• ENP

Mainstream Music vs. Non-Mainstream Music .... By Brandon Morningstar


There are several online radio stations throughout the world, as many of you know. Many of these stations mix up format, genre, and multiple artists both in mainstream and non-mainstream communities. According to research, some of these stations are now pushing non-mainstream more than mainstream. Why? Well, from an outsider’s point of view, I believe they feel like the big players in the industry have made substantial profits, and much success. Some of these acts appeared to have lost their sense of self; tending to forget where they come from, or scratching and clawing their way to the “promised land” or big contract(s). This is not to say they’ve completely lost their way, but success can and have shown that ego(s) tend to get in the way sometimes.


Mainstream artists get “rewarded” in some instances for their hard work. Yes, it takes time to write lyrics, as well as sheet music. However, we have to ask ourselves if the lyrics truly express something substantial, or have a deeper meaning.


A producer or outside collaborator add their two cents and you have a song that’s been dissected, dismantled, or obliterated; which in turn, hurts the final product and consequently you’ll hear a sound that’s overly commercialized, over produced, and overplayed across several stations worldwide.


Non-mainstream artists work just as hard, if not harder, than some of these mainstream artists. We find that they work 9-5 jobs, take time for practice, and book their own shows; whether it’s local, or a mini tour. Bands who write their own material work extremely hard, to sell their product, cover travel expenses, and let’s not forget the ultimate expense…Studio time.

These artists don’t get enough recognition in their local scene, no matter how hard they try to get in locally. Therefore, the radio stations are looking to shift the traditional way we listen to the radio. They are determined to do whatever they can, to help independent non-mainstream artists.


Mutual agreements, friendships, and business partnerships are typically put in place. Artists who submits their music to online radio stations understand that if management agrees to play their music, they are not in it for financial gain, but to help these hungry artists gain more exposure and fans; outside their local market. By doing this allows artists to get the airplay they deserve that they may not be able to get or afford from their local FM stations or SiriusXM.

Throughout my study, I have come to realize that these hungry artists are extremely grateful for any opportunities they are given. Let’s hope in the near future they will have their chance to shine, and don’t lose way of their sense of self.



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