Thursday, March 8, 2007

A disguised attempt to put the paddles to big radio

P2Pnet has got a neat article on how the FCC has mandated that the BIG 4 Radio Broadcasting Companies (Clear Channel, CBS Radio, Entercom and Citadel Broadcasting) must set aside a few hours per day to broadcast indie music. It's part of a settlement resulting from "payola" allegations from the FCC.

Basically, there's a reason why every radio station plays the same music. Duh, the broadcasters are paid by the record companies to play certain artists. In the 50's and 60's it was like $10 or a ham sandwich to the starving DJ, and the artist was usually an unknown looking to get his or her album on the airwaves so they could make it to commercial stardom. Today, the system has been turned on it's head, millions of dollars are changing hands, and the artists have already "made it" and are simply promoting albums, concerts, etc.

My opinion of the settlement? Stupid, stupid, stupid. Is this the FCC in a Republican administration??? Interfering with the mandate of the market??? Big music is DYING. And I say, LET IT DIE. I don't even know anyone who LISTENS to the radio anymore. The out-of-control payola has forced music homogeneity on the radio and it's KILLING both the broadcasters and the record companies. If they can't figure it out themselves and change their ways, who is the freakin' FCC to come in and mandate change. A few hours of indie artists per week?! Give me a break...

And don't cry for the indie artists. They have discovered a little thing called the internet. And that scene is THRIVING. I've heard more new, indie music in six months of listening to Last.fm than I have in 20 years of listening to the radio. Internet radio is the revolution, baby! If the FCC wants to help someone, help internet broadcasters! Their FEDERALLY MANDATED royalty fees just got jacked through the roof. Coincidence? I think not. So, Big Radio plays a few indie artists at 2am every day and stays on life-support, while indie internet-radio gets the wet banket of crazy royalty fees thrown over it.

Message to the FCC: Quit f*cking with the market. That's not your job. What you end up doing is snuffing out the competition before they even get going. That creates the very monopolies you were trying to prevent. Monopolies hurt America. Seriously.

So, where can you go and hear this indie music? I thought you'd never ask:

Magnatune
Last.fm
Shoutcast
Pandora
SomaFM
Digitally Imported
and my personal favorite for underground hip-hop: Smoothbeats.com

I personally think internet-radio is the best thing that's happened to music in my lifetime. I just hope it's allowed to thrive...
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