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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.Instead, there is another, less reasonable way artists find their music being played on Big Time radio._________________________________________________________________________________ is the former president of Rykodisc.He currently advises numerous entertainment and non-entertainment firms and individuals.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?
All of the above seems (and is) fair and reasonable.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.Your record even might get a few spins (though likely only during times when prisoners, insomniacs, and long-haul truckers are listening), but those spins would peter out pretty fast.The indies would come back and say something along the lines of, “We’ve got our toe in the door with station KCUF, and if you can just give it a bit more juice, they’ll move it from overnights to drive-time.” And you may give them that juice, and it may get a few spins during drive-time.