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Unfortunately, this type of organic, merit-based radio play usually does not end with an artist’s song actually being programmed and played.

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They lost control of perpetual copyrights when artists could fund their own recordings via the advent of Pro Tools.

They lost control of distribution once Apple and Tune Core got in the game.

Rather, they work more like an intermediary to pass the label’s money to the radio station. One could argue, in fact, that due to the ineffectiveness of other means of promotion, Payola has become even more frenzied and high-stakes.

These indies, with the money paid to them from the labels, pay the radio station money for various listener give-aways, bumper stickers and so on. You may ask, at this point, “well, fine, I get it…the majors pay a bunch of money, and they get their records played, but why couldn’t some non-major (indie label or investor) do the same — pay a bunch of money and get a hit record?

For an artist to even be considered by a Program Director at one of these stations, a tremendous amount of other activity must be going on.

For instance, the artist may have had tremendous (and I do mean ) success at one of those lower formats (AAA or College); or the artist might have had their music used in a TV commercial or film; or (and this is rare) the artist could be blowing up (selling out live shows, etc.) in a local market, and one of these Big Time stations “tests” their music during one of their “specialty” shows (i.e.

And, arguably, they lost control of publicity once artists began using social media to connect directly with their constituent group. Why has radio remained in tact when all the other elements in the industry have changed?

To answer that question, it’s first important to understand how a song gets played on “Big Time” radio.

If there’s little or no response, the song doesn’t get played for very long.

“Big Time” radio doesn’t typically operate that way.

By “Big Time” radio, I’m referring to formats like Adult Contemporary (AC), Hot Adult Contemporary (Hot AC), Contemporary Hits Radio (CHR), Active Rock, Pop, and Urban.

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