We get massive complaints here at RFFocus about the perceived politics that many radio stations play when it comes to adding new artists to the already incredibly tight playlists (the reason you hear the same songs over and over) it’s often hard to explain to the independent and new major label artists that urban radio is so incredibly research driven that the concept is to play the hits always so testing a new record is frightening to many stations who fear listeners will tune out and go to a competitor who is playing something more familiar. Artists complain that this still doesn’t sit well with them because they are often asked to do free shows for the station that they feel ‘dangle the carrot’ in front of them as if they may get airplay but it is rare that they do. They feel compelled to do the shows and to support the station because they don’t want to blow the possibility of being played on the air so the station has them by the balls.
We asked a couple of PDs if they thought this concept was fair and they stated “We pay major artists to appear.” This is something that only happened recently as major artists would also complain about doing shows for free and rightfully so, the station was using them to do events where the station was making money. The major acts have more leverage and their theory is whether you play my song or not I need to get paid something to do a show and radio finally agreed. The stations now set aside budgets to pay the established acts but it is nowhere near what they would make doing their own shows on the road and several major acts still complain about about being pimped out by radio as well. Radio stations feel they are doing their part by playing the songs and exposing the artists but the artists feel there would be no radio station if they didn’t have songs to play. Many artists site Tom Joyner and Steve Harvey as the saving grace to get a lot of not only independent and new artists‘ music played but established artists say the syndicated shows are favorable to give them much needed airplay too. Do you want to weigh in on this? Feel free to comment.