Stop listening to mainstream!

Though independent culture has been on the rise for years, it has taken a step back with the removal of alternative rock radio station Indie 103.1 from the airwaves.

indie 103.1 is now online only

While I sparsely listened to 103.1, I’m sad to see it go. It will be moving online with an attempt to reinvent alternative radio, but it has yet to be seen how that will fare.

The company began to succumb to corporate pressures toward the end of its five years on the air, despite being released from ownership by media conglomerate Clear Channel.

But Indie’s existence in a silicon-injected cesspool represented an underdog attempt at quality while popular music has continued to be run by the next American Idol, Britney Spears or Katy Perry.

Too often we see and hear only what the Big Four – that’s the only four record labels dominating the music industry today – want us to, and too often that is crap.

The kids’ stuff – Miley Cyrus, High School Musical – is cool for the kids. But anything with a pretty face and hot beat philosophy seems to stick to the American culture as a whole.

We unknowingly accept whatever is shoved in our faces, even if the quality level is lackluster at best. Listening to mainstream music is like sloppy seconds: everyone does it but no one likes it – and you still feel guilty afterwards.

For once, you should listen to your parents. Maybe there was something to those Beatles, Jerry Garcia, and Bob Seger LPs of the ’70s. Now, everyone likes something different, but it’s a matter of taste and a matter of class.

We should all be able to push past the Britneys and the T.I.s of the world, because if we don’t, it’s only going to get worse.

I mean, the T.I. and Rhianna single “Live Your Life” samples (rips off) the melody from a song by European group O-Zone that was made famous on YouTube by a fat kid dancing to it in front of his computer screen.

It’s pathetic to hear what is being masqueraded as music these days, and the lack of creativity and originality “artists” strive for. A rapper who calls himself Jibbs stole the tune for his no. 7 Billboard hit “Chain Hang Low” from the childhood song “Do Your Ears Hang Low,” which can also be heard ringing from ice cream trucks.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

There is so much more music worth listening to, whatever your style may be. And it’s up to us – the consumers and the listeners – to decide what succeeds and what fails.

Web sites like Pandora.com and last.fm provide personal music suggestions based on artists you choose to develop custom streaming radio stations.

SimplifyMedia is a free application for Mac, PC, iPhones, and iPods that allows wireless streaming of an iTunes library.

The iTunes Store has a free single for download every week, and National Public Radio offers free downloadable podcasts of complete live concerts.

Somehow, the labels have managed to tap into the subconscious of even those who don’t want to listen, reiterating the same samples and overprocessed pop.

In the end, it’s the same as always: the talentless thrive while the talents starve to survive.

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