Unsigned musicians have to jump even more hurdles to be heard now that Indie 103.1 was pushed off the air Jan. 15 and replaced with Spanish music station El Gato 103.1.
Although the station has now launched on the Web, 103.1’s music director, Mark Sovel, stated in an interview with The Daily Swarm that none of the primary DJs or music programmers at the station are involved with the Web site.’ The once-independent music format has also conformed to a mainstream programming that, without DJs personality, mimic nothing more than an Ipod shuffle of corporate interest. The removal of independent music from radio leaves the local music scene struggling, but not destroyed.’ Unsigned artists have found new avenues to get their music heard via Internet. Much criticism from Sovel was directed towards the way radio traffic is measured.’ Similar problems have affected other stations, including The Octopus 95.5. The station operates in Ventura and had a block of independent music known as The Rock Revolution, hosted every Saturday night by DJ Berry Funkhouser. ‘There are fundamental flaws that exist when measuring radio traffic, and those that have an eclectic format are usually the first to go,’ said Perry Van Houten, program director and morning-show host for The Octopus. ‘Our station measures traffic by a diary methodology that requires families to take record of what radio stations they listen to.’ The problem is that by putting the responsibility on the listener, this also leaves room for inaccurate coverage,’ said Van Houten. The outcome resulted in the station’s decision that the local music segment was ill-suited for the Classic Rock format. In addition to the birth of Youtube.com, other websites such as Luxurywafers.com have been streaming online footage of unsigned acts that record their performances at Chessvolt Studios.’ Chessvolt has been serving the Los Angeles indie-music scene well before Indie 103.1’s removal. They have been operating since 2006 and currently have more than 60 live sessions streaming online. ‘There is so much talent that exists within our community, and we are here to give that talent exposure,’ said Chessvolt Studios manager Landry Malick.’ With online social networks growing exponentially, artists have been able to generate a specific audience through these networks.’ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘Stations like Indie 103.1 were good, but their music was filtered through major labels,’ said Jim Hanft, a local musician who has his music streaming on Luxury Wafer. ‘The only radio stations that really cater to independent music are college radio.’ The exposures I get from Luxury Wafers offer the advantage of directing a specific audience through other social networks like Myspace and Facebook.’ Very few people in Indie music want to be told what to listen to.’ Chessvolt has also taken on many signed projects including Wayne Kramer (MC5), Kenny Loggins, Broken Social Scene and many more.’ Other studios are picking up this trend to stream in-studio performances online, including Web sites such as Flashrock.com FlashRock’s site offers viewers their own music channels categorized by genre.’ The site has a surplus of independent alternative rock and heavy metals acts, but has no rap. However, they are starting to build a variety of folk, ska, reggae, and electronica genres.’ While the music industry struggles to profit from hard copy sales, and radio stations continue catering to mainstream audiences, the Internet gives hope to independent musicians who pride themselves on being self-sufficient.’ The conventional outlining music success through radio hits are challenged by an evolving cyber world that provides freedom for musicians both independent and signed.’ ‘ ‘