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Payola: Another Brick in the Wall

jamie posted more than 13 years ago | from the by-the-way-which-one's-Pink dept.

Music 232

We're living in the era where bands are prepackaged for our convenience, and then the packaging itself is repackaged as a serial documercial and sandwiched between paid ads. The kids whose billions pay for this machine are not only fully aware it's a sham, they embrace the cynicism and still manage to enjoy the show. So I'm guessing nobody will be stunned to learn that, a week ago, the L.A. Times uncovered documents showing that record labels are still buying radio airplay, at some stations, the same quasi-legal way they've been buying it for twenty years. But it's an interesting story, and it's as good a launching point as any for thinking about the next twenty years. ("Payola" is the first of three Slashdot features on music distribution. Parts two and three run tomorrow and Thursday.)

Pink Floyd's The Wall set the standard for amazing stage shows. It was the kind of thing that makes me wish I'd lived in L.A. or New York in 1980 (and been out of grade school, I guess). In February 1980, they played five sold-out L.A. shows, inflatable pig, airplane and all, the epicenter of cool. The double album was number one and would stay there for four months.

But although you can hear "Another Brick in the Wall, Part Two" played on L.A. oldie stations today, at the time, you wouldn't have heard it on any station in the city. Total blackout. The record labels used a network (creatively called The Network) through which they exerted control over which songs got on the air.

But in 1980, The Network was in revolt.

To understand why it even existed, we have to go back to Alan Freed's Rock and Roll Show in 1960. One of the first rock'n'roll DJs, Freed was busted in 1960 for taking $2,500 in bribes to play records. He claimed the money was just a thank-you with no influence, but he still went down. He only paid a small fine, but his career was ruined and he died soon after.

As a result of the scandal, Congress passed a law against "payola" in 1960. We'll get into fine ethical distinctions later, but basically a radio station that secretly takes money to spin a song is guilty of payola.

Note that just coming out and admitting a spin was bought is perfectly legal: if that Limp Bizkit play was paid for, just say so and your station is home-free.

Break the law and you might be fined up to $10,000. Payola is a misdemeanor. Theoretically, someone might spend up to a year in jail, but according to Hit Men , published in 1990, nobody has ever spent a single day behind bars.

There have been convictions, yes. Last year, after the L.A. Times turned up some evidence, Clear Channel Communications paid an $8,000 fine for promoting a Bryan Adams single and billing his label. The bill, by way of comparison, was for $237,000.

Clear Channel did well over $1 billion in revenue last quarter and has almost $50 billion in assets. "During the first quarter of 2001, we acquired 126 radio stations in 36 markets...."

But convictions are few and far between, partly because of the layers created between the labels and the stations. Post-Freed, a niche job was created to, essentially, be the go-between from the labels to the radio stations.

The job title is "independent promoter."

The promoters work for the labels. Each week, they talk to the program directors of radio stations in their region, and try to convince the stations' program directors [PDs] to add the labels' songs to the playlist.

And competition is fierce. There are only about 30 slots that get heavily played on any given station, and most of them carry songs over week-to-week. Ten new songs in a week would be heavy turnover; usually it's much fewer, and all the labels are fighting for those slots.

The question is how the promoters "convince" the program directors. By building a relationship with each PD, based on trust and knowledge of each station's market? Or by bribes, paid in dollars or some other currency?

The Network, a small cabal of promoters working together, became famous in the early 1980s for making or breaking songs, depending on how well they were paid. That's where "Another Brick in the Wall" comes into the story. After years of lean revenue, combined with rising costs in fees paid to the Network, CBS experimented with cutting them off.

And CBS got burned. The hit single from the number-one album in the country, in a market of three million, was blacked out. While the band was playing sold-out shows, not one of the city's four big Top-40 stations would play the 45.

Shortly after Pink Floyd's last show, the promoters were rehired, and within hours the song was back on the radio (top of the charts for weeks). It was pretty clear who owned the air.

How much money was CBS trying to save? Here's a quote from 1983, which I find amusing because the speaker is John Gotti's second-in-command -- a mob underboss who can appreciate a good racket when he sees it:

"That kid in California came in to see me, said ... they give him fifty thousand to a hundred thousand to push a record. The company, they pay you, just to make a record on the air, you know..."

A lot of money. This explains why CBS wanted to try it again, testing the promoters the next year as well. In early 1981, the company's labels boycotted them entirely. In retaliation, The Network targeted "Turn Me Loose," the first single by the new band Loverboy. After breaking into the Billboard charts with a star, it rose quickly, but peaked only at number 37 before falling off the bottom.

The next target was The Who's "You Better You Bet." Its appearance was even more promising, appearing at number 63 with a superstar. But it peaked at 18 and fell off the charts quickly.

CBS was convinced. Its boycott began to crack, and within months it ended.

By 1986 the abuses had grown serious enough to merit an investigative report by NBC. Calling the indie system "The New Payola," they uncovered evidence of The Network bribing DJs with cash and cocaine, and threatening them with violence. Senator Al Gore launched a Senate probe. And the RIAA quickly issued a short statement announcing that they would not tolerate illegal activity, but denying any wrongdoing (and reminding everyone that they had done Live Aid the year before).

In reality, the labels were glad for the coverage. It gave them the chance they needed to take the promoters down a few pegs, saving them all a great deal of money. In a few weeks, all the labels had joined in a boycott. Nobody knows real dollar amounts, but The Network's income, probably measured in the tens of millions, dropped drastically.

And since 1986, things have been different. But are we right back now where we started? The president of RCA Records claimed in 1987 that his industry had paid $50 to $60 million a year to the promoters. Last week's L.A. Times story (go read it) claims it's now a "$100-million-a-year trade."

We've come a long way since Alan Freed and his twenty five hundred bucks.

I talked last week with Woody Houston, a PD for the market leader Top-40 station in my hometown. (Disclosure: the company that owns his station competes with Clear Channel.)

Woody has seen examples of corruption, but nothing like some of the abuses of the 1980s -- maybe because we're not in a big city. He's had promoters offer to pay his way to conferences, but he's turned them down. Company policy is to fire anyone who takes such an offer, even though that's pretty small-time compared to some of what's been documented.

I described the L.A. Times story to him, and asked him to try to clarify where the line gets drawn, ethically:

"If Clear Channel is using those dollars for promotional support -- let's say Interscope wanted to put $2500 behind Smashmouth -- if they're buying T-shirts that have my call letters on the front, I don't see a problem.

"There's a fine line between buying airplay and promotion. If they're taking the thousand dollars that they got for 25 spins and not using it to support the record, that's wrong. If they just give the money away on the air, that's wrong -- that's the ethics of it."

When the system works, it does its job. You may or may not like the results -- Top-40 can't please everybody of course -- but the radio airwaves are a limited public medium that should be accountable to its listeners and advertisers, not the companies that make the product. Radio stations' PDs compete by doing their research, making the judgement calls they get paid to make, and seeing their Arbitron ratings, and advertising rates, rise or fall accordingly.

When it doesn't work, it's -- well -- it's a Wall, a barrier of moneyed inertia between new artists who want to be heard and the audience who wants to hear them.

Music has been an industry for the last hundred years, so we've never known what it might be like to strip out some of those barriers. In the next two installments, I'll throw out some ideas to kick around.

Tomorrow: part two, a look back at music distribution technology of the last 200 years.

(I mentioned Hit Men earlier. Most of my sources for the industry's history come from this 1990 book by Fredric Dannen. Its research is thorough, heavy on names, dates and places; Dannen talked to just about everybody and had a good nose for what was credible. Highly recommended if this subject interests you. He's got another book that looks good, too, with an inside story on the Hong Kong film industry.)

Update, 10:45 AM EDT: Salon ran a story on payola today too, a good one. Deja vu to 1980/81, but this time, Destiny's Child's label is not even trying to boycott the promoters, they're just scaling back how much they're paying them -- even this is considered risky.

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History (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#175864)

The result of the original payola scandal was that power was taken from individuals (DJ's) and given to corporate (station management). DJ's lost control of their playlists. The station managers were higher up, harder to bribe, less likely to be corrupt.

Now we've got corporate payola. It's an institution. It's powerful, centralized corruption, ie the inevitable consequence of civilization itself. The obvious solution is to return control to the individuals.

