Did Grammy Telecast Slight Radio? NARAS Doesn't Think So
December 5, 2008 at 4:38 PM (PT)
Various radio leaders have expressed contempt with what they consider to be inferences that the Internet is the hot new place where new music is exposed and broken. The head of NARAS has denied any hints of favoritism, asserting that the ACADEMY appreciates any and all media that exposes music to the masses.
Nevertheless, REGENT COMMUNICATIONS Pres./CEO BILL STAKELIN was stunned when he heard comments that seemed to slight radio's influence when compared to the Internet, "Once again, in a move that bites the hand that helps feed you, the GRAMMY nomination show on CBS-TV last night opened with the comment, 'It used to be we depended on radio for new music and discovery of hits. Not anymore.' It went on to praise the Internet. Not only is this a slight to the great American radio industry, it is incorrect and shows blatant disregard for the facts."
As an advocate for music creators, The Recording Academy values the diverse avenues available for music discovery, as well as those yet to come
STAKELIN went on, writing, "One has to ask if the GRAMMY executives and/or writers of the show are ignorant of the facts or just don't give a damn. If so, what a sorry state of affairs. I am sure that there will not be an apology or recognition for radio from the GRAMMYS, even though it is so very vital to the success of the artists they salute."
COX Pres./CEO BOB NEIL told ALL ACCESS, "It's ironic that they would praise the Internet, since it has destroyed their economic model. What happens is people discover the music through Radio and then find a way to get it for free on the Net. I'd love to see what would happen to new music sales if Radio refused to play anything newer than songs from 2000 for 30 days. What's sad is that instead of insulting and trying to pick the pocket of their oldest friend through new fees, the music industry should be sitting down with Radio and renewing and refreshing the bond."
Is Radio A Scapegoat?
Consultant RANDY KABRICH offered ALL ACCESS this view, "While programming in LOS ANGELES years ago, I was at a private party one night with some artists and CHARLIE MINOR. There were about 25 people total at the house. I was amazed at the perception that the record industry had fed to the artists over the years about how 'corrupt' radio was. Over 90% believed that you had to pay off someone to get an add.
"Even when I tried to tell them that was totally wrong and even turned to the record people who were there for support, I could get none. After that, I have made it a point whenever I can talk to an artist or manager away from label representatives to find out their real perception of what it takes in the radio/records relationship.
"Its very simple really. Record companies have handed bills to managers and artists of what type of 'promotion dollar was needed to get a song on the radio' -- and just as I was on many expense reports for dinners I was never at over the years, that money had to be accounted for somewhere. When someone wanted 50 CDs to give away on the air, were they really expensed to the proper artist or wherever they could throw it in on the budget with the excuse 'you have to pay off radio.'"
"It does not surprise me that after all these years that artists and managers truly believe that radio has been replaced by the Internet, no matter what research we might have," KABRICH continues. "They have seen those deductions from their royalties and have held radio in a love-hate relationship. After a while of repeating something as fact, whether true or not, it becomes accepted."
Do I believe that the recording artists believe the Internet has replaced radio," KABRICH asks. "Absolutely I believe it. Is it reality? Not at all, but they also believe everyone has an iPOD and an iPHONE, despite what the real numbers show.
"Certain record executives over the years have poisoned the water in the relationship of radio and artists -- and this is just it coming home to roost. Issues found in small-scale payola investigations such as the N.Y. Attorney General lead artists to believe everyone is a crook in radio. It's a problem that they absolutely believe is real -- and I suspect many want to dance on radio's grave. Unfortunately, radio has been positioned as the bad guy because the record companies had to blame someone."
NARAS' Portnow: No Slight Intended, The More The Merrier
Responding to the furor. RECORDING ACADEMY Pres./CEO NEIL PORTNOW released the following statement:
"As our telecast referenced, radio currently is just one of many platforms that connect artists and fans. The recent ARBITRON/EDISON MEDIA report [‘Radio’s Infinite Dial 2008: Radio’s Digital Platforms,’ June 25th, 2008] shows that in addition to terrestrial radio, more and more consumers are learning about new music through outlets including the Internet, satellite radio and podcasting. As an advocate for music creators, THE RECORDING ACADEMY values the diverse avenues available for music discovery, as well as those yet to come. And the GRAMMY Award continues to be a peer honor that recognizes excellence in the recording arts and sciences regardless of sales or chart positions."
NARAS also presented a transcript of what was said on WEDNESDAY's telecast prior to the announcement of the nominees for Best New Artist:
"When the first GRAMMYs were given out, new artists were discovered on radio. Today, it's a digital world and we're all players in it, including some of music's freshest faces. Websites connect artists and fans in a way never before imagined and performers who once reached thousands of music fans, now reach millions on the Internet, giving an entirely new meaning to the term 'Best New Artist.'"