Consider this conundrum, the more catchy or relatable a song, no matter the quality of its composition, often predicts its possibility of becoming overplayed.
It is too common that songs are played beyond their expiration date. For instance, tune to any radio station and there is a strong possibility that a popular song from 2014 is still clinging for life.
The reason for this is that radio stations are not in the “music business,” they are in the “radio business.” According to Alan Henry of LifeHaker, “the big problem though is that it’s a self-fulfilling cycle — only popular songs get to play, so they’re the ones that get popular, and then the relationship between big labels and big stations continues to devour itself like a Billboard Top 40.”
This idea is based upon the psychological belief that we are channel surfing to hear a song we are familiar with. If a station is not playing the song we want to hear, we will ultimately change the channel. There is not an evil disc-jockey with a grimacing smile, a pointy handlebar mustache and a white Persian cat which they seemingly always stroke methodically who’s purpose is to replay the songs that died in 2014. The disc-jockey’s purpose is to make the station money, not play the newest music.
Overplayed songs ruin the artistic nature of the song. For instance, a song like Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” is considered a timeless classic, but due to it being overplayed it has lost its artistic value.
For many “Mo Bamba” was a cultural equalizer, but due to its overplayed nature lost its grip and eventually died off.
Stephan Thompson of NPR states that “These songs’ chart success can feel never-ending, but the pop charts are — and ever shall be — a cruel business that spits out every song eventually.”
At this point, I would venture to say that overplayed songs will be the death of the radio business. The modern person does not have the attention span to surf channels and probably has Apple Music.
NBC’s Rosa Golijan states that “iTunes killed the music shop in the last decade.”
The purpose of Apple Music is to allow its users to have the realm of music easily at their fingertips. By doing this though, Apple has created a simple outlet for those who are frustrated with listening to the same 37 songs on repeat.