The greatest promoter of diverse radio we've ever had was Lorenzo W. Milam, the Harold Hill and Johnny Appleseed of community radio. He has long since declared the battle lost and moved on. What we used to do doesn't happen any more. The media companies have total control of America. Luckily, so far, they have only used their power to make money.

check out this article (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#175865)

This was on the front page of the LA Times a few days ago and presents the record industry in a much better light: 508.html [] .

Why didn't this make slashdot?? It is just as newsworthy as this topic, perhaps more so because it shows a side to the industry than I and many others probably have never seen. And before you cry "bias" remember that the LA Times is one of the most liberal, anti-corporate papers in the nation.

Slashdot: News for nerds, stuff that matters?? Please. I'm almost embarassed to be a nerd. All nerds aren't socialists. And some nerds can even understand the concept of opportunity cost.

Re:Salon on "independant promoters" (2)

abischof (255) | more than 13 years ago | (#175867)

During Slashdot's last discussion [] on (satellite) radio, one thread mentioned [] that DC's WWDC ("DC 101") and WHFS ("HFS") are owned by the same company.. But, from what I can tell, WWDC is owned by Clear Channel, while WHFS is owned by Infinity Broadcasting -- what gives?

Alex Bischoff

Re:G-A-why is this even a story? (1)

kir (583) | more than 13 years ago | (#175877)

YEAH! Slashdot is the perfect fucking forum for corroboration!!



Salon on "independant promoters" (5)

Alan Shutko (5101) | more than 13 years ago | (#175878)

It's even worse than this article presents... promoters will bill labels even is station managers decide to play the song on their own.

Check Pay for play [] and Fighting pay-for-play [] .

Atlanta radio sucks (1)

Basset (6083) | more than 13 years ago | (#175888)

I have lived in the Atlanta area since just before the Olympics. It is one of the fastest growing radio markets and the one that all the advertisers and promotors want. I can't tell you how many times I have turned on the three big stations and heard the same song within five minutes of each other. These are stations that supposedly have different audiences (rock, top 40, and generation-X) but they all play the same damn music! When I travel out of town I hear different music, good music. Why is this not being played in Atlanta? My guess is payola. It has gotten a little better lately, we have two new stations that allow you to listen to slightly different music during the non-peak hours. Other times it is the same old prepackaged crap that somebody on a committee somewhere thinks I need to hear over and over again.

This first segment was interesting, I hope the other two are just as good. The more people that think about this, the more likely it is to change the system.

Re:check out this article==YES,Read it... (1)

BoBG (9969) | more than 13 years ago | (#175894)

And then think for your self. I scarcely remember ever having read such a pile of boohoo, woe is me, look how rough we have it, cry baby bullshit.

What ever deal they have struck with 'artists' it was of their own making. Sorry, but record labels crying over how hard they have it smacks of so much irony I'm still looking for the cast iron pan they must have used. It is an interesting read, I will grant you that, but an objective analysis of the record industries 'situation' it is not.

Like most things, I expect the truth lies somewhere between the stories of the two different sides. Pardon me, but I have got to get back to downloading MP3's.

Why? (4)

Syberghost (10557) | more than 13 years ago | (#175900)

Instead of everybody jumping on the "it's illegal so it must be bad" bandwagon, how about we take a step back and ask:

WHY is it illegal?

Is there really a compelling government interest in making sure that one company doesn't pay another company to perform a service? I mean, if the radio station is playing music people don't want to hear, we'll stop listening, right?

Does it really matter so much that it ought to be enforced at gunpoint?


It came from Canada (2)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 13 years ago | (#175908)

Last year, after the L.A. Times turned up some evidence, Clear Channel Communications paid an $8,000 fine for promoting a Bryan Adams single and billing his label.

Those utter bastards! Why can't they just let poor Bryan die a natural death, like he should have at the end of the eighties?

So, let me get this straight... (2)

griffjon (14945) | more than 13 years ago | (#175909)

The music industry pays and/or 'promotes' radio stations to spread the word about their artists, with the full knowledge that anyone with good bandwidth--I mean--reception, could record the song at near-CD quality? And sometimes they give radio stations free CDs and shirts to give away--for promotion??

I smell a Napster counter-suit, howabout you?

An idea (2)

mind21_98 (18647) | more than 13 years ago | (#175915)

Why not make news media non-profit? As is, most stations don't make much on advertising. If they were made non-profit, they would not have any incentive to continue their behavior. In fact, the large networks might even have fewer ads shown or heard, because there is no incentive to make a profit.

mind21_98 - []
"Ask not if the article is utter BS, but what BS can be exposed in said article."

Re:OK, Mr. Communist . . . (2)

mind21_98 (18647) | more than 13 years ago | (#175916)

More like multi-billion.

If you have for-profit media, you're gonna have corruption and a generally biased viewpoint when it comes to news, etc. If media was non-profit, those things may still exist, but to a lesser extent. Bias would be less evident and the media would try harder to be objective when it comes to reporting stories. Heck, they might even play better music in the process.

mind21_98 - []
"Ask not if the article is utter BS, but what BS can be exposed in said article."

Let them do what they want (4)

Cujo (19106) | more than 13 years ago | (#175918)

Of course they're corrupt. The moral bankruptcy of the mainstream music industry is only too well documented.

I say that it doesn't matter. What's really corrupt is slickly packaged, trite, utterly empty rubbish that passes for music. There's no law against that, and there shouldn't be.

The music industry are scavengers, cleaning up on second handers who don't want to listen to music they like so much as music they are told that other people like. That they ruthlessly exploit musicians is another topic.

My suggestion is that if you don't like what you hear on the radio, turn it off, and support the small labels trying to change the way the business operates; e.g. Chris Cutler's Recommended Records, John Zorn's Tzadik [] , or Robert Fripp's DGM [] . That all of the above are run by world class veteran musicians should be no surprise - they've been there, done that, got the t-shirt and the shaft.

This explains a great deal about Napster (3)

PeterMiller (27216) | more than 13 years ago | (#175921)

No wonder they are all paranoid about Napster et al! Obviously, they are willing to pay a great deal to get thier songs to the masses, but now the power is in the hands of the individual.Yes, people still download what is on the radio, but in time that will change.

When we are talking about THIS much money, someone somewhere is getting really scared.

Re:An American Problem (1)

sdamberger (28313) | more than 13 years ago | (#175922)

Take a look at the ebsq group [] for self-representing artists on eBay and other auctions sites. You can find great art and get to deal with the artist directly! *shameless plug over*

Re:An American Problem (1)

MrNixon (28945) | more than 13 years ago | (#175923)

The Edge is an incredible station. The list of great shows just goes on and on (and they broadcast on the internet!). []

An American Problem (5)

sien (35268) | more than 13 years ago | (#175926)

OK, this is a rant.
I've lived in four countries; Germany, US, Sweden and Australia, and I have to say this quite simply. American media is the worst. By far.
The reason is simple, the business of America is business, the research of America is business, the government of America is business and art in America is just business.
On the plus side, Americans are rich and pay is good, at least if you've got a degree and work hard and are a bit lucky. But, it means you have to watch over promoted shit from Hollywood, watch TV that is utterly crap, watch professional sports that are little more than long ads and, if you're silly enough to listen to the radio, listen to virtually uninterupted crap.
Honestly, Americans talk about choice but there is none. I live in a city of about 1.5 million and there is less choice in films here than there was in Australia in a city of 300,000. Try listening to Australian radio - triple J broadcasts on the internet. There is a radio station that plays good new music, rather than Britney spears. And as for TV. Well, cable here has less variety than Australian, Swedish or German free to air.
It's all money, and money produces crap entertainment in the long run. Just like American fast food, fatty, dull and tasteless after a while.

Breaking down the wall (4)

e-gold (36755) | more than 13 years ago | (#175927)

(Warning, I've ranted about this before, so if it seems familiar it probably is.)

