The business relationship between record labels and radio stationsis the very essence of the musicbusiness. To put it simply, they need each other. A record label needs radio air-play to deliver the music of its artists to an audience of radio listeners. A radio station needs music programming to broadcast to that audience.
Radio air-play is traditionally the best way for a record label to get their recorded music heard by the public. The more a song is played on the radio and heard by listeners, the more chance the song has to become a part of the publicís consciousness. If people hear a song often enough to get familiar with it, they may like it and want to buy it ó thatís the only reason a record label invests so much time and money to get air-play. Itís a proven marketing tactic that, when successful, leads to billions of dollars in record sales annually.
Music-formatted radio stations both commercial and non-commercial get their music for free from record labels. The radio industry uses that music to attract listeners to their stations. If they get enough listeners, consistently, they can attract advertisers who are eager to reach a select demographic group of consumers. So, in a sense, a radio station uses music like bait to attract people of a certain age group, gender, and ethnicity so they can deliver listeners of that demographic group to their advertisers. If they do their programming right, radio stations can charge advertisers handsomely for the radio ads they air, and the income from advertisers is radioís primary source of revenue.
(Excerpted from "How Record Labels and Radio Stations Work Together" by Christopher Knab)
Much like the fabled MTV, radio seems less like a haven for music than it once was in the good old days. Even stations that focus on one particular genre of music tend to only play the same things over and over again.
Not to mention the ratio between the time spent listening to music and the time spent listening to ads seems to grow more and more uneven.
There are a few reasons for this change, but the most obvious one is money. Those ads are basically commercials which companies pay radio stations for air time in order to talk about their wares. While initially becoming sporadic, the fact is that now commercials air in blocks that can last up to 10 minutes before you finally get 5 minutes of music.
Itís no longer about the music Ė itís about the money and the ad revenue and the marketing. And you know who the real victims are? You, the listener.
If you are looking for ways to get your music fix during the commute or just during your travels, we recommend CDs or satellite radio if you can afford it. And if the radio at home isnít doing it, you might just want to click here. Television providers like this often have hundreds of music channels that really do play nothing but music.