“The term ‘indie’ was once used to describe an artist’s distribution method,” says Damato. “Nowadays, it’s a genre in and of itself...and that’s not necessarily a good thing. Artists and fans have learned to accept it, but only because most non-independent R&B music being released today no longer represents who they are, what they’re doing or what they want to hear.”
Damato hopes to break new ground using an old concept: radio programming assembled by human beings rather than algorithms. “Most of our target audience has very fond memories of what radio once was,” he says. “Good music introduced by a guy who had taste similar to his listeners, and picked by a guy who was selecting songs based on melodies and musicianship rather than how similar it sounds to the last huge record that someone paid him to oversaturate the airwaves with.”
When asked what new ground this old concept is meant to break, Damato replies, “Since ‘indie’ has now become a genre rather than a distribution method, radio programmers are treating it like one.” He continues, “Like all other genres, it’s separated, segregated and disallowed to share airtime with anything not of its own. The basic concept behind Fullasoul Radio is to play songs not based on what label releases them, which other stations do or don’t play them, the ethnicity or age of the artist, or even the year of its release.”
Damato and a small group of his peers spent the last few years sorting through 35 years’ worth of funk, soul and R&B music, assembling playlists that focused more on things like musicality and longevity rather than charts and genres. He explains, “As we knew from the start, many of the tunes that were once considered ‘album cuts’ are very much on par with what we might call a ‘hit’ today. It’s not just the well-known hits that resonate with true R&B fans. We bought the whole album back in the day, remember?”
“Those programmers who don’t see anything beyond the biggest hits of yesteryear as viable for airplay are the same ones who don’t see fit to give today’s ‘indie’ artists their shine,” he continues. “On both counts, I respectfully disagree with them. Do they really believe that a true R&B fan will tune out on a good song because it’s too new, too old or too unheard?”
“There are a lot of R&B music fans that don’t realize these ‘indie’ artists exist, or that some of them are releasing really solid tunes with the kind of hooks and harmonies they grew up on,” Damato says. “They’re not shunning the new music in favor of the classics...they’
That listener input is meant to be a key ingredient for Fullasoul Radio. At launch, the station’s web presence ( http://www.fullasoul.com/
When asked what his ultimate goal with Fullasoul Radio is, Damato exclaims, “Ten more Fullasoul Radios! Seriously, there’s a lot to be done. We’ve let the corporate mainstream trivialize and cheapen this music for a long, long time. If Fullasoul Radio becomes a big success, it wouldn’t be enough to undo all of that. But if what we do here inspires others to go out and do something for the cause as well, we’ll be on our way.”
“This is a group effort. The artists, the websites, the bloggers...we’
Fullasoul Radio can be accessed from the fullasoul.com website at http://www.fullasoul.com as well as all of the major internet radio directories.
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Fullasoul Music is a music production, distribution and promotion company specializing in soul, funk and R&B music.