I signed up for XM satellite radio back in 2004. Feeling malnourished by FM, I wanted to expand my musical horizons a bit. So far it's worked out nicely. With around 100 stations devoted to music, XM (or Sirius XM as of the big merger) digs a lot deeper into each genre than your average Clear Channel station could ever dream of digging.
So tonight I wandered into Zia Records to look for a folky pop artist named Peter Mulvey. I'd heard him once or twice on XM, and then listened to more of his stuff on Internet radio station last.fm. That was enough to make me decide he was worth spending actual money on.
No go. Peter Mulvey wasn't in the stacks. I asked about it and discovered they don't carry this artist. Guy behind the counter hadn't even heard of him.
Turns out that as my musical horizons have expanded, my cultural knowledge has shrunk. Until I failed to find Mr. Mulvey in the Ms, it didn't even occur to me that he might not be in inventory. I have no idea what's getting conventional radio play these days.
Too bad. Half the fun of discovering indie artists is feeling all superior for knowing about them before anybody else.