omar for the masses

Tony Reid (
25 Oct 97 21:52:38 -0800


i guess omar/uk soul are *real* popular on this list! my jaw dropped when i
saw the posts about this--btw, if you send a post to the list, *please* don't
also send one to me personally, i read my mail offline and have to sort thru
everything (i.e. i can't delete doubles).

a few things i'll comment on... (sorry for the length)

u.s. protectionism--yeah, it's possible (actually, likely) that this is
happening in the music biz. i am wondering though about how soul II soul &
loose ends managed to break thru--i didn't realize that loose ends was
till a few years ago; "slow down" was a *real big* hit here. as far as
reggae/dancehall breaking thru, there's a lotta jamaicans here...

black americans & music---why is it that most of the people i know that love
afropop (i.e. juju, soukous, hi-life, etc.) are white--why don't more *black*

people know the music? the way i learned about that (and a lot of latin
too) was by playing parties that were 90% white--all the black people i've
ever talked to about this kind of music are musicians. are blacks afraid of
new music? i would say that they tend to prefer gradual change more so than
radical. from my experience, you have to start w/people that actually like &
care about music--most people really don't (they really don't even listen).
once you've got someone who *actually* listens (i.e. pays attention) to
you start off w/something they know, or can relate to and gradually shift it
to the new stuff. you have to do it in a way that they can follow you,

u.s. radio--unquestionalbly the most interesting things on radio are
on listener supported stations. the problem is getting the average radio
listener to abandon (even for a short while) the familiar commercial
*warning* metaphor follows--you have to understand that the reason that
mcdonald's is so sucsessfull is *not* because they have the best product,
because they're consistent--you always know what you're getting. the "on-air
personalities" (call them "djs" at your own peril) at commercial stations are

not required to know anything about the music they play except what's
i have a friend that lives in an l.a. suburb and works at a station in sales
and has his own show. he worked a country station for a while and got the
best "numbers" while he was there--he *hates* country music!
on listener supported stations, the shows are hosted by people that actually
dig the music they play. because they care about the music, you'll hear them

going out on a limb trying to break new music. they aren't playing the hits
to get you hooked on them (unless the hits fit into their format), the
assumption is that you're listening because you already have an interest.
other thing that it seems that you can have an effect by supporting the
programs you like at contribution time--even though they're unlistenable
so how do we get the masses to quit "eating" at mcdonald's?

are there any voting members of naras on the list? maybe we could get roni &
co. to win something over here too...


... i hope we all *bought* omar's new album...