Between musicians & fans involves fans being able to directly-pay musicians, bypassing the inefficient layers of "corruption" inherent in the current system. e-gold (among other options) now makes this possible in ways un-dreamed-of in the days of Alan Freed, and it's going to lead to good things for artists and fans (greed-disclamer -- and me!). Slashdot readers are free to contact me for a free spot of my favorite currency if you want to play with our Shopping Cart [] . e-gold works for this because e-metal payments are pushed, rather than pulled, and settle instantly and internationally. Yes, I'm a greedy self-interested capitalist, but we've been ignored for a long time in favor of failed systems that try to be a real currency but can't, for a variety of reasons. e-gold, in either a tipjar or pay-per-listen model, is what will work today. e-gold has been in the black for over a year, and is not a typical overhyped (in fact, I'm pretty-much the entire hype-department, in many ways!).

I happen to prefer the tipjar idea to pay-per-listen because I like voluntary stuff, and I have enough faith in what's left of human nature to think that most of us will leave tips. I also have enough faith in the greed and inefficiency of the RIAA to think that tips will end up benefitting artists more than the present system, but I have no proof (yet!). I'm giving e-gold away because it's in my interest for programmers to try and play with e-gold. Thanks for listening, as always I speak only for myself -- since nobody else would claim these opinions anyway.
AKA Cassandra, among other names...

Re:Salon on "independant promoters" (2)

wiredog (43288) | more than 13 years ago | (#175929)

Read all the Salon articles in that series, there are links in the stories. The author is really going after Clear Channel.

Re:Salon on "independant promoters" (2)

wiredog (43288) | more than 13 years ago | (#175930)

You're right, 101 is Clear Channel, and HFS is Infinity. They're both "rock alternative" or whatever that format is called. They play the same songs.

Shocked (1)

jazman_777 (44742) | more than 13 years ago | (#175931)

"Shocked, I am, to find _gambling_ going on at this establishment!"

Re:Good Thing.... (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 13 years ago | (#175934)

FYI: WHFS has gone downhill since it started broadcasting, more so in the past few years.

Yeah, 'HFS (99.1, out of Landover MD) sold its soul years ago.

The original owner of WHFS started a new station, WRNR (103.1, out of Annapolis). He's since sold it, and it has gone somewhat more corporate, but it's still the best music station in the area (IM ever so HO).

Tom Swiss | the infamous tms |

Re:Bless you, BBC (1)

Caball (58351) | more than 13 years ago | (#175936)

I have no faith in the quality of musice from a country that exported Benny Hill.

Re:An idea (1)

jakeblue (62815) | more than 13 years ago | (#175937)

You could just listen to NPR [] ... It's non-profit news and does a good job. Morning Edition and All Things Considered are good shows.

If you're looking for more on this... (5)

jakeblue (62815) | more than 13 years ago | (#175939)

Check out the Frontline (excellent PBS news magazine) episode The Merchants of Cool []

It's not only the radio stations...

Re:ugh (1)

z84976 (64186) | more than 13 years ago | (#175941)

...and this is the reason I don't care one bit that my car radio has been broken for over 2 years.

Re:An American Problem (2)

dj_flux (66385) | more than 13 years ago | (#175942)

OK, so what I'm getting out of your post is "American corporate fodder is worse than European corporate fodder". Is this a surprise? Mass produced entertainment from anywhere is going to give you the least common denominator. America, being the epitome of corporatism, is going to have a lower LCD than just about any other country. But why subject yourself to corporate entertainment "programming" in the first place? Go out and see a band/DJ, poetry event, indy film, etc..., or, better yet, get involved in whatever local scene you're interested in? Real American culture can't be found in corporate sponsored media - it's taking place in real life, in the clubs, galleries, and streets. You have to get off your ass and go find it. Media entertainment is the fast food of culture. You want real culture in America? Support your local band/DJ/artist/poet/restaurant.

ugh (1)

DGregory (74435) | more than 13 years ago | (#175946)

This [O-Town, corruptedness of the record labels...] is the reason my car radio is permanently set to NPR.

I don't find it hard to believe that the same kids who grew up with Teletubbies and Barney, who enjoy watching Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen videos (and their new magazine *gag*) would get into O-Town.

Re:Internet killed the radio star... (2)

WombatControl (74685) | more than 13 years ago | (#175948)

As they say about porn "I know it when I see it..."

Granted, independents produce a lot of drek, but most radio stations play *100%* crap. At least with Internet radio there's exposure to artists whose name *isn't* Shaggy, O-Town, or deity-forbid, The Backstreet Boys. Granted, you still have to wade through a lot of crap, but at least it's *different* crap.

For example, I found an artist I've come to really enjoy through an interview on the Bravo TV network. No one in radio in the Midwest is going to play the works of a Canadian cabaret singer. (Patricia O'Callaghan is her name, BTW) However, the Internet provides those opportunities.

The issue isn't necessarily that independent or obscure music is always better... its about the *choice* to listen to those artists. Radio doesn't provide that. The Internet does. That's why radio is in the trouble it's in, more commercialism, less music, less choice.

Internet killed the radio star... (5)

WombatControl (74685) | more than 13 years ago | (#175949)

Is anyone really surprised by this? After all, radio is the most heavily commercialized venue for music you're liable to find. Most Top 40 stations play nothing but typical commercialized drivel anyway. Considering that traditional music outlets like radio and MTV hardly spend more than a third of their time actually playing music, no wonder everyone's gone on the Napster bandwagon. I've heard a more diverse selection of artists who aren't attached to the RIAA or the big labels through the Internet than traditional media have allowed. You better believe it's causing me to buy fewer major label CDs... because I actually can find *better music*. It's a win for good music, and a loss for the kind of crap that radio wallows in. Radio's a wasteland for the most part, and they're doing everything they can to help their bottom line. (Why else would they resort to giving money away to get listeners?) These payola deals are just one way of helping stave off oblivion before Internet mobile radio becomes practical and traditional radio dies comepletely.

Re:Good Thing.... (1)

JEDi_ERiAN (79402) | more than 13 years ago | (#175950)

FYI: WHFS has gone downhill since it started broadcasting, more so in the past few years.

Listening to the radio for music is almost impossible these days as dj's talk as much as they can. The only stations that don't play the same 25 songs everyday, allday, are oldies stations, and i can only listen to them for a bit. Maybe i'm just lazy, but i don't feel like pressing scan over and over to find a song that i like, i just pop in a cd and leave it in for 2 weeks straight in my truck, or until i get sick of it. besides, mp3s are what have really broadened my music horizons, i purchase cd's because of single mp3 tracks i download. oh well, that's all i have to say about that.



cynical kids! (2)

lovebyte (81275) | more than 13 years ago | (#175952)

Oh yeah! Cynical teenagers is new [] .

Re:An American Problem (Consumerism) (2)

Jus'n (85372) | more than 13 years ago | (#175953)

I'm trying to keep this as un-patriotic as possible, so if I slip, please try to look past my unabashed love for true Americanism and see my arguments.

American media is the worst. By far.

No argument there. I nearly spit every day I read the paper, watch the "news," listen to the radio, etc. The simple fact is that there is a new class of people that wants to be lazy (and I, frequently, am one of them). Many people unfortunately confuse this with "American." Don't. This class of people exists, predominately in cities, all over the world ([cough] Paris, Tokyo[cough]). However, perhaps more than in most other countries, our businesses exploit this consumer class. Yes, our media outlets are primarily corporate-controlled. Why? Because we're greedy bastards. We (stereotypically) don't mind selling out. Even the most counter-cultured among us change our tunes when 7 figures worth of US$ are flashed in front of our faces. As repugnant as the resulting media environment may be, I STILL prefer it to Government controlled media. But that's another rant.

It's all money, and money produces crap entertainment in the long run. Just like American fast food, fatty, dull and tasteless after a while.

Hey... fast food is an acquired taste. Take up your holier than thou mantle if you like, but the fact remains that McDonalds is earning money in Paris, Rome, etc. (home of fantastic "real" cuisine).

Back to the point, however. You're complaining about our corporate entertainment engine. You seem to think that's all we have here in the states. You're mistaken. You're falling prey to that very same lazy consumerism we both so revile in our writings. You're only eating what corporate America is feeding you. Would it be fair if I were to fly into de Gaulle, and judge France on the ads I see in the terminals? Of course not. To find NON-corporate entertainment, one must go out into the world and f*cking LOOK for it. The price of freedom is responsibility. I'm not trying to convince anyone that the US is a free country or anything (if it ever was, it hasn't been since the '70s, when I was born), but we DO still have a more freedom-oriented society than some places. The freedom for big ugly corporations to brainwash us with corp-rock 24-7, and our own freedom to turn the f*cking radio off and go to a f*cking blues club. The responsibility is ours to seek out something else if we don't like it.

