RCA’s Gray says yay for radio


Even while the music industry is busy trying to pretend that radio is no longer relevant to selling their product, one of their own key executives has gone on record saying that airplay is critical to the recording industry’s success. The exec is RCA Records Senior Vice President of Pop Promotion Peter Gray.

He told OnMilwaukee.com, “[T]he primary function of a record label’s promotion department is to secure radio airplay for its artists. We rely on our relationships with music programmers at all contemporary radio formats, nationwide — Top 40, Urban and Urban Adult, Hot AC and Mainstream Adult, Rhythm, Alternative, Active Rock, Rap, Dance, College radio, Smooth Jazz, etc. Our partnership with radio is paramount to breaking new acts, as well as keeping superstar artists in the eyes and ears of their fans and the music buying public.”

It mirrors recent comments from RCA’s Richard Palmese and Sony’s legendary Clive Davis.

The recording industry has been trying to argue that radio airplay is not what it once was, and that the promotional value is not enough compensation any longer. But even while this argument is being made, top promotional execs and musicians continue to testify to the importance of radio airplay.

NAB’s Dennis Wharton commented, “Mr. Gray’s unambiguous recognition of local radio airplay’s promotional power stands in stark contrast to the cynical actions of RIAA, which continues a campaign to financially cripple the very radio stations Gray relies on to generate increased music sales. If there was a platinum record awarded for hypocrisy, the record labels would surely be in contention.”

RBR/TVBR observation: It was just a few years ago when the trades were full of the New York pay-for-play scandal, which roped in many of the biggest radio groups and recording companies. Dubious though the charges were, the bottom line is that the dollars involved testified more strongly than words ever could just how greatly modern recording companies value airplay.