Broadcast & Satellite

Surprise! Study Shows Few Indies On Radio

Artist advocacy group The Future Of Music Coalition
has released a new report "Same Old  Song" confirming that indie music
is not getting its fair share of airplay on broadcast radio.

Same old song

In April 2007, the FCC found widespread payola and ordered the four largest U.S. radio groups (Clear Channel, CBS, Citadel and Entercom) to pay $12.5 million in fines and work with the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) to draft 8 “Rules of Engagement” and an “indie set-aside” including 4,200 hours of unsigned and indie label music.

But FMC's new survey of Mediaguide airplay data shows little has changed in the 2 years since the FCC decree. Indie music did make slight gains at AAA Non-comm. and Country radio. But at all 5 other dominant radio formats (AC, Urban AC, Active Rock, CHR Pop, and Triple A Comm.) the share of indie music played remained stagnant at 78-82% despite ndies comprising 30-40% of the marketplace.

Not surprisingly, the FMC also found that there were very few slots for any new music .There too, new major label songs typically receive more spins than indies. Finally, FMC looked at the indie labels…

themselves and found that only a handful of indies have the resources and clout to garner airplay consistently. For the remaining indies, airplay is infrequent and modest, if it happens at all.

“As this report dramatically shows, we are still haunted by the ghost of payola, whether real or imagined." commented Peter Gordon of Thirsty Ear Records and indie music's lead negotiator with radio.

Rich Bengloff, President of A2IM adds, "Independent music accounts for approximately 38% of digital sales in the U.S. and over 40% of audience impressions at internet radio ,but consistently receives only slightly more than 10% of traditional commercial radio airplay. It’s obvious that music fans want independent music, and commercial radio programmers continue to ignore that demand at their own peril."

Read the full "Same Old Song" study.

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1 Comment

  1. This indie music not on radio issue will never be resolved until the Future of Music Coalition or some other organization provides radio with a way to inexpensively filter and choose those that will be played from the 1000’s of artists that want their music played. Radio is firing employees every day and have no available staff to do this chore. Why doesn’t the Future of Music Coalition set up its own volunteer group to make these hard choices and submit playlists for the independent music they feel radio should play. Beating the drum all day about what radio isn’t doing doesn’t fix the problem or help advance the cause of independent artists. FYI, 2 years ago I was at a conference listening to FMC attorney, Walter McDonough speak. When I asked him how the FMC would solve this problem he had no clue. Winning the battle for change is one thing but fixing the problem is another.

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