Independent Labels Still Can’t get Much Radio Airplay


I found this report on  It was not a huge surprise…..

FMC And A2IM Announce Results Of Major Study On Independent Labels And Commercial Airplay

18 months after FCC Consent Decree and Rules of Engagement, report finds lack of progress on issues of payola, relationship between commercial radio and independent labels and artists

The American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) and the Future of Music Coalition (FMC) release the results of a comprehensive study they conducted, with funding from the Rockefeller Philanthropic Advisors, of a wide range of independent labels to assess the progress towards compliance with the 2007 FCC Consent Decree and Rules of Engagement. Stemming from Elliot Spitzer’s high-profile investigation of payola, the FCC in 2007 signed agreements with four major commercial radio broadcasters (CBS Radio, Clear Channel, Entercom Communications, and Citadel Broadcasting), designed to increase the representation of independent music on commercial radio. Around the same time, the independent music community, led by A2IM and the FMC, signed a separate, voluntary “Rules Of Engagement” agreement with the radio chains promising more local and independent artists, 4,200 hours of independent music, and new anti-payola guidelines.

Has anything changed in the 18 months since the signing of the agreement?

“To paint 100% negative picture is wrong,” says Daniel Glass, the chair of A2IM’s Radio Committee and owner of Glassnote Entertainment Group. “There are success stories. But we are disappointed to see independents are still reporting lack of access and cooperation, despite the new agreements.” The A2IM/FMC study details just how little things have changed. For the full study (PDF), click here.

“Radio is still a vital medium, with a good deal of untapped promise,” says Ann Chaitovitz, Executive Director of 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 indpendent artists and labels.”

The study shows that:

** Over 92% of independent labels report no change in their relationship with commercial radio since the settlement.

** Nearly half of respondents reported that payola remains a determining factor in commercial radio airplay.

** Roughly 1 in 4 respondents said that they have been approached, either directly or indirectly, with requests for payola since the signing of the FCC settlement.

Despite these findings, “Independent labels remain optimistic in the face of a continuing lack of equal treatment by our friends at commercial radio,” says Jim Mahoney, Vice President of Membership at A2IM. He points to the stunning success of independent music at non-terrestrial radio as an example of a possible future with traditional commercial radio. Rich Benloff, President of A2IM, continues, “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.”


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