Friday, 12 August 2011

DJ, Play that funky music

From the title of this post, you can tell that I seem to have been inspired by the music listening to when it comes to blogging.  Music has always been a good way to express yourself or convey your sentiments but also powerful in that it can transcend age groups, gender and cultures.  

My question then is, why are we so restricted in Dubai in terms of the type of music we get to listen to?

I'm talking specifically about the English language radio stations here in the UAE.  We have one talk radio station, two which play adult contemporary and the rest all seem to focus on Top 40, R&B / hip-hop and pop.  Even two adult contemporary stations seem to play the same sort of the music as the other mainstream stations except they probably stuff that's been off the playlist at the other stations for a couple of months or years.
When did you last hear Metallica on the radio here?
There are so many other types of music that one forgets about when living in the UAE and it's only when you randomly hear a station suddenly playing rock, metal, classical, soul, jazz, reggae, folk, country or just simple chill-out music that you remember there are other things we could be listening to.

I'm not saying that every station should focus on one type of music only but at least if they've got a couple of shows during the week that focus on these different genres, it would make for a pleasant change and even though you may not be a fan of every genre, I'm sure many would learn to appreciate it for what it is.

It's sad but we have some brilliant events that happen in Dubai like the Jazz Festival but honestly they're under-appreciated because most people here have never heard of the artists who perform.  The only way the organizers can make these events a success is by bringing a headline act who barely qualifies as a jazz singer or musician but is in many cases better known as a hip-hop or R&B act just to get the crowds in.
Paul Taylor is currently on top of the Billboard Jazz Song
charts but chances are, no one in the UAE has ever heard
of him.

Radio stations have to realize that ever since the invention of the iPod, iPod transmitters and audio jacks in our cars, people have started listening to the music that they want.  If you can provide them the same choice, they may listen more to you.  I know radio has been booming here in the Emirates from an advertising revenue point of view but there is so much more revenue that could be gained if radio stations did something different.  Internet radio is a trend that is catching up in the United States where you have stations that play all sorts of music, some of it so obscure, you'd probably never come across it even if you tried to search for it, that it could just be a matter of time until we see it emerge here.  Why would it do well?  Only because it would differentiate itself from the usual Katy Perry and Lady Gaga type music we hear here normally.

There was a time when radio in the Emirates had shows that focused on specific genres but that seems to have disappeared.  I do hope the guys who run the radio stations read this and do start changing up their playlists with shows that embrace the diversity of genres that are out there.  I for one would be grateful and I'm sure there would be many more out there who would agree with me.