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A Friendly Message to Broadcast Radio: Build a Bridge, Not a Moat

27 April 2018

Finding ways to make radio seem relevant and topical is no easy task in the streaming age. As music creators and fans, we know listeners want more choice, more access and more freedom than radio can offer. And it seems, radio executives know it too.

A few weeks ago, the radio industry gathered in Las Vegas for the National Association of Broadcasters convention. Thousands of broadcasters from all over the world came together to celebrate their devotion to an aging medium and an aging business model. As they traded stories of the “good ol’ days” they also brought out some of their best and brightest to address the challenges of the future.

Of course, the truth is that radio isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Not because the industry’s dedication to keeping up with the times or providing a product people actually want, but because they have an advantage no other platform has: They don’t have to pay for the music they play. And they’re not shy about it.

One senior executive from Entercom was actually quoted as saying that, “We have to broaden how we view the marketplace and who we’re competing with.” He went on to say that requires deciding what is radio’s “unfair advantage,” the thing it does in a “uniquely differentiated way” that it wants to “build a moat around” to protect.

Nothing Says “Future” Like Building A Moat…


If the radio industry is really looking to be part of the future of music and wants to be a platform that music creators and fans embrace, they should consider changing their tune on terrestrial performance rights. Instead of building a moat around out-dated practices that insulate the industry from paying artists fairly, radio should be thinking about building bridges with music creators that will help the industry better connect with a music landscape that’s leaving radio behind.

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