Next time you're sick of the radio here, try it. Go to a bookstore on live music night. Don't like it? Start your own band. That's a freedom/responsibility dichotomy I can live with.

Re:An American Problem (1)

matt-fu (96262) | more than 13 years ago | (#175958)

On the plus side, Americans are rich and pay is good, at least if you've got a degree and work hard and are a bit lucky. But, it means you have to watch over promoted shit from Hollywood, watch TV that is utterly crap, watch professional sports that are little more than long ads and, if you're silly enough to listen to the radio, listen to virtually uninterupted crap.

So don't listen to the radio. Don't watch TV.

I'm from Nebraska, where the radio choices are worse than just about anywhere else I've ever visited or lived. As soon as I was able, I put a CD changer in my car and never looked back. When I moved out of my parents' house, I didn't buy myself a TV. Am I depriving myself of "American culture"? Maybe. When people talk about Survivor or Friends, I just smile and nod politely. When someone says "Did you hear that song by Limp Bizkit where they blah blah blah?" it's the same deal. You tell me how much I'm missing.

Instead I've taken my "riches" and squandered them on media that I chose to partake in, and it would seem that I have the best of both worlds.

Know Whatchya Mean... (2)

4of12 (97621) | more than 13 years ago | (#175960)

The kids whose billions pay for this machine are not only fully aware it's a sham, they embrace the cynicism and still manage to enjoy the show.

I guess the music industry is the 3rd to go down this route, where the 2nd was politics, following the lead of the professional wrestling.

Re:Why? (1)

glgraca (105308) | more than 13 years ago | (#175962)

I think a society that really wishes to improve itself shouldnt treat the art it produces simply as business.

Bless you, BBC (5)

Vanders (110092) | more than 13 years ago | (#175964)

I was recently in America, and I was surprised to hear the same songs being played over and over again on not only the same stations, but on almost every other station on the dial. It was almost as if they were all running a continuous loop of five songs.

So, thank fuck for the BBC. No commercial interests means no Payola. No Payola means no endless drivel of the same stuff all the time. BBC Radio 2 has recently become the most listened to station in the UK, the main reason being that it plays a massive mix of old and new music.

I'm sure most of you already know, but the BBC also webcast both Radio 1 [] and Radio 2 [] over RealMedia streams. If you live outside of the UK and want to know what a non-commercial, music playing radio stations sounds like, I recomend you try them. You might be surprised.

P.S: & for those who don't like links in posts.

Re:Shocked (1)

Ronin X (121414) | more than 13 years ago | (#175968)


"Your winnings, sir."

(PS Don't mod this down unless you get the inside joke junior. Hmm. and if you do get it, still don't mod it down)

Music Industry May Face Lawsuits of Its Own (2)

YIAAL (129110) | more than 13 years ago | (#175972)

Payola in radio is legal, if it's disclosed. The illegality is in doing it without disclosure. The real story here is the likely consequences for the industry. RIAA has already quietly settled some price-fixing and racketeering suits, I hear. Regardless, they are now vulnerable to all sorts of lawsuits from independent record companies, listeners, etc. In addition, the Bush Administration may seek payback by beginning fraud and racketeering investigations. After all, the entertainment industry leans heavily Democratic, and its leaders are always calling for more regulation of (other) businesses.

Re:Why? (2)

AngrySpud (134678) | more than 13 years ago | (#175973)

The "compelling interest" that we should care about is that we, the people, "own" the airwaves that the broadcasters are using. The government is the steward of those airwaves. And what we have here is basically the sale of those airwaves at the expense of the taxpayer. This probably drives up the cost of CDs and all that other stuff, so we're the ones that are really getting hosed here.

Good Thing.... (2)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 13 years ago | (#175974)

...I don't listen to radio. I've been blatantly anti-radio for the past five years or so, only playing the occasional college station or Philly's 95.7 Jammin' Gold (funk and r&b hits from the 60's and 70's). What passes for "music" these days on big market stations like (again, in Philly) Y100 (100.3) or Q102 (102.1) is absolutely deplorable. The only "new" music station I like is WHFS in Washington DC and Baltimore, although I haven't heard them in the past 3 years so it's possible they've changed.

Yes, I may feel a bit out of touch ("What? You haven't heard the new Staind song?") but it pays off in the end. Less ads clouding my time, more good music. Hunting for new music is something I do out of word of mouth or trial through MP3. Had it been for radio, I would not have found out about Badly Drawn Boy [] or Grandaddy [] .

The way I see it, for those people who truly enojy music, radio is but a small stepping stone in the path to enlightenment (not to say I am "enlightened"). It comes early, and is very optional.

So, what can you do? Get mp3s by new artists to listen to, listen to college/community radio, loan CDs from your local library, ask your friends what they listen to and likewise, share your music with everyone else. Radio is lazy and creatively broke, and has been for a long time.

Re:This explains a great deal about Napster (1)

sallen (143567) | more than 13 years ago | (#175975)

No wonder they are all paranoid about Napster et al! Obviously, they are willing to pay a great deal to get thier songs to the masses, but now the power is in the hands of the individual.Yes, people still download what is on the radio, but in time that will change. When we are talking about THIS much money, someone somewhere is getting really scared.

You're right. It's the power and control, and they aren't about to give that up. As for 'in time that will change', not if they can help it. Even a big webcaster that has license agreements has is bgin hit by RIAA saying 'you're agreement doesn't allow for the listener to pick what they want to hear', they still want control of the playlists. They may bitch about payola (and that's what it is), but they're still paying it. and now evidently the stations are working it from their end and upping the ante. What I can't understand is how putting it through a 3rd party when it's still 'cash' makes it anything but payola. IMHO, it ought to just add another crime... money laundering. As you said though, it will change. Listerners will eventually be able to get what they want. But it'll take time, becuase while the stations may have the labels by the short ones, they have the artists in the same way... do it our way or your record goes nowhere. That'll only change when there are enough listeners to circumvent the hillary rosen's, riaa, the labels, and the stations taking the money. It's about time we get a little control back over what we listen to instead of being zombies to these arrogant aholes. (It is nice to know ratings are down. I used to listen to a clear channel station. After the merger, they turned it to crap. It's not even programmed on my car radio anymore.)

the joys of radio (1)

thexdane (148152) | more than 13 years ago | (#175979)

well i can say with having the joys of calling into radio stations that they are affected by the good old payola. they won't play stuff they aren't paid for, i have bugged them to play electronic music and they claim there's "no market for them" however electronic bands, when they come around regularly sell out and even have lines around the corner waiting to buy extra tickets.

it will also explain why they do not play music from independant labels, they aren't being paid to play them. so no money to play them means no airplay for that label

there are several labels i chan thing of that this affects metropolis records [] , projekt records [] , gashed records [] , inception records [] none of them are part of the riaa, so i gladly buy their albums but the downfall of this is they get no air play due to a "lack of a market" even in the light of over sold shows.

frankly i hope the ftc and the crtc (the canadian version of the ftc for you non-canucks) actively looks into this because it really is detrimental to our independant record labels and artists who aren't on a big label and get the big push or should i say pay off to the radio station now?

Changing music tastes (4)

RESPAWN (153636) | more than 13 years ago | (#175980)

Disclaimer:Most people wouldn't give a crap about the stuff I'm about to speil. So, don't read it if you don't want to.

Several things happened to change my tastes in music when I went away to college a couple of years ago.

1) The first and major thing that changed was that I was no longer in High School worrying about such trivial things such as fitting in with the "cool" group. Not that I really cared all that much for such things anyway, but when everybody in school was listening to a certain CD and were exclaiming how good it was I would go out and pick up the CD too. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. So, I mostly listened to what was popular at the time. I listened to what everybody else listened to. Of course, that just happened to be the pre-packaged crap that the music industry was spewing out, and paying good money to do so. But, once I got to college I stopped caring as much about such things

2)I went to college out of state and met many new friends who had come from different areas of the nation. Namely, they came from areas where there is something of a local music scene. (If there's any kind of local music scene here in Arkansas, I wish somebody would clue me in as to where to find it. All we ever get is the mindless, corporate crap.) As such, they had chances to see some of the lesser known bands and experience music that I'd never heard before. And these friends introduced me to this new music. I didn't realize that there could be such good music out there, and that it was good music that I'd never heard of. I had just assumed that if it were any good, then it would be played on the radio.

