Monday, January 17, 2005

XM Kids

We got XM radio for Christmas this year. I finally got the antenna installed in the car and turned on the service. We've been listening to XM Kids everywhere we drive for the past week or two.

If you don't know what XM radio is, it's that satalite radio thing. It's cool because unlike FM stations, there are no commercials, and you never lose the signal no matter where you are.

We're jazzed about it for many reasons, but XM Kids is definitely one of the big ones. Being here in the middle of Oklahoma, where there is no children's radio to be heard at all, and having a slow dial-up Internet connection, I have not heard very much actual radio for kids!!! Which is ironic considering that I publish the children's radio list online.

So I'm enjoying this.

There's a lot of really great stuff out there. XM Kids plays a lot of independently produced music meant for kids, with occassional kid appropriate mainstream stuff thrown in (you know, like "Yellow Submarine" or "Particle Man") and some big media stuff like the Spongebob soundtrack. There is sometimes too much talking for my taste - just give me the music!!! And like on any radio station there are some songs that get played to death and drive me nuts. But overall, I've been enjoying hearing some of the great songs other kids' artists are putting out there. I feel plugged in! It's cool!

I have long felt that kids' music ought to be made with the potential in mind that it might "cross over" into the mainstream hit parade. Why not? Kids deserve the greatest of everything. Catchy tunes, skillful lyrics, great arrangements - these things are always in style. It's only in recent times that "children's music" became a separate genre. Why shouldn't children's music compete well in the general music market?

Well, the general trend seems to be toward this level of quality. There has always been great children's music out there of course. Now there seems to be a lot of it. Can it be that it's only a matter of time before some kids' singer breaks into the top 40 pop or rock charts? Established mainstream artists seem to love to do kids songs now and then, with mixed results. I believe it takes someone who performs in front of kids regularly to consistantly make great children's music. So I'd just love to see the tables turned the other way around and have a real kids' artist break in on mainstream territory!

Or maybe with music diversifying as it is, and moving more toward niche markets and independent releases, there will be room for lots of big stars (think Wiggles) within children's music itself.

Exciting times!

But still, out of all the many many categories of music on XM Radio, guess which one has the fewest stations? You got it - kids music! There's XM Kids and Disney. The Disney station seems to be playing top 40 music aimed at "tweens." I don't consider it kids' music really.

So I guess that leaves a lot of room to grow...

If you have XM radio, I hope you're listing to XM Kids and calling in to make requests and show your support. We need more such national outlets for children's music, but they'll have to prove their popularity before the industry takes notice.

Oh, yeah, and you might be wondering if you can hear me on XM. Well, I know that two years ago my song "Roundy Round" was added to the play list. It's probably been dropped since then! They might also have my song "I Go Bananas" on file through the Children's Music Web Awards. But since I've been listening, I haven't heard me at all. You can always call in and make a request!

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