The Technological Challenge with Ajay Chandriani
By Trevor Dye When you’re submerged in the world of technology, it all seems to come second nature, but what if it didn’t? There’s a constant debate about the rapid technological advancements in our society and how fast we can adapt. Recently, we asked Ajay Chandriani of Mixed Bag Sound System to share his views on the state of the change.
What was your reason behind starting Mixed Bag Sound System?
I needed an outlet for my stressful job that involved recruiting people for one of the top three search engines. I don’t sing, paint (except for some weird computer art), or play any instruments (I put those away decades ago) so the options for an outlet were limited. Playing music everyday (CD or radio in the car) alleviated my stress to a certain degree, but not enough to soothe the nerves. To make matters worse, regular radio was boring, repetitive, limited to stars and their hits, and didn’t have enough new music to introduce to the masses. It felt like a waste of time and a total rip-off for the listener who was/is looking for something fresh to put in the ears. How many times can you listen to ‘Stairway to Heaven’ – come on, a band like Led Zeppelin has more in it’s catalog than that one track, or a couple of its other hits. You get the idea. That’s how it is with all other bands that are popular. Injustice to the listener (and artist) is what I call it considering the amount of good unheard music there is in the marketplace. Unheard also applies to the vast catalog of songs by popular bands that never get played. I was terribly fed-up with the broadcast state of affairs and turned OFF the darn radio in disgust. Imagine turning on the radio to one of your favorite preset stations and knowing what the next song was going to be on the playlist, or knowing the artists that got repeated everyday, every hour, every minute. What a bloody wash!!!
How did it get started?
I met up with a friend from my dot com past one day and he reminded me about my dream of being a DJ, my vast music collection that I could introduce to the masses, and a little broadcast site from our early days that was now one of the big boys of Internet radio – http://www.live365.com. I remember, the day this site launched I was absolutely elated with the concept of the everyday little guy having control over his own little radio station and playlist. I was thrilled beyond words, but had to shelve this in the dark corners of my mind due to time constraints in the real world of getting a dot com newcomer up and running. Anyway, fast forward about six years, I’m stressing, meeting a buddy for lunch, he reminds me of this shelved dream, I go home and check out the site, fork over the subscription, and launch as Mixed Bag Sound System in March 2006. Don’t make a dime from this venture (wish I could), but I’m happy as a clam getting music out to listeners in over 40 countries and counting. Thanks to Ariel Publicity for contacting me and introducing me to tons of new bands and sounds (no, I’m not getting paid for this plug), and my listeners the world over thank you. I am so darn happy playing music I own and like, and I know my listeners love what they’re hearing. You will hear Led Zeppelin on my station, but it won’t be ‘Stairway……….’ I rest my case.
Do you consider yourself tech savvy overall?
Yes, completely and totally. I asked my son the other day if he knew how to play a record, and he was clueless. What more can I say. I come from the era of the record player. My house even had one of those wind-up Gramophones that played 78rpm’s, although that belonged to my granddad. I have seen all the technologies (records, eight track, cassettes, Walkman, CD, etc.) evolve through my lifetime and I have bought and used every one of them including the current favorite, the iPod. Our generation has been very fortunate to experience the birth and growth of various technologies through the past few decades, and we have grown alongside them. Tech savvy, you bet!!!!
What do you think it takes to be tech savvy in today’s world and what are some of the key components of that skill set (like what are the most important things to know to get by I guess)?
Tech savvy really applies to the older generation, and I stated my case in the previous question. We had to grow with each new technological advancement or be left behind. The current generation, or those starting with the ones born in the 1980’s had the tech savvy gene inborn (Walkman, CD’s, video games, mp3’s, etc.) and didn’t have as much to develop or didn’t have to take a major leap forward. It’s all similar and connected now. All thumbs is what I say – texting, gaming device controllers, etc. It all comes instinctively now, no training required. PacMan was amazing when it came out. It was a whole new ball game and experience getting your thumbs into action. I don’t like texting, and would rather pick up the phone and call you, but my dad who’s almost 80 loves texting, as does my 15 year old. Go figure. The only thing you need to be tech savvy nowadays is to have money to buy every new technology that hits the shelves, and the gumption and patience to work the gizmo. How many 80 year olds have you seen with iPods and iPhones and computers. Plenty…….
Do you think certain generations will be left behind, or is there potential for everyone to adapt to technological changes?
Every technology nowadays is plug and play and easy as pie to use. Cable, mobiles, Internet, you name it, is getting easier everyday. You no longer have to be a programmer to be able to use computers, or a rocket scientist to understand or use other technology. Companies profit and consumers benefit when everything is easy to use and made for the masses. Mass consumption is the name of the game, and the only way you’ll get left behind is because of you and your reluctance to adapt to changes.
What’s in store for the future of Mixed Bag?
This is my baby, my dream, and it’ll be around as long as the listeners are tuning in. I try not to bore my listeners with retreads and based on the stats, so far, so good. A big question mark in keeping this dream alive is the Internet Radio Equality Act that has been seesawing in Congress. The record companies want to raise royalties for hobbyists (such as myself) on Internet radio while giving regular radio all the breaks. If royalties go up, I won’t be able to afford my subscription and I’ll shut down the station. I’ll regret losing my hobby, but darn if I’m going to pay these guys another dime more than I’m shelling out now. The artists, exposure to their music, listeners, and sales will suffer, but to heck with these greedy glut companies. They are already suffering a slowdown in sales, and this is just the beginning of the big wallop the consumers are heaving back at them. Enough is enough!!! I have a closet full of vinyl and cassettes, thousands of CD’s at an average $17 a pop (something that costs $2 to produce) and I say no more. Buzz off. I am a hobbyist doing this for fun, promoting new and older music, not making a dime, not sharing in the sense where listeners can download the tracks, so why rip me off when I’m promoting your product (that I bought) on my hard earned dollar. I buy the music, it’s my time, I pay to be on the bandwidth, promote your product without you compensating me, so where’s the justice in making sure I go silent. A time is coming when more bands like Radiohead will sell their album on an honor system minus the middleman…….coming soon to a website near you!!!! Here’s hoping these corporate suits back off and let us hobbyists do what we do best…….introducing music to the masses on our dollar. If they don’t want the free plug, you know what they can do with it…….
Check out more from Ajay at http://www.live365.com/stations/djeclectic