Ryan Jones Blog – dotCULT.com Ryan Jones Blogs About Internet Culture, Marketing, SEO, & Social Media

January 1, 2005

How To Kill A Radio Consultant

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ryan Jones @ 12:00 am

Are you ready for 107 minutes of commercial-free, non-stop hit music? Chances are whether you just listen to tunes on your way home from work, or you?re a radio junkie that lives for Rick Dee?s Weekly Top 40 Countdown, you?ll be listening to fewer commercials on the radio these days.

With the decline in air-time the radio stations are making available to advertisements, what about the small businesses like Larry?s Body Shop that rely on radio to get their word out to the masses? Fortunately, radio remains one of the most affordable advertising mediums in North America, with the cost of airing a commercial having been virtually unaffected by the suddenly scarce advertising opportunities.

The mind boggles.

A radio station gives away its content for free, but has a very cost effective plan for their advertisers that doesn?t even come close to covering the station?s operating costs. Sounds a lot like a dotcom.

How can it be that the stations have advertising revenues less than their expenses, yet remain viable businesses? Who cares how they do it. Nelly?s fresh new song ?#1?, your new favourite, just came on.

Ah, therein lies your answer. It is a little known secret in the music industry that Nelly paid to have that song put on the air at every major radio station across the country. In fact, every song you hear over the airwaves, was paid for by the record label (who passes the cost on to the artist) to be put into that station?s playlist.

It?s all managed through a group of middlemen known as indies, which is short for independent record promoters. The way the entire system works is fairly simple; the record labels pay the indies thousands of dollars per song per station to get their goods into your head as you listen to Jim and Kim In The Morning on KISS-FM. The indie then passes on the proceeds to the radio station, but not before taking an extremely healthy cut for themselves.

You would think that the record labels would balk at the notion of having to pay radio stations to play music from their artists. The reality is that they?re quite content with the arrangement, as they now have the means to dictate what the next big hit will be. The radio stations like it, because they have found a way to create a revenue stream from the content they provide. And the public is happy they can listen to over an hour of music without hearing a single commercial.

So is it one of the world?s few situations where everybody wins? Or is it a deceptive practice, aimed not at consumer benefit, but rather is a tool of the labels to push their artist?s records up the sales charts?

Should the corporations behind all this be ashamed of their conduct? Have the record labels played the FCC, Congress, and indeed the people for fools by using morally questionable, and borderline criminal, payola tactics all in the name of getting a record up to number one?

Then again, two is not a winner. And three nobody remembers. Eh, eh!

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