So, there’s Mellow Magic and there’s Magic Chilled. I’m not a fan of the ‘base station’ Magic. It’s a bit too old songs for old people for me personally. But, I’ve given Mellow Magic and Magic Chilled a go.
You see, for decades I’ve said that radio should be designed and programmed to ‘atmospheres’. Rather than a station (or ‘brand’) just, say, playing ‘country’ or ‘jazz’ or ‘1970s’, it should select the tunes that are, say, ‘upbeat’ or ‘chilled’ or whatever. Okay, some radio stations (or brands) dedicate certain times of the day to, say, playing all soft songs, or playing all oldies, taking a break from the standard day format.
Why do they do that? We no longer live in a society that goes to bed at 10pm and wakes up at 7am. We live in a society full of different shifts and living patterns. There are cars on the road, lights on in houses, 24 hours a day. London, with most other cities not far behind, is a 24 hour city. So, why on earth is a radio station/brand putting on an hour’s worth of slushy romantic cuddle-up songs when large numbers are busy at work? It’s stupid, isn’t it.
Far better to create brands/stations that are consistent and allow the listener the freedom to switch to the one relevant to their circumstances. If I was a bus driver working overnight I wouldn’t want soft slushy stuff accompanying me when I came on shift at 10pm. Heck, it might make me fall asleep and crash! I’d want it at 7am when I got home and tucked up in bed with the love of my life. At 10pm I’d want the upbeat hits. Etc.
For me (being not a London bus driver), quite often I need something chilled playing in the background. Something that won’t interfere with my work. A lot of the time I end up tuning to Chill.
So, it was interesting to see the birth of two new offshoots of Magic, both of which are atmosphere stations/brands from radio borg group Bauer.
However, Mellow Magic, which is apparently an extension of the slow oldies that Magic already plays when it’s dark outside, made me depressed and like I wanted to kill myself. Good grief, all those old old songs designed to soundtrack suicide. One depressing song after another. Yikes. I’m guessing some people, probably old near dead suicidal people, will love Mellow Magic. I gave it a go, but self-preservation kicked in and I had to climb down from the bridge I was about to jump off.
It was then I tried Magic Chilled. To be fair, it’s kinda a commercial version of Chill in many respects, and, yay, dominated by modern and up to date songs. ‘Fresh, laid back hits’ their strapline calls them. There’s not the full depth of ambient and specialist songs that appear on Chill, but it’ll do.
I recommend Magic Chilled for anybody busily doing something but needing something on in the background. Something that is current and not stuck rotating 60 year old records!