Friday, August 16, 2013

Interlude: Radio Nowhere

It all, and mall, makes me wonder.  I feel it myself, this urge, to put every thing in its place, in a row like ducks, assigning ordinal numbers.  Putting things in order, order being a market position, putting things in order being a marketing strategy-- this better than that;  this even better; and this being best, or close to, until a new product, a new advert emerges.

First, second, third... we get caught up in it.  Who doesn't have a list of the "top ten greatest rock and roll tunes" playing pretty much 24 hours a day in his or her head?  Whoever you are, I feel sorry for you if you don't.  Maybe you feel sorry for me because I do.

But I do.  Listen, when Indeep released "Last Night a DJ Saved my Life" (1981 Sound of New York Records), it may have been the worst song with the greatest tag line ever. See?  There I go again.   Number 1.  Number zero.  And with a bullet.  Nevertheless, look me straight in the eye and tell me you never felt that way?  That all that was standing between you and the bottomless pit of despair brought on by hormones, high school, pimples, parents, siblings, relatives of all sorts, drill sergeants, jobs, lack of jobs, girlfriends, boyfriends, lack of either/both, lack of money-- pick one or more--wasn't something on the radio, something beamed out that did the screaming, or the whispering, or the jumping (up, or out the window) for you.  And since you could count on it being played once more in an hour, and the filler songs weren't too terrible, you decided to give it, and yourself, another hour and a half.

Maybe you did that everyday for years.  I know I did.  Maybe you still do that.  I know I do.  Now of course, I'm my own DJ, with my own list.

That's where the marketing hits home.  You, or I have a need.  Capital puts it in a package.  I get my hands on some money, by any one of a number of ways which, in the end, all come down to ...some sort of labor, either my own or somebody else's.  I exchange the money for my need in a package.   That, basically, is the "surface loop" of capital's circulation, that's M-C-M'.  The magnitudes of M, and C, and M' are determined in the production process, through accumulation as a whole, through the iterations of these exchanges. 

Capital needs to expand?  The VP of Sales wants more money?  Time to poke deeper into needs, time to reproduce, materialize those needs faster, and in bigger quantity.  And when that doesn't do the trick? Time to fragment the market for needs.  Create niche markets.  Every individual a DJ.  Every phone a radio station.

So my list goes like this, and I'll leave the numbers out-- except for the song I consider to be the single greatest ever, forever, never to be duplicated again in the history and future of rock and roll:

"River Deep, Mountain High" --Tina Turner

After that....well after that I suppose some would say or could say, "who cares?"  I do.

So there's:  "You're Gonna Miss Me"-- 13th Floor Elevators;  "Since I Lost My Baby"-- Temptations;  "I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You"--Aretha;  "I Can't Explain"--The Who; "Willie and the Hand Jive"--Johnny Otis; "One Nation Under A Groove"--Funkadelics; "Heard It Through The Grapevine"-- Marvin Gaye; "Say You"-- Monitors;  "Tallahassee Lassie"-- Freddie 'Boom Boom' Cannon;  "Are You Lonely For Me Baby"--Freddie Scott;  "Jumpin' Jack Flash"-- Rolling Stones (pains me to admit it-- that I like the music of the group I hate, but hell, that's rock and roll);  "We Got the Beat"--Go-Gos; "God Save the Queen"--Sex Pistols; "Just Like Romeo and Juliet"--Reflections. 

What?  That's more than ten?  Who's counting?


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