When FM radio emerged in the late 1960s as a format for “progressive” rock music, it was a new, open-ended land of opportunity. The music enthusiasts who were excited enough to want to broadcast their favorite new tunes using the not-yet-popular platform were about to blow open an entire generations’s doors of perception. Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and so many others were creating ever-more challenging and experimental music that was presented to, and consumed by the Baby Boomer generation as pop culture. Those same tunes are still played over and over again on FM today as a broken-record homage to that historic moment.
As the FM format grew and became more commercial during the ‘70s, the experimentation began to wane, and pop music became more homogenized. It wasn’t until the early ‘80s when a new format called music video was ushered in by MTV, that the flood gates of popular music were opened again. The Talking Heads, Run D.M.C. The Beastie Boys, The Cure, Guns & Roses, NIN, Nirvana; MTV was breaking new music in the ‘80s, and influencing FM’s “alternative” format. Then, just like had happened to FM, in the early ‘90s MTV became more commercial and more homogenized, and popular music again began to stagnate.
It was with the emergence of the one of the most disruptive technology platforms to date — the internet—that pop music was once again blown wide open and the musical gate-keepers of the past were toppled. Now there are thousands, if not millions of taste-makers curating micro-scenes of pop music across the world, as artists become famous on platforms like YouTube, Spotify, Facebook, and Instagram.
HTTP // GOLD is a DJ mix of internet-age music that, in my head, is as popular as Pink Floyd or Madonna, only now popularity is less clear since the gate-keepers have so radically shifted and diversified.
The unifying factor here is beauty. These are serotonin-inducing tracks for contemporary adults that could easily have made their home on an FM Gold compilation in a parallel space/time.