The Future of Music Coalition has been a frequent participant in the broadcast wars that have taken place on Capitol Hill during the past several years. The musicians’ advocacy is heartened by the victory of Barack Obama and is looking for improvement in a number of areas, some directly involving broadcasters.
In particular, it is hoping to see greater diversity of media ownership, a surge of LPFMs in urban markets, tighter oversight and enforcement of payola statutes, and an increased commitment to noncommercial media outlets. It also hopes an Obama administration will try to steer available spectrum away from major corporations (and the NAB), and hopes that a general understanding and appreciation for the arts will lead to improvements in creating “…sustainable local cultural economies." It supports open access to media, particularly broadband, allowing access to artists without unnecessary intervention from gatekeepers.
The organization wrote, “FMC believes the election represents good news for the artist community. The outcome is a repudiation of years of “pro-corporate” politics – the kind of policymaking focus that led to runaway consolidation in the radio marketplace and a duopoly stranglehold on Internet access. We now believe there is an opportunity to rethink how policy relates to the arts, moving beyond a politics driven by broadcast, telecommunications and entertainment conglomerates in favor of a more holistic approach that prioritizes the sustainability of local creative communities and artists.”
RBR/TVBR observation: If the broadcast business is in a major state of flux, the music business is in a major state of chaos. The internet has done major damage to the labels, just as it potentially enables artists in a way never available before. But if anybody with a guitar and a poem can get on the web, musicians still need a way to get their name out there and drive traffic.
We believe that at least some broadcasters, both local radio and television, will be daring enough to take music back from the research firms and make their playlist an exciting journey shared by a knowledgeable air staff that is in touch with the local concert scene, familiar with both homegrown acts and favored touring acts, and a loyal audience.
We hope that musicians haven’t written off broadcasters just yet. The labels seem to have declared war on broadcasters out of sheer desperation, and despite the fact that in so doing they will be inflicting even more damage on themselves. But broadcasters and musicians can bypass the gatekeeping ways of the labels, which are seemingly unable to do anything but try to clone that last successful act, and reinvigorate both businesses. But it will take something besides cookie-cutter stations to make it work.