discussions - and I believe that if you can appreciate the importance of culture and music – tune in, pledge in, and help keep WFMU alive for many years to come.
WFMU is an institute. It is vital. It is more then a radio station – it keeps a flame burning, and we should all jump in and help keeping this community going on.
Coz you know, if we won’t pledge this, then our children will listen to elevators music for the rest of their lives, and will be next.