HITS Daily Double
"That this year's Album of the Year Grammy went to an album that received virtually no airplay is a symbol that radio can possibly keep the best product from reaching the American consumer."
——Garth Fundis, Recording Academy


AFTRA, AFM, FMC, NARAS, Other Acronyms Weigh In On Payola/Independent Promotion Debate
And now the Coalition puts some names behind the complaints.

A "Joint Statement on Current Issues in Radio" was delivered to the Federal Communications Commission and Congressional leaders by four organizations instrumental in the development of the statement: the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA); American Federation of Musicians (AFM); the Future of Music Coalition (FMC); and the Recording Academy (NARAS). The statement was also signed by six other groups: Association for Independent Music (AFIM); Just Plain Folks; Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI); National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM); National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB); and Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Representatives from AFTRA, AFM, FMC and the Recording Academy further clarified why this statement is an important development:

John Connolly, National President, AFTRA: "Royalty artists are a significant part of our membership, and with the homogenization of radio playlists, fewer of these artists now receive airplay. Artists are harmed further by having to share in the costs incurred for independent promotion and, in addition, artists are forced to perform in venues and for promoters that are owned by the radio station owners or risk being shut out of markets entirely. All of these issues severely impact the ability of artists to succeed. With our diverse membership, AFTRA has a uniquely inside view of how radio station consolidation is adversely affecting diversity and competition. AFTRA has continually opposed the loosening of ownership restrictions with the FCC."

Tom Lee, International President, AFM: "The art of music and the business of music both suffer when a de facto payola system means that recording artists must pay small fortunes in so-called independent promotion fees for the chance to be heard on the radio. When you add to that the potential for a handful of radio station groups to lock up huge portions of the live music business by owning concert promoters and live performance venues—and then to pressure artists to perform only in their venues and only for their promoters—the effect is ruinous for artists, consumers and the growth of American music and culture. The AFM and its 110,000 members are proud to stand with the music community coalition in asking the FCC and Congressional leaders to review these aspects of the radio industry."

Michael Bracy, Director, Government Relations, FMC: "Radio is a public asset that is managed by the federal government on behalf of American citizens. Today's statement makes abundantly clear that artists, songwriters, labels and retailers are united in opposition to large broadcasters' claim that consolidation has improved commercial radio. Rather, commercial radio is anti-artist, anti-competitive and anti-music fan. The joint statement also emphasizes the music community's support for non-commercial radio and webcasting. It is vitally important for the federal government to prioritize support for these non-commercial outlets that program music not out of pursuit of profit, but out of love of art. Non-commercial radio stations and webcasters are critical for artists and fans of music from niche genres and independent labels."

Garth Fundis, Chairman, Recording Academy: "On behalf of our 20,000 members, we look forward to a changed environment for radio where excellence—not money—rules the public airwaves. That this year's Album of the Year Grammy went to an album that received virtually no airplay is a symbol that radio can possibly keep the best product from reaching the American consumer. We hope that this unprecedented coalition of artists, merchandisers and record labels will lead to an active dialogue on these important issues."

For a complete statement, go here.