Mannieb writes "Moses de los Santos applauds Payola Consent Decree and increased indie radio airplay, but is cautious of FCC's ability to monitor and enforce the agreement.
Payola... the mere mention of the word conjures thoughts of "the New Golden Rule" - those with the Gold RULE! Well, that no longer is the case for independent artists that want a shot at broadcast radio airtime! The Payola Consent Decree - an agreement by the FCC, A2IM (American Association of Independent Music) members and the Radio powers (Clear Channel Communications, CBS Radio, Entercom Communications, Citadel Broadcasting) - is an incredible step in the right direction!
Last month's historic agreement clearly validates Bathtubmusic.com's position that independent artists deserve having their music be heard on ALL major media platforms, including broadcast radio. In the past, the common practice of "Payola" involved looking the other way while the left hand (radio) and the right hand (major labels) shake. It effectively represented a fundamental 'brick-in-the-wall' barring indie artists from breaking through.
It took then New York State Attorney General Spitzer, in his crusade against corporate corruption, for this common 'illegal' practice to finally be investigated and brought into the light for the public and courts to see. And while we are disappointed with the initial lack of zeal that the FCC showed in following up on Spitzer's good work, the voluntary consent agreement between radio broadcasters, their regulator (FCC) and independent artist industry representatives marks a good direction.
The most promising aspect of the agreement is a voluntarily self-imposed commitment by the radio stations to provide 8,400 hours worth of airplay for independent artists! This step is a big leap forward in achieving a "fair play" balance for both Majors and Indies! I applaud the industry for very courageously self policing itself.
However, this simply reflects the evolving future of the industry as opposed to a gesture of kindness from broadcasters. Indies are becoming a strong force in the music industry, representing some 30% of the music being produced. The wisdom to self-impose these positive steps serves to the benefit of all parties involved. But effective monitoring and enforcement of this voluntary obligation is necessary for it to be taken seriously. The FCC has a poor record of regulating the music business, ignoring what has been known throughout the industry for years. The fact that it took a State Attorney General, and not federal regulators, to take action against payola says much in itself.
The task of monitoring and holding the FCC to its word will be the independent music community. I am very pleased to see the independent music organizations flexing its muscle, not merely for muscles sake, but in order to achieve a better opportunity for its members! A2IM, AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) and the host of other associations that participated in getting this decision to pass should be applauded. But their task has only begun.
Doing the right thing is what needs to happen across the board, and in cases where we see this imbalance and/or injustice the voice of the independents will need to constantly be ready to unite and be heard. This is just the first of many battles that awaits independent artists, but at least this one was won and now the voice of the indie collective can be heard over the airwaves... without PAYOLA!
Moses de los Santos
"Where the MUSIC makes a splash!"
Bathtubmusic.com is a musician friendly, advertisement free, independent CD store that sells music sent to us directly from musicians all over the world.