XM program director says that there is a home for indie music on satellite
By Ryan Williams for Indianapolismusic.net
Thanks to its ability to provide dozens of channels of programming and the decision to largely replace commercials with subscription fees, satellite radio has put itself in a position to offer more diverse and adventurous programming. XM Unsigned Channel program director Billy Zero takes that ability and extends national airplay to those who wouldn’t ordinarily have a chance to see it — the unsigned independent artist.
Zero said the channel “appeals to so many different people,” which can be a blessing and a curse. While it means that his channel enjoys a wider listenership than most of XM’s other offerings, it does make the channel hard to program. There is no set genre Zero sticks with, so anything is fair game. Zero adds that the audience “needs to spend some time with the channel to understand what’s going on.”
With the genre restrictions gone, Zero says it’s ultimately the quality of the music that makes the difference as to whether it gets played or not. “The music has to be there first. If it’s good, it’ll find its way on.” He notes that artists like Trevor Hall and Halestorm have received label attention and deals after being featured on the channel, and he feels the channel is being successful if such occurrences happen monthly.
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