FMC Releases Study On Independent Music Airplay

The Future of Music Coalition (FMC) has released a new report that analyzes radio playlists to determine whether policy interventions resulting from 2003-2007 payola investigations have had any effect on the amount of independent music played on terrestrial radio.

Using playlist data from Mediaguide, FMC examined four years of airplay, from 2005 to 2008, from national playlists and from seven music formats: AC, Urban AC, Active Rock, Country, CHR, AAA Commercial and AAA Noncommercial. FMC calculated the "airplay share" for five different categories of record labels to determine whether the major labels' ratio of airplay share has changed at all in the past four years.

The data, FMC says, indicated almost no change in station playlist composition in this period. Specifically, the national playlist data indicated very little measurable change in airplay share from 2005-2008, with major label songs consistently securing 78% to 82% of airplay. There were, however, some modest increases in airplay for indies on some formats (Country and AAA Non-Commercial).

In April, 2007, the FCC issued consent decrees with Clear Channel, CBS Radio, Citadel and Entercom that raked in $12.5 million in fines from the group owners. As part of the consent decrees, the owners agreed to work with the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) to draft eight "Rules of Engagement" and an "indie set-aside," in which these four group owners voluntarily agreed to collectively air 4,200 hours of local, regional and unsigned artists, and artists affiliated with independent labels.

"Radio is still an incredibly vital public resource that's worth fighting for," says FMC Policy Director Michael Bracy. "Its ubiquitous and local nature make it unique in the media landscape, but unfortunately today's commercial radio rarely reflects the communities where it is heard. There are so many artists who are successful by any other measure, but who still have enormous difficulty reaching the airwaves."

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