Radio panel at the 2011 Boston Area Definitive Audio Student Summit

BADASS2011-NoidsFLYERI participated in an interesting panel at the Boston Area Definitive Audio Student Summit (BADASS) summit last weekend at the New England Institute of Art (one of our IBS-SRN member stations).

The subject of the panel was “Radio Promotion”. Participants included Tai Irwin from the New England Institute of ArtSteve Theo from Pirate! Promotion, a professor in the Entertainment Management program at Bay State College and myself.  We provided a brief history of the radio industry and music promotion and then launched into a discussion about the future.  Though somewhat tainted by the past we came away with some hope for what lies ahead.

The record and radio businesses have changed quite dramatically over the last 15 to 20 years.  Radio is fighting more and more for the attention of a new audience and the record business is working to transition from selling physical objects and adapt to the new digital world.

Badass-panelWhile many believe that the music industry is down that is not actually the case.  It is the traditional record industry that is down, the broader music industry is doing quite well, even in this down economy.  On the radio side that is true too, the old way of broadcasting a local signal terrestrially is changing due to the internet.  A station’s ability to aggregate a like minded audience outside of its terrestrial footprint is much easier with the internet.

There are still challenges for the industry though. On the radio side it is the change in their business model for digital broadcast.  When broadcasting terrestrially there were no payments for performance royalties because they were viewed as promotional.  Your business wants to reach as large an audience as it can.  When broadcasting digitally you need to report each “play” to Sound Exchange and pay a royalty for that particular play.  Under this model your expenses grow dramatically as you grow your audience.  Further as per stream royalty rates continue to escalate so will a station’s future expenses.

Even with these challenges there is a dramatic shift to digital distribution and the Internet. Creative promotors and broadcasters are finding a way to work together to help their constituents grow.  Overall the future is quite bright.  We just need to find a way to get there together.

PS I’d like to thank the organizer of BADASS, John Krivit at AES for hosting the event and Julie Viscardi-Smalley at Bay State College for inviting me to the panel in our special “industry room”.  It was great fun seeing the interest radio and music still generate!

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