The future of music and radio is subject to debate
Music is a foundation of radio programming, therefore the future of radio is bound up with the fortunes of music and musicians. For the big radio owners like Clear Channel and the big labels they make deals with there’s isn’t much question. Major label hitmakers will have a home on radio, as commercial stations ram the same 12 songs down listeners’ throats all day long.
But it’s a much bigger question for independent artists, new bands and the mostly non-commercial stations that highlight them. At Radio Survivor we’re paying more attention to the fortunes of independent musicians because we believe that their future will greatly impact the noncommercial and innovative stations we so love, on the air and online.
Matthew Lasar just took a look at a prominent debate between musicians Dave Allen and David Byrne regarding Spotify and Pandora, concluding, “Actually, it appears that Spotify et. al. did create that shift. They did not just ‘see’ consumer demand, they enabled it. They used technology to replace an ownership market with what Allen correctly calls a rental market.”
The topic of Spotify was everywhere at the recent Future of Music Summit, which Paul Riismandel watched via live webcast and reported on. At one point in the discussion Emily Smith of the Whitesmith Entertainment talent management firm told the assembled musicians, “if you’re not seeing the money you think you should get, go yell at your label.”
Indeed, that may not be a satisfactory answer for a lot of artists, but it highlights a point that Dave Allen often makes. He told the “Technology Killed the Radio Star” panel at TechFest NorthWest in September that labels have been pretty much screwing artists for a long time, and so they’re better off taking their careers into their own hands rather than trusting labels.
Paul recently wrote some rough notes on the subject, wondering of independent stations and independent artists can’t work more closely together. That requires coordination amongst artists in addition to coordination amongst stations, something that has historically not been easy to pull off. But even an attempt at such coordination would be good start, don’t you think?
This American Life’s Seth Lind says he’s “surprised how durable radio has been.” 2/3 TAL listeners on broadcast, 1/3 online.