Monday, July 25, 2005

Payola probe reveals what we all suspect

I'm sure by now many of you have read news reports about major labels allegedly buying airplay for artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Good Charlotte, Franz Ferdinand, Jessica Simpson. This news has come about because of an investigation by the New York state attorney general's and a report written by Fox News columnist Roger Friedman that was published at today.

If these charges are true, it should come as no surprise. After all, how do you explain commercial radio's inability to break great music outside of that pushed, promoted and pawned off by the big labels. In my Orange Pop column - which celebrates its 10th anniversary in the Orange County Register on Aug. 1, 2005 - I have written about dozen of great acts that simply can't get any airplay. Even when releasing a well-produced, professional compact disc - they hit one roadblock after the other.

Let me list the names of a number of artists you should all check out. Forget about the hype of the industry. Seek out music that connects with you. Don't listen to Franz Ferdinand or the White Stripes just because the hitmakers tell you to. Listen to national acts that don't get the acclaim they deserve; Aimee Mann (folk rock), DADA (rock), Walter Trout (blues), Lee Rocker (roots-rockabilly), Ocean Colour Scene (Brit rock), Glen Phillips (formerly with Toad the Wet Sprocket). And there are some great Orange County, CA artists worth listening to:

Roots and Americana: Michael Ubaldini. His Web site is at

Pop-rock/melodic rock: John Hoskinson, Joe Ongie, Walter Clevenger, John Carrillo; all have urls with their name and dot-com. And check out 9 Ball at

Singer-songwriters also worth noting: Jannel Rap (, Bright Blue Gorilla (, Joy Flying (, and the list really keeps going. Just read my OC Reg column on Friday and stay up with how great the local scene is!

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