National Public Radio has become a major tastemaker in the indie rock scene, with its three-year-old NPR Music site scoring major coups: exclusive concerts from Radiohead and Tom Waits as well as pre-release streaming of albums from classic artists like Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan. A record exec says NPR has made a huge push to be a go-to source for music, especially indie rock, folk and pop. (Coverage of R&B, hip-hop, country, Latin, Top 40, and heavy metal is pretty scarce—its demo appears to be “Brooklyn hipster,” the exec says.) The site caters to aging Boomers who want to know what the kids are listening to, so Norah Jones is featured alongside Arcade Fire, Neko Case, LCD Soundsystem, and other indie favorites. Moby says that NPR is helped by the fact that it’s non-profit, so it doesn’t have to pay attention to charts—or cater to the lowest common denominator.
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