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A2IM Study: Payola Still Keeps Indies Music Off Air

A2im_2 18 months after the end of the most extensive payola investigation in a decade and the signing of FCC sponsored Rules of Engagement, a new survey by indie label trade group A2IM shows that independent artists and labels are still being shut out of broadcast radio. According to 61 indie labels who responded to the survey:

  • Radio Over 92% of independent labels report no change in their relationship with commercial radio since the settlement
  • 41% reported that payola remains a determining factor in commercial radio airplay
  • 47% said indie promotion companies are still a factor
  • Asked if that had asked for payola since the FCC settlement, only 39 labels answered and 1 in 4 of those said that they had

“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.”

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 (internet and satellite radio)  as an example of a possible future with traditional commercial radio.

Rich Bengloff, 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.”