US Airplay Victory A Breakthrough For Independent Music
AIM, the UK's Association of Independent Music, has extended its congratulations to sister organisation, A2IM (the American Association of Independent Music) on its landmark agreement to secure guaranteed US airtime for independent music with four major US radio companies (Clear Channel Communications, CBS Radio, Entercom Communications and Citadel Broadcasting).
As part of a move to resolve claims that they accepted cash and other incentives in exchange for playing songs — a practice popularly known as payola – the four radio companies have agreed to broadcast the equivalent of 8,400 half-hour segments of music from artists signed to independent labels.
This is in addition to a separate settlement with the Federal Communications Commission in which the four radio station owners agreed to pay a total of $12.5 million to resolve "payola" claims.
Said Alison Wenham, chairman and chief executive, AIM, and president, World Independent Network, "It is great news for A2IM and the US independent community. They have shown their ability to positively influence US market conditions. Having said that, it must be also be said that radio is in a parlous state in the US, and listeners want more colour, range and diversity. Hopefully this agreement will go some way towards delivering better playlists."
Commented Martin Goldschmidt, board member, AIM & IMPALA and MD, Cooking Vinyl, "This is a historic victory for the independent community. We do not realise how lucky we are in the UK, having BBC Radio 1 and 2. In the US commercial radio has been closed, through various means of corruption (read the book Hitman) to independent labels for as long as I have been working in this business. Now we have got some payback for the injustice and a foot in the door. It's all part of our mission to level the playing field."
AIM joins in the celebration of this deal to benefit independent artists and labels as a show of solidarity to the global community of independent music trade bodies which includes A2IM as well as the World Independent Network (WIN), a global trade body with trade association members from around the world, IMPALA (European Independent Music Companies Association), UPFI (France), CIRPA (Canada) VUT (Germany), ILCJ (Japan), SOM (Sweden), Visom (Brazil), UFI (Spain), IMNZ (New Zealand) and AIR (Australia).
These trade bodies have not only shown the benefits to member companies in regards to resource sharing, education and political representation, but also the collective muscle displayed in disputes and negotiations with the likes of MTV and iTunes and most recently in the European Court's decision to overturn EC approval of the Sony BMG merger. A2IM's recent victory is but the latest step in the essential ongoing process to ensure fair and equitable deals for independent music worldwide.
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