3)I went to school in a city that had a bit of a local music scene of its own. As such, I was able to experience a much wider array of music in person, than I ever had before. These were bands that had never come to Arkansas and probably never would.

4)Napster. Let's face it. Whether the record companies like it or not, Napster has changed the face of music forever. Now(or rather then; Napster is useless now), any time somebody mentions a band that I might like, I simply had to fire up Napster and download a few of their songs. If I liked them, I went out and bought the CD. If I didn't, oh well, nothing lost.

It is because of these four factors that I was able to discover a whole new breed of music: that of the non-prepackaged, corporatized crap. I found good music by talented artists who, more often than not, were making music to make music and not making music to make money. (Don't get me wrong on this point. Making good music can be very time consuming and can be very hard work. Good artists should get paid for their work.) I look at the popular music scene these days and I'm glad my music tastes have changed. I don't think I could have stomached the current boy band trend otherwise. Don't they remember New Kids On The Block? They know how it ends. Anyway, I encourage everybody who doesn't already to go out and give some lesser bands a try. You might like them.


Mp3 Payola (3)

derrickh (157646) | more than 13 years ago | (#175981)

It's not as if the same thing isn't happening on the internet. Payola [] is at least honest about it.

Mad Scientists with too much time on thier hands

The lyrics to "Pull my strings" (1)

electricmonk (169355) | more than 13 years ago | (#175987)

Moderators, please note: the Dead Kennedys were punk rock, not geek rock. Mod this post down accordingly, because you won't like it.

Now with that said, I present to you...

Pull my strings
By The Dead Kennedys

I'm tired of self respect
I can't afford a car
I want to be a prefab superstar

I wanna be a tool
Don't need no soul
Wanna make big money
Playing rock and roll

I'll make my music boring
I'll play my music slow
I ain't no artist
I'm a business man
No ideas of my own

I won't defend
Or rock the boat
Just sex and drugs
And rock and roll

And here we go...
Drool drool drool drool drool drool...
My Payola!
Drool drool drool drool drool drool...
My Payola!

You'll ten bucks to see me
On a fifteen foot high stage.
Fat ass bouncers kick the shit
Out of kids who try to dance.

My friends say I've lost my guts
I'll laugh and say
"That's rock and roll!"

But there's just one problem...

Is my cock big enough?
Is my brain small enough?
For you to make me a star?

Give me a toot,
I'll sell you my soul.
Pull my strings and I'll go far.
Give me a toot,
I'll sell you my soul.
Pull my strings and I'll go far.

And when I'm rich and meet Bob Hope
We'll shoot some golf
And shoot some dope

Is my cock big enough?
Is my brain small enough?
For you to make me a star?
Give me a toot,
And I'll sell you my soul
Pull my strings and I'll go far...

< )
( \

Slow economy brings new music trends? (1)

brystar (171956) | more than 13 years ago | (#175990)

I was thinking about this recently and I find it interesting that when the economy slows down generally new musical trends appear. If you look back the last 30-40 years during recessions or economic downturns mainstream music takes a turn. The last good example was 1991, with grunge.

I think its because when the economy slows down the major labels try to save money in what they spend for promotion. This allows artists on smaller labels a chance to compete with the big boys. People like Nirvana on the Subpop label have a chance...

Some other examples are:
1981 - New Wave
1974 - Punk
1963 - British Invasion

I don't see much hope for the future as the laws seem ineffective and the Big Labels have just too money. ~Bryan Starbuck

Re:An American Problem (2)

tshak (173364) | more than 13 years ago | (#175991)

American media is the worst. By far. The reason is simple, the business of America is business, the research of America is business, the government of America is business and art in America is just business.

I've only live in the US, and I have to say that you couldn't have put it better.

Columbia is doing it again (1)

dstanfor (175527) | more than 13 years ago | (#175992)

Read Salons article about how Columbia is doing it again here [] .

You also may want to do a search on Salon for payola, or clear channel. Some very good articles.

bah! (1)

kligh (178809) | more than 13 years ago | (#176000)

This sort of thing is exactly why I never listen to (mainstream) radio anyhow. I typically listen to MP3s, NPR, digitally imported [] (an online radio station, specializing in European Trance, Techno, Hi-NRG ... if you don't trust me) and on rare occasion, I'll listen to our local pop radio station.

This allows me to listen to whatever I want. Without having the same songs being forced into my ears due to the licensing deals, and other fun stuff of that nature.

Re:Mp3 Payola (2)

Erasmus Darwin (183180) | more than 13 years ago | (#176002)

It's not as if the same thing isn't happening on the internet. Payola is at least honest about it.

This raises an interesting question -- at what point does it cease to be "payola" and instead become legitimate advertising? To take a slightly silly example, I could theoretically purchase a Slashdot banner ad along the lines of "READ MY POSTS." with a link to my user page, as a means of using payola to do an end-run around Slashdot's moderation system. So here're some of my thoughts on where the difference comes into play:

Radio is a very limited resource. As mentioned in the article, radio is limited enough that it's considered a "public resource". (In the US) We've got the FTC regulating who gets to do what. In the realm of radio, I can't necessarily create my own (non-pirate) radio station. On the Internet, virtually anyone can publish -- although Internet radio would be trickier when you factor in bandwidth considerations, but it's still got to be cheaper by a couple orders of magnitude. I suppose someone could argue that '' does have possession of a very limited resource in the form of their domain name (as an asset, I'd guess that domain might be valued in the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars), but that doesn't create nearly an exclusive club as the limited resource of radio broadcast frequencies.

Obvious ads. In the case of other mediums, it's usually (although admittedly not always) clear what is and isn't an ad. No one would argue that a 5 minute long "commercial" (played during a regular commercial break) of a music group's new video is payola. Provided the band didn't suck, it might even be a welcome change from the typical commercial jingles and such. Similarly, with my aforementioned idea of a "read my posts" banner ad, I can't imagine a Slashdot reader not recognizing it as anything other than a banner ad. In radio, however, I can't recall ever hearing the DJs admit, "We're being paid to promote this song." Furthermore, the article specificially mentions cases where the stations didn't make such a connection clear (and wound up getting fined an amount that was only a small percentage of their profit on the deal). So I'd argue something that's obviously payola isn't as likely to be considered payola. But even when clear disclaimers, we must still consider the notion brought up in the previous paragraph that radio's a limited resource.

User-directed experience. In the realm of radio, you've got much less control over what goes on. Your choices are generally limited to "listen to this station", "switch to another station" (who may also be pimping songs and may not even play the genres of music that you like), or "turn the radio off". With the Internet, it's generally a fully user-directed experience. If I start listening to a band being pimped by and they suck, I can easily decide to go the next band on the list. Or the middle of the list. Or even the end of the list. My options are much more flexible than either jumping to another website or turning off the PC. And, even if we were to pretend that I couldn't control what I saw on any given website, the number of websites out there is multiple orders of magnitudes greater than the number of radio stations out there.

So in conclusion, while the payola thing has some similarities to radio station payola, there are some key differences that make it not nearly as slimy (including the point made by the previous poster that they're honest about what they're doing).

Re:check out this article (1)

GemFire (192853) | more than 13 years ago | (#176003)

"This was on the front page of the LA Times a few days ago and presents the record industry in a much better light: "

Tell me, how does this article put the Recording Industry in a better light?

The article makes them not only look bad, but also stupid. They should be experienced enough to know their market (and not sign 90% flops.) A company deserves to go out of business if they have that bad of a view of their market. Other businesses don't survive with those kind of averages. If you want to succeed in business, the first rule is to LEARN your market.

That's one of the most idiotic defenses for overcharging customers and underpaying artists I've ever heard. "We're so stupid we sign on 90% flops and give each of them $750,000!" Either they really are that stupid, or they're lying.

Re:Internet killed the radio star... (2)

Sodium Attack (194559) | more than 13 years ago | (#176004)

You better believe it's causing me to buy fewer major label CDs... because I actually can find *better music*. It's a win for good music, and a loss for the kind of crap that radio wallows in. Radio's a wasteland

Yes, 90% of what they play on the radio is crap. As Theodore Sturgeon noted, 90% of everything is crap. 90% of independent music is also crap.

