As the ever-changing landscape of the music industry forces some its most important figures into a career purgatory, new roles have sprouted up from the wasteland they’ve left behind. Technology has ushered in a new era of music. But it’s not quite “out with the old, in with the new” just yet – at least if Ryan Duffy can help it.
The award-winning correspondent’s new show The Last of The… on SiriusXM’s all-music talk channel VOLUME (Ch. 106), celebrates colorful characters from an almost bygone era, spotlighting these industry icons with a complete oral history of their lives and work. Before technological innovation leads to the extinction of the old business models, Duffy hopes to profile the notable names who make up the “last of a dying breed.”
“Before those people go, we want to kind of capture these oral histories, these job descriptions from people,” Duffy says, “and have them explain in their own words what doing those jobs meant at the time when they were at their most important, at their most powerful, at their most vital in the music industry.”
Some of the guests you’ll hear on The Last of The… will be familiar, like lauded audio engineer Steve Albini, but a lot of them will be people you’ve likely never heard of. Their obscurity, however, doesn’t diminish their contributions to music’s history, as they worked behind the scenes to help paint the colorful portrait of the industry.
He’ll talk to label heads, A&R executives and agents, who’ve seen their responsibilities dwindle due to the ability to discover artists on the Internet, as well as audio engineers, who have to adapt to the digital recording age, and many other professionals on the brink of extinction. Their stories will encompass the evolution of the music business, bridging the old with the new.
“For me, the job of hosting the show is more or less to just get out of the way, to find the most interesting characters from each one of these roles, give them a few simple prompts and then let them tell me about it,” Duffy says. “I didn’t get a chance to experience it firsthand and the next best thing is to hear about it from the source.”
Duffy is a former correspondent for VICE’s Emmy Award-winning HBO show. He was named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list in 2012 and he currently works for The Players’ Tribune, overseeing video production, and for The Huffington Post, as producer and host of its Now What series. With VOLUME providing the platform to explore his curiosity about music’s landscape, Duffy relishes the opportunity to bring these stories out of the shadows and into the spotlight.
“I’ve actually wanted to do this show for a long time and VOLUME was just the perfect place to do it,” he says. “It’s really exciting to me to let people explain why they love what they do and what they did in their own words.”
New Monthly Episodes of The Last of The… air Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m. ET on SiriusXM VOLUME (Ch. 106).
For a free 30-day trial, check out http://www.siriusxm.com/freetrial/blog