Where are the Gatekeepers?
Joni Mitchell called it the “Starmaker Machinery,” the maddeningly complex world of music critics and publishers and agents who used to decide which artists would make the top 20 and which would remain obscure. Oh, there was corruption and injustice, to be sure: disc jockeys and program directors, unscrupulous music critics and record labels all playing payola, but some say the music was better. To be sure, it was more formulaic. Rock groups put out album after album of predictably safe, same-sounding songs, and even die-hard fans could mistake Badfinger for the Beatles. (Their smash hit “Come and Get it” was written and produced by Paul McCartney.)