Monday, March 26, 2007

TINY TUNES: Forget the Drum Solo - Radio SASS pares songs down to the bone

I thought this was a joke when I first read it, but no it is true. I don't know if any stations have adpoted this yet, but I suspect it is just a matter of time. This sounds like a really BAD idea......................

From Wired Magazine (March):

Why climb the "Stairway to Heaven" when you can take the elevator? That's the logic behind Radio SASS (Short Attention Span System), an experimental radio protocol currently in development that takes classic tunes and whittles them down to about two minutes.

"People's patience for music - even the stuff they like - is thin," says founder George Gimarc, a veteran programmer and former DJ from Dallas. "Twelve songs per hour won't cut it." Gimarc and his team of editors-musicians use what he calls "intuitive editing" to trim pop songs to their catchiest crux, pruning seconds from a guitar solo here, lopping off a chorus there.

Musicians are crying foul. "It's heinous," says Andrew Whiteman, lead guitarist of Broken Social Scene, a Canadian group known for songs that run more than ten minutes. "Music is not meant to be hook after hook." But Gimarc says most listeners don't miss the snipped bits. You decide: Check out the SASS versions of popular songs at

- Eric Steuer

And more from the Radio SASS website.................

Radio SASS starts out with the memorable beginning, followed by the best verses, best chorus and then wraps it up just as you remember. SASS offers a system of music edited by musicians, making the edits invisible. Just hear for yourself how satisfying this new sound is. Most listeners don't even notice that the songs are short, only that the station 'really moves.'

The one thing that is different is the pace of the station. Cycling through 30+ songs and hour, and 720 tunes a day, SASS does require a much larger station library. This allows broadcasters to develop hybrid formats, or deep libraries that they otherwise would never be able to exploit.

The SASS protocol offers up a distinct competitive advantage: NOBODY can play more music, period. It is also a format that the listener can't replicate on their iPod, or by punching from station to station to create a personal mix.

If it has come to this with radio, then what is next? Edited movies from 2 hours down to 20 minutes? I think we all need a heavy dose of Ritalin.

I would be interested to hear from anyone that hears of a radio station that has adopted this format.

As always, comments are welcome.


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