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Independent Adult Contemporary Music

In the United States, adult contemporary music, frequently abbreviated AC, is a type of radio format that plays mainstream contemporary popular music, excluding hip hop, hard rock, some teen pop music, and rhythmic dance tracks (though during the 2000s, these have been included), which is intended for a mature adult audience, especially for people who are 16 and older. Radio stations playing this format will often target 25-54 year old people, the group most valued by advertisers. AC is generally divided into 4 groups; "Hot AC", also known as "Adult Top 40", "Soft AC", also known as "Lite", and "Urban AC", also known as "Urban Contemporary", and "Religious AC". Some radio stations play only Hot AC; some play only Soft AC, and some play both. Thus it is not usually considered a specific genre of music, since it is merely an assembly of selected tracks of musicians of many different genres.



Dan and Sandy Adler

Husband/wife musician/singer/songwriters.

Mark Billman

Soothing, relaxing instrumental Music Therapy.

Michael Fennelly

Award-winning concert pianist.

Gino Foti

Jazz-rock world fusion.

Michael Jensen


Sally Kosmalski

Lovely melodies and memorable lyrics.

Vicki Logan

Original instrumentals doing a mixture of soothing melodies and catchy rhythms range in style from new age and pop to a touch of bluegrass.

Tomoko and Nikkos

Adult Contemporary instumentals.

Peter Ostroushko

Award-winning fiddle and mandolin player playing folk, roots, celtic, jazz, new age, and classical music.

Thomas Pandolfi

Concert pianist praised for his compelling Mozart, passionate Liszt, dazzling Gershwin interpretations, and his innovative programming ideas.

Rob Satori

Adult contemporary music with insightful Lyrics, positive Attitude and strong musical production.

Matt Turner

Widely regarded as one of the world's leading improvising cellists.

Leon Williams

New York born American baritone singing gospel, opera, classical, standards, and show tunes.

John Wubbenhorst

Bansuri flutist offering meditative world music.

Laurie Z

Jazz/Adult Contemporary pianist.

Hot Adult Contemporary was introduced in 1986 as a hybrid of Top 40 and oldies-based Adult Contemporary. The format was designed to appeal to adults who liked pop music but also liked more era variety than Top 40 offered. The first Hot AC station was WWMX, a Baltimore FM station. New songs with sufficient adult appeal that weren't too soft were mixed with popular oldies that weren't too old. By the early 1990s "Mix" stations appeared in most markets in the US. During the early 1990s, these stations stopped playing 1960s music, and later in the 1990s, they stopped playing the 1970s. Today, Hot AC radio stations tend towards slightly harder rock music, such as Goo Goo Dolls, Bon Jovi and Aerosmith, and may occasionally play Dance Hits, such as those by Paula Abdul, Kylie Minogue, Rihanna, and some of Madonna's more upbeat, dance-oriented songs, such as "Music" and "Ray Of Light." Hot AC is now also slightly more alternative than Soft AC.

Soft AC is also known as "lite" music, and many radio stations across North America that play Soft AC refer to themselves as "lite" stations. Other popular nicknames include "Magic", "Warm", "Sunny", and (particularly in Canada) "EZ Rock". The format can be seen as a more contemporary successor to and combination of the Middle of the road (MOR), Beautiful Music, Easy Listening and soft rock formats.

Urban AC is a form of AC music that is geared towards adult African-American audiences, and therefore, the artists that are played on these stations are most often African-American. The Urban AC stations are more similar to Soft AC than they are to Hot AC, and the music they play is predominantly R&B and soul music with little hip-hop. This is reflected in many of the Urban AC radio stations' taglines, such as "Today's R&B and Classic Soul", "The Best Variety of R&B Hits and Oldies" and "(City/Region)'s R&B Leader." Some popular nicknames for Urban AC stations include "Magic" (borrowed from Soft AC), "Mix" (borrowed from Hot AC), and "Kiss" (borrowed from Top-40).

The smooth jazz genre is often referred to as new adult contemporary or NAC. In its early years of existence, the Smooth Jazz format was considered to be a form of AC, although it was mainly instrumental, and bore a stronger resemblance to the Soft AC-styled music than it did to what purists call "real jazz."

In recent years it has become common for many AC stations (and Soft AC stations in particular) to switch to a format playing primarily or exclusively Christmas songs during November and December. While these tend mostly to be contemporary seasonal recordings by the same artists featured under the normal format, stations will also typically air vintage holiday tunes from older pop and Adult Standards artists (such as Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, The Carpenters, Johnny Mathis and Andy Williams) who they would never play under ordinary circumstances. These Christmas music marathons typically start on Thanksgiving Day and end at midnight on Christmas Day, after which the stations resume their normal music fare on December 26 (although some stations may begin the holiday format much earlier in November and extend it as late as New Year's Day). The roots of this tradition can be traced all the way back to the Beautiful Music era of the 1960s and '70s. However, this practice seems to have become even more common among mainstream AC stations since the September 11, 2001 attacks, with many stations promoting their Christmas music marathons as a sort of musical comfort food.

Much of this article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Adult contemporary music".

Independent Music From Independent Bands and Musicians

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