Report: SoundExchange's Michael Huppe Ponders Whether Music Sales Would Be Better Off Without Radio
NAB Calls Comments A 'Rant'
June 10, 2014 at 3:56 AM (PT)
The industry is buzzing this morning over remarks made by SOUNDEXCHANGE CEO/Pres. MICHAEL HUPPE at THE NEW MUSIC SEMINAR. HUPPE opened his his keynote speech asking, "if FM radio went away tomorrow, would music sales go down or up?”
BILLBOARD reports, "HUPPE's argument claimed FM radio hurts music sales, fails to set trends, profits enormously to the tune of $17 billion a year while failing to fairly compensate musicians and labels," and "made his case by presenting three key points in history where he claimed FM radio either had no impact or hurt music sales: The 1920s-1940s when the dawn of radio allegedly stalled the sales of records following the the launch of the phonograph; the 1970s U.K. when commercial radio first hit and had a 'negligible impact on music,' according to a UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS study by STAN LIEBOWITZ; and a more recent example of CUMULUS radio's introduction in NEW YORK CITY last year of NASH-FM country radio, which he claimed had no increase on country music sales."
HUPPE used LORDE and DAFT PUNK as examples of artists that social media and other digital venues had exposed to lsiteners before FM radio, saying, “when LORDE and DAFT PUNK demonstrated that people want to hear their songs, FM radio decided to broadcast their music to millions of people for free without paying artists and labels anything at all.”
In response to HUPPE's comments, NAB EVP/Communications DENNIS WHARTON said, "We were saddened but not surprised by Mr. HUPPE's anti-radio comments. Keep in mind that this rant comes from the head of an organization -- SOUNDEXCHANGE -- that for years could not find the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to pay royalties the group was owed. So the fact that Mr. HUPPE remains confused about the value of local radio airplay should not come as a surprise.
"Mr. HUPPE can make ridiculous speeches every day of the week. But we challenge him to ask any aspiring recording artist if she wants her music played on a local radio station. The answer will be a resounding 'Yes!'"
The NAB added the following info, "about radio's value" to performers and record labels:
- The promotional value of free and local radio airplay to artists and record labels is between $1.5 billion and $2.4 billion annually, according to JAMES DERTOUZOS, a former PhD STANFORD economist.
- Free and local radio remains by far the #1 promotional platform for exposing new music, according to NIELSEN.
- Local radio pays more than $330 million annually to songwriters, and millions more in digital fees to labels and artists.