Staff Editorial

As companies gripe, music industry destroys itself

Are you being spoon-fed music? Even if you don’t only buy music you hear on the radio, your musical taste may be more influenced by the media than you realize. A recent article on talks about payola, a process in which labels pay radio stations to promote certain songs. Nate Anderson warns readers about being sold music they wouldn’t originally be drawn to.

“Payola is perfectly legal so long as it’s disclosed. But admitting that editorial judgment went out the window and that song choice is being made based on who brings the largest briefcase of cash to the station’s business office is not a recipe for listener loyalty, so the companies that engage in it try to keep payola secret,” Anderson says in the article.

A lot of you are probably thinking, “Duh. Of course the music industry forces music down our throats. Why else would Nickelback’s music still be circulating the airwaves?” But what’s most disturbing is that these same labels and corporations paying radio stations to play music want the radio stations to pay them for that same music.

You’re probably thinking, “What?” And that is our sentiment exactly.

“Sony was busted… back in 2005,” Anderson said. “Sony’s promoters went so far as to tell radio stations that the ‘real people’ (they were planted) calling in to request songs had to be more convincing.”

So that means a lot of the times that you hear Lynne calling into the station to request Ke$ha, it’s probably not a real person (in theory, at least).

Being that Warner Music paid $5 million in fines and Universal paid $12 million, isn’t it somewhat apparent why the music industry is in trouble? “Radio stations currently pay songwriters when they play a tune on the air, but they don’t pay the music labels and performers. The setup is certainly unfair; webcasters and satellite radio have to pay both groups, so there’s an obvious logic in reforming this arrangement,” Anderson states.

The issue has hardly been settled, but it’s probably good for everyone to at least be aware that it’s happening. And now that you know, you can really ask yourself if you like Lady Gaga, Ke$ha or Nickelback as much as Lynne supposedly does.


  • Okay Ke$ha and Nickelback do suck, but Lady Gaga isn't bad. Should have said Justin Beiber. Does anyone really like that kid's music or is it all about the hair?

  • While the mainstream media bemoan the death of the music industry, they also ignore the one rapidly growing area of music, country. Besides, saying that the radio stations spoon-feed programming to listeners is like complaining that TV stations spoon-feed sports to viewers. In reality, they play what people want to hear and see, and what sells the most advertising. I'm sorry the tastes of the regular people out there in the world don't adhere to your cool indie version of what they should listen to. If people like Lady Gag, Ke-{dollar sign}-ha or Nickelback, more power to them. Why are you so bitter? Pop in your own CD and leave the rest of us alone. Please.

    • First, you're missing the point here. Yes, TV plays sports – and lots of it. But, if you don't want to watch game A, you could switch to game B. The radio (free mainstream radio that is) does not really offer that option. It is not uncommon to hear the same song on more than one radio station at the same time – country radio included.

      Second, what are "regular" people.

      Third, you're right. You may like whatever you want to like, all opinions aside. But, when you can only hear a limited number of songs due to payola, or any of method limiting music on public radio, you're not really deciding what you like – the man is.

  • I listen to radio on the net, not as bad as terrestrial radio,
    I get my Rock and Roll ay ( )

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