I'm curious as to how you (or anyone else who would care to comment) separate the wheat from the chaff. What tools/websites/recommendations/etc. do you use to identify the few good groups among all the independent crap?

How will XM satellite radio fare?? (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 13 years ago | (#176009)

In all this talk about the problems of too-limited playlist of songs on radio stations due to the payola situation, it will be very interesting to see what happens when XM satellite radio starts up later this year.

With 100 channels of audio programming, a limited playlist ain't going to cut it for listeners. You know there will be a huge choice of radio formats under XM, which means potentially a lot of music that we don't normally hear on FM radio stations now have a national outlet through XM. That means a lot of alternate and ethnic music could be heard nationally for the first time.

Internet radio. (1)

perlyking (198166) | more than 13 years ago | (#176012)

I am thoroughly sick of normal radio stations because they play the same crap over and over again, i'm guessing one of the reasons is "incentives" as mentioned here.

The other reason is that brain dead DJ's talk over as much of the song as they can - either because of ego or record companies ask them to so that it reduces the appeal of recording songs off the radio.

I've recently looked at the kind of radio stations you can get on the internet and if you want to listen to decent music they are the way to go.
If I want to listen to "rock/heavy metal" music our main radio station has (as far as I can tell) a massive 2 hours a week where they play it - the rest of the week is spent playing the same songs every hour.


Re:Good Thing.... (2)

guinsu (198732) | more than 13 years ago | (#176014)

I feel your pain man, Philly radio is horrible for newer rock. Occasionalyl I'll get in a New York or Baltimore station and think "Wow, this is so much better than Philly".

Radio...HA! (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 13 years ago | (#176015)

that's the reason I have a MP3 CD player in my car.....


Re:It figures... (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 13 years ago | (#176016)

You can set your watch by when WAPE (In Jacksonville) plays Destiny's Child.....god I hate that station....


Re:Everybody said the same about newspapers... (1)

87C751 (205250) | more than 13 years ago | (#176017)

Radio is not dead and it wont die anytime soon.
I'll grant that, but for the more than casual music listener, radio's usability has dropped to essentially zero.

As previously ranted (sans link; how do you search the archived stuff, anyway?), I live in a city dominated by Clear Channel and Capital Cities radio properties. There's only one AAA station, and they're now aiming downmarket to catch the kiddies. The AAA genre, in general, has been the last bastion of progressive radio. But, as shown in this [] article on the Gavin [] site, AAA programmers are intentionally abandoning their progressive listeners to move their focus to the low end of their demographic. We're now referred to as "heritage listeners" [] .

Of course, the net helps. But it complicates my life, as I need to record the Radio Paradise [] stream and burn it to CDR so I can have some decent music in my vehicle. (and, of course, I can't find a stream recorder that will just do 30-min chunks repeatedly)

I'm a realist, and I understand that radio has passed on. Doesn't mean I don't miss it.

We've covered this before... (1)

sdo1 (213835) | more than 13 years ago | (#176019)

And salon has posted articles: la /index.html /s fx/index.html

Re:Drinks Anyone? (1)

NeuroManson (214835) | more than 13 years ago | (#176020)

Or The Macarena?
Or Boy Bands?
Or Brittney Spears?
Or Who Let The Dorks- Er- Dogs out?

Re:Internet killed the radio star... (1)

juju2112 (215107) | more than 13 years ago | (#176021)

I'm curious as to how you (or anyone else who would care to comment) separate the wheat from the chaff. What tools/websites/recommendations/etc. do you use to identify the few good groups among all the independent crap?

For me, getting DSL has helped a lot in finding new artists. It makes realaudio and streaming mp3s not annoying (no pauses while playing).

If you go to any particular genre on, they have a really neat feature that lets you stream all the songs they have in that genre. So if i'm doing something that's conductive to having background music around (like coding or something), i just click on the link to stream that genre. I think the songs are sorted by number of downloads (not sure tho). If any particular song catches my ear that night, I just go to that artist's web site and d/l all the music they have available. Usually if i really like a song someone's done, then their other songs are good, too. Then, i burn all the good mp3's to cd for use in my mp3-capable cd-player [] , and boom... almost 20 hours of non-interrupted music. :)

I guess you could say this was probably the whole point of in the first place. But i tried it when i had my dial-up connection before, and I am just way too impatient for that crap. Very painless with broadband, tho.

-- juju

College Radio (1)

skrim (217062) | more than 13 years ago | (#176022)

for all I know they are in on it too, but where ever I live I have usually listened to the local college radio stations. They play a variety of music and I dont have to listen to the prepackged crap (too much).

Re:Breaking news : Grocery stores do it to! (1)

Manitcor (218753) | more than 13 years ago | (#176024)

And the only people who make money out of it in the end are the lawyers.

You make a good point though its not wrong for gorcery stores to do what they do considering that they own the space.

Honestly other than FCC stuff I find it hard to believe that Payola is wrong considering it is the stations choice as to what they play. However I can see it becasue they have such an influence to thier market.

You cant call up a radio station and tell them you want to listen to some other song (unless its all request nite). In a grocery store you are free to pay attention to or ignore any products offered to you. Its only a problem when 1 soda, cereal, milk what ever company buys ALL the shelf space or does some type of microsoftesque deal.

Re:Breaking news : Grocery stores do it to! (1)

Manitcor (218753) | more than 13 years ago | (#176025)

I agree I was just clearing up the grocery store analogy. I agree that Payola is wrong: Honestly other than FCC stuff I find it hard to believe that Payola is wrong considering it is the stations choice as to what they play. However I can see it becasue they have such an influence to thier market. Its not really due to license of the public airwaves (though through the license is how it is enforced). It is the fact that these are public entities and have the ability to change the minds of the public at large with thier corprate views. This was for the grocery store poster who thought it was a bd thing to sell endcap space: You cant call up a radio station and tell them you want to listen to some other song (unless its all request nite). In a grocery store you are free to pay attention to or ignore any products offered to you. Its only a problem when 1 soda, cereal, milk what ever company buys ALL the shelf space or does some type of microsoftesque deal. As I said its not bad that grocery stores do this so long as they dont allow the big guys to muscle out the little ones, though this does happen.

Heavy rotation sucks... (4)

Exedore (223159) | more than 13 years ago | (#176026)

One of the local "alternative" rock stations (how can they be an "alternative" when there's so many of them, and they're all the same?) just completed a weekend of programming that was not based on their usual rotation system.

Basically, the DJ's dug up some of their old (and new) favorites and played those instead. Oh, it wasn't like they went too far out on a limb... they were all songs that had been played on the station at one time or another, when they were "current".

Still, the listener response was overwhelmingly positive, with comments such as "Man, I haven't heard some of that stuff in a while. You guys should do this more often!" The DJ's agreed, but sadly they were back to playing the same old schlock on Monday morning. Why? The payola system, most likely.


Re:ugh (1)

Water Paradox (231902) | more than 13 years ago | (#176029)

NPR is bought and sold in the same way. If you've ever been involved in a news event covered by NPR, you'd realize they miss as much as any other outlet newswise. I've been in several, particularly notable was when 10,000 people, an amazing coalition of mutually-exclusive groups: students, punks, teamsters, farmers, and environmental activists, showed up in Washington D.C. [] to protest the WTO. NPR talked about how punk kids were dressed, forgetting to interview anyone on the actual topic, which was how 10,000 people surrounded a dozen square blocks of Washington D.C. and refused to allow anyone through to the WTO meetings happening inside. All non-violently. Inside the ring formed by protesters was another ring formed by police with weapons and gases. You missed it, but NPR was blasted for their trivialized approach to the matter, and the next day they had a little more material, but if you really wanted to know what was happening, you had to turn to the Independent Media. [] NPR sold out years ago. Look at their sponsors--huge multinational corporations who delight in news which makes people feel like everything in the world is operating smoothly. NPR is for rich people, or wannabe-rich-people. I listen only when I have no other alternative, praying their condescending tone doesn't seep into my brain...


