One of the repercussions of the battle over payola in New York was provision of airtime for independent artists on stations involved in the controversy. A musician’s group says there has been some change for the better, but not enough, with 92% of independent labels saying their relationship with radio corporations remains unchanged.
"Radio is still a vital medium, with a good deal of untapped promise,” says Ann Chaitovitz of the Future of Music Coalition. “This report represents important groundwork to ensure that radio is accessible to local and independent artists and serves its local communities. By documenting the historic and ongoing barriers between commercial radio and independent music, we help ensure accountability and hopefully create more favorable conditions for independent artists and labels." Most indies say that their relationship with radio companies hasn’t changed much despite the 4.2K hours of airtime codified in agreements between the FCC and CBS Radio, Clear Channel, Entercom Communications, and Citadel Broadcasting.
Jim Mahoney, of A2IM thinks radio should be embracing indies for its own good, since it is enjoying unprecedented success everywhere but on traditional radio. “Rebranding radio as cool and creating a stronger bond with their local listeners is vital to the health of radio. We invite radio programmers to read this report and open their minds – and playlists – to the opportunities presented by playing more independent music.”
RBR/TVBR observation: The major labels, as near as we can tell, are shrinking more and more with each passing month. Could we be entering a period in which they are diminished enough, and nimble indies grow enough, that the actually become competitive with one another again? And how about established and upstart musical acts that use the internet to take their fate into their own hands? This is yet another area in flux, and the dust is far from settled.