Re:An idea (1)

Water Paradox (231902) | more than 13 years ago | (#176030)

Non-profit does not always equal poor and virtuous. NPR is bought, long ago, by Ford Foundation, Archer Daniels Midland, and other huge-money interests. Listen to their mini-advertisements at the end of each hour! They appeal to a "smahter, well-ped" audience who doesn't need the no-brainer car-salesman tactics you'll find on late-night TV. A brief mention at the top of the hour is all ADM requests. They give money to NPR and get a tax break for it--what a scam! NPR is not alternative [] . It is junkmail like all the rest, even though they did interview Linus Torvalds yesterday.

If you want real news, you have to find it yourself.

Re:So why go after Napster? (1)

Water Paradox (231902) | more than 13 years ago | (#176031)

I like that word, apesh. I think you just coined a new word. Don't get apesh about it, though. I think any dictionary that's not apesh oughta carry this word. Apesh. Apesh. Yes, I like this new word. Should it be pronounced "ayp-ish" or "uh-pesh", though. Depends on where yer from, probably. I like this word. Thanks.

Re:G-A-why is this even a story? (1)

Water Paradox (231902) | more than 13 years ago | (#176032)

Geez. Drink some coffee or something. Chill out. The story is relevant because of the RIAA link, and stories like this need to be corroborated in detail for those of us who prefer not to believe all rumors. Some of us like facts.

Everybody said the same about newspapers... (1)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 13 years ago | (#176033)

Radio is not dead and it wont die anytime soon.

Many people predicted the death of dead-tree newspapers and books, because the Internet would be able to deliver news and entertainment to everyone in cheap, convenient handheld devices.

Well, dead-tree media still exists, handhelds are still expensive and wireless connections are still scarce, expensive and doesnt work inside Metro (Subway, Underground, whatever your country calls this kind of train) tunnels. Paper does.

Radio will still be among us in portable units (like Sonys WalkMan) and cars, specially when you consider the lack of bandwith (read previous paragraph) to stream mp3 to portable units.

And theres the price subject. Anyone can aford a $20 AM/FM radio, but $200 for an MP3 player is too much, add to this the cost of broadband wireless connection for streaming, and... well, you get the picture...

jamie? (1)

rppp01 (236599) | more than 13 years ago | (#176035)

So, I'm being led to believe that Jon "Stories from the hellmouth part 13" Katz has a brother? Jamie Katz? Sounds like a bad dream. They're starting to grow on trees.

Breaking news : Grocery stores do it to! (2)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 13 years ago | (#176039)

Word gets out, Slashdot spigots spouts torrents of nasty verbage at grocery stores for selling space on end-caps.

Heavens to hell, now how is Joe Six Pack ever going to get his instant-maple-flavored-mash potatoes with new SuperCheezyKrapomatic potatoes staring him the face!

Its obvious, he is being forced to buy into these new potatoes, the refuse to let him pass down the isle to try the "other brands"

Slashdot versus the RIAA.

It happens in nearly every industry.

Q:Anyone Know which station this was? A: KINK FM (1)

discovercomics (246851) | more than 13 years ago | (#176040)

Um... Yes if you read to the bottom you find out that

According to one document, Clark earned about $50,000 last year for songs added to the playlist at
Portland, Ore.'s KINK-FM, a division of Viacom-owned Infinity Broadcasting. The bank lists every time KINK aired a song followed by a specific dollar amount and the name of the label Clark billed for the play time. For example, after KINK added a song by Fiona Apple on Jan. 17, Sony's 550 label paid Clark $1,000, the bank says. Vivendi Universal's Mercury label paid Clark $1,000 on Feb. 14 after KINK added a song by Kim Richey. Bertelsmann's Windham Hill label, EMI Group's Capitol label and AOL Time Warner's Giant label each paid about the same fee for songs by Janis Ian, Shivaree and Steely Dan, according to the bank. Another document, titled "non-money stuff," shows a list of songs played by KINK and a corresponding list of products or services, including concert tickets and a promise that certain acts might appear later at a station benefit.

Damn I had to endure the 13 cookies and two pop up windows a second time...

Anyone Know which station this was? (1)

ratguy (248395) | more than 13 years ago | (#176042)

The LA Times article mentions that the station was out of Portland, Oregon. I'd be curious to know which one, as I only live 1 1/2 hours away, and listen to several stations from there.

I'd be willing to put money on it being Rosie 105. This is a station that changes formats every few years, and plays the same damn thing all day long. Currently it's Top 40 crap.


Re:Anyone Know which station this was? (1)

ratguy (248395) | more than 13 years ago | (#176043)

Alright.. somebody mod my dumb ass down for not reading the entire article before posting. About 2/3 of the way down it mentions KINK as being the station in question. It's not one I ever listen too, so I can't really comment on what sort of station they are.


Re:Breaking news : Grocery stores do it to! (1)

Kibo (256105) | more than 13 years ago | (#176044)

Some stores are paid to place fixtures with specific products on certain locations. But the product that a grocery store provides isn't the location, or quantity of new and improved Crap-in-a-can. The stores provide the availability of all the stuff you want, or might want, to buy. A better anology would be the collusion of some soft drink companies to "buy" more linear feet to prevent other soft drink companies from selling their wares. And it pisses me off when I go into buy some of those sweet sweet Stewert's [] sodas [] only to find that they're out again, and all the wolves left were little scraps of cardboard. Or Afri Cola. Try finding that at Safeway.

And if I'm not mistaken, smaller companies have sued larger soda manufactures, and I think pepsi sued coke once too. Perhaps there's a use for the RIAA's lawyers afterall. The smaller lables could sue the larger lables, and huge legal bills would be had by all. It seems a shame to have to defeat ones enemy, when ones enemy might be perfectly satisfied to take care of themselves.

Drinks Anyone? (1)

CrazyLegs (257161) | more than 13 years ago | (#176047)

I can't really figure out why anyone is surprised by all this. I mean, how else can you explain "The Pina Colada Song"?

Blows yer mind, don't it?

Re:An American Problem (1)

Mercaptan (257186) | more than 13 years ago | (#176048)

And not only that, we also enjoy exporting our American crap to other countries!

My town (1)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 13 years ago | (#176052)

I guess this helps to explain why the last good alternative/rock station got bought out in my town and switched over to YET ANOTHER classic rock station. It also explains why the one main teenie bopper station plays Britney and Destiny's Child every hour. They're all getting 'paid' to put some of that crap on air, instead of making a concerted effort to play whatever people want to hear. Which is why I listen to burned CD's from my collection of purchased CD's. Oh yes, there is a purpose for copying CD's. So I don't have to listen to the radio (which record companies push their boy-bands on), and I don't have to worry about the originals that are OUT-OF-PRINT being stolen from my car. A $.50 copied CD is a lot less of a loss to me than $16!

Re:An American Problem (1)

tb3 (313150) | more than 13 years ago | (#176056)

Thanks, I should have posted the URL. What happened to Humble and Fred!!?? They've been on the morning show since forever!

"What are we going to do tonight, Bill?"

Re:An American Problem (2)

tb3 (313150) | more than 13 years ago | (#176057)

I have to agree. Between the babbling and the commercials I hardly hear any music. Radio is better in Canada, too. Ottawa has (had?) a great FM station, Montreal supposedly has a great FM station, and Toronto has the mother of all Alternative stations, CFNY, which now calls itself "The Edge" unfortunately.
Ever hear the Rush song "Spirit of Radio"? They wrote it as a tribute to the early days of CFNY.

"What are we going to do tonight, Bill?"

Did you know you can buy airtime over the web? (2)

Astrorunner (316100) | more than 13 years ago | (#176059)

"Yes you too can pay DJ's to play your music from the comfort of your own home.", coming to a radio station near you.

So what happened to BYTE magazine? (1)

geoswan (316494) | more than 13 years ago | (#176060)

Word gets out, Slashdot spigots spouts torrents of nasty verbage at grocery stores for selling space on end-caps.

He is being sarcastic, but he brings up a worthwhile point. Have you ever gone into a store with a magazine rack, and inquired as to whether they might carry a magazine you might be interested in?

They can't do it. They don't handle that part of the store. Some big corporation has an arrangement to manage those racks. They keep them stocked. They decide which magazines to carry, and whether to place them in the front row.

So, what happened to BYTE? BYTE was a truly excellent magazine. It was once the premier computer magazine. But then computers became really popular, and BYTE became harder to find. Crappier, more homogenized, less informative magazines started squeezing BYTE out. How the heck did that happen?

I figured it was a triumph of marketing muscle over editorial excellence.

Re:my listening habits (2)

number one duck (319827) | more than 13 years ago | (#176063)

The great thing is, this doesn't bother the radio station at all. Its all about percieved popularity, they don't have anything like the Neilsons to actually figure out how many people listen to them, at least in this area.

Re:Good Thing.... (2)

number one duck (319827) | more than 13 years ago | (#176064)

There was actually an all-music, no-talk whatsoever (excusing the occaisonal required call letters) in this area too, for a while. It mysteriously acquired Bob & Tom and a bunch of loud, annoying dj's at some point, with narry an explanation...

conspiracy theory :) (2)

PW2 (410411) | more than 13 years ago | (#176071)

I wonder if Katz is trying his luck with someone else's name on the article... :)

This just in... (2)

Magumbo (414471) | more than 13 years ago | (#176074)

Users of the LA Times website have noticed that so called "pop up" advertisements appear when loading news stories. This has led some to believe that money is being made. LA Times editors could not be reached for immediate comment, but we spoke with MSNBC executives who assure us that these claims are unfounded. "The press is fair and unbiased. Moreover, we don't make money, we lose money--to bring the best news to the citizens of the world"


Re:It figures... (1)

minghe (441878) | more than 13 years ago | (#176076)

"In a working day (9-5), one station would play the same songs four times during the course of the day."

Dont know where you live, but here in Stockholm, Sweden the ratio can be up to 10, 15 times / day.

Canada has apologized (1)

kypper (446750) | more than 13 years ago | (#176077)

...repeatedly for Bryan Adams.

We also apologize for Celine Dion.

Now leave us be! Please!

Re:Breaking news : Grocery stores do it to! (1)

lurker4hire (449306) | more than 13 years ago | (#176078)

This grocery store analogy is fundamentaly flawed

Grocery stores own the space that they are selling, where as radio stations must apply for a license to use the publicly owned air waves...
i don't know about you, but i'd rather see more productive use of the public spectrum, instead of the overly commercial crap we're fed... imho, stations that take this sort of kickback should have their license revoked to make room for stations that play what people actually want to hear...

Re:An American Problem (1)

lurker4hire (449306) | more than 13 years ago | (#176079)

102.1 "the edge"
used to be CFNY, a really cool station that played music nobody was willing to put money behind...

came the mid 90s, and that music now had money behind it... and they were promptly purchased by a bigger company (don't ask me who, i don't know...) they are now still playing the same "alternative" music that they were playing 5 years ago... there has been no progression.. yes they do play "new" music in addition the lot's of old nirvana and tool (which is great, just not what you'd expect from something which touts itself as the bleeding edge of new music), but the "new" music you do hear sound suspicously like the "old" music, also there is also a near monopoly of big label bands and more ads than music during peak listening hours...
basically they're no better than any other commerical "alternative" station...

Think about it (1)

Johnny5000 (451029) | more than 13 years ago | (#176081)

If you listen to commercial radio for more than a week, it's obvious that they're not appealing to what the listeners want. Even if you like that kind of music, how many times can you possibly want to listen to 'get your freak on'? The same songs are played over, and over again..

If anything I would guess that hurts CD sales. If you already heard the song so much on the radio (once an hour, every hour) that you're sick of it, why buy the CD?

So if they're not playing these songs to please the listeners, who are they trying to please? Hmmm... whoever paid them the most, I guess.

-Johnny 5000

Re:Why? (1)

Johnny5000 (451029) | more than 13 years ago | (#176082)

We did stop listening. They're still playing crap.

I dont have any statistics to back it up, but I would be willing to bet that the majority of people dont like listening to Top 40 crap. However, enough people listen to it to allow the radio stations to make a profit. That's all they need. They dont need 51% of the population's approval. They just need enough approval to make money.

Lets say murder wasnt illegal, but it was certainly frowned upon. I'm a hitman. Nearly everyone on earth would think what I do is deplorable. I dont need their business. All I need is one person to pay me, and I've got it made.

This is one of the limitationss to capitalism. The needs/wants/desires of a majority dont matter
if more money can be made by appealing to enough people to make a profit.

And with a capital intensive business like radio, it discourages others from appealing to those who are left behind by the top 40 crap.

-Johnny 5000

It figures... (1)

Blue Aardvark House (452974) | more than 13 years ago | (#176083)


And the recording industry wonders why sites like Napster sprung up? People got sick of listening to the same songs over and over, but Napster allowed them to choose what they wanted to hear. In a working day (9-5), one station would play the same songs four times during the course of the day. And not just one song, but a small group of them.

I don't even listen to the radio much now, except as background noise while driving. Even then, I'll surf NPR or news stations as well.


As a former station employee (4)

PhreakinPenguin (454482) | more than 13 years ago | (#176087)

I can tell you this sort of thing happens every day. I have seen numerous times when we needed a prize to give away for a summer or fall book promotion and normally our indie or record label would "donate" a prize in exchange for us playing a new song in late night rotation. Take a listen to your favorite station between midnight and 5am and see how many new songs are playing that you normally don't hear. About 70% of all the songs we played on the overnight shift were favors to labels or indies. It's just one of those things that everyone in the industry knows about and kind of accepts. But to be honest, it's nice for the pd to have a big screen tv shipped to his house so the record companies can show their appreciation. Hell, I've even seen an extra jet ski and trailer sent to a station on "accident".


(stop worrying and learn to love) the MUSIC BUSINE (1)

jakanlab (455271) | more than 13 years ago | (#176088)

If it weren't for the music business we would all have to actually visit Orlando to sample the freshest new beats for the cool new hip generation.
Also, we wouldn't have the same handful of pop giants illuminating our brief lives with new insights and charming melodies year after year.

Follow the Bouncing Dollar... (2)

Zen Mastuh (456254) | more than 13 years ago | (#176089)

Check out this link [] to find out what corporations own the media companies. There is another site (sorry, no link) that shows the number of companies who produce virtually all (90%) of the media consumed in the U.S. It used to be over a hundred companies but now is less than six. I think that RICO should be applied to them.

The Dead Kennedy's had something to say about the payola thing back in the day (~1980) that is still relevant today--as all good art is:

And when I'm rich
And meet Bob Hope
We'll shoot some golf,
We'll shoot some dope.
Drool, drool, drool, drool..
My Payola!
The music we hear is decided upon in six boardrooms by racketeers. That's laissez faire for ya'.

So why go after Napster? (1)

Thnurg (457568) | more than 13 years ago | (#176091)

I don't get it. The same people who went apesh** trying to shut down a service that promoted their work for free are paying radio stations to broadcast to a non-paying audience. I've said it before and I'll say it again. It has nothing to do with revenue, and everything to do with control. What's wrong with this picture?

Public radio doesn't whore itself out.... (1)

cprek (457591) | more than 13 years ago | (#176093)

I'm a DJ at a college radio station (WRFL in Lexington, KY) and can really identify with people's disgust in mainstream radio. I just hope they don't think all radio is like that. Public radio has long been a champion of non-commercial, underground, good music WAY before the Internet and music became synonymous. Particularly college radio stations that operate on shoe-string budgets with volunteer DJs that are highly knowledgable about all types of music and devote themselves to exposing it to a wider audience. We've been fighting tooth and nail with the corporate mainstream since day one and deserve some respect. Not all radio sucks. Some stations (ehem, such as my own) go out of their way to provide an audience with good music. We don't get paid. Operate 24 hours a day (which means some poor DJ is sitting there on a 3am - 6am shift). Take money out of our own pockets to buy CDs to play for the general public. Enforce rules to keep the mainstream out of our programming. *At WRFL there is a rule where you cannot play the same song from the same band more than once in a SIX HOUR period. (As opposed to 20 minutes on mainstream stations) Lately, we've even been ordering CDs from unsigned artists at to but in our playbox for regular rotation! Internet music distribution is a wonderful new thing, but good radio should still be respected because it has benefits that "Internet radio" does not. So, don't hate radio, just hate the corporations that are whoring it out. Find a public or college radio station in your area, because you can support them just by listening.
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