HOW RADIO KILLED THE CONCERT STAR [Rock & Rap Confidential/1996].... It isn't just TicketMaster and superstar acts who've forced millions of fans to stay home because of high prices. Key radio stations in most major cities have already helped to destroy the R&B touring circuit, and much of the rock world may be next.
Radio stations put on big concert events to promote themselves and they expect artists to play them or else. "Every radio station wants to bring an act in and expects them to work for free," Phil Casey of International Creative Management told Billboard. "The record company's going to insist they go in." Casey adds that if an act refuses, "you're not going to hear your record on the radio." Even then, the artist may get dropped by competing stations. "Playing the song would be a commerical for the other station," KRBE/Houston's Tom Poleman told USA Today.
Radio station promo gigs, which are usually slam-bang multi-artist affairs, often just using backing tracks, "are essentially the bulk of R&B touring," says Brian McKnight's manager Herb Trawick. The artist is never properly presented those cities without radio-sponsored concerts don't get visited. Casey points out that this thinly-disguisd blackmail is now also being applied to up-and-coming rock acts as well.
"With one of my bands last year [rock station KROQ-FM] said they weren't going to add the new single to the playlist until we committed to the Christmas show," one rock manager told the L.A. Times. "And as soon as we did they put it into heavy rotation."
The passage of the telecom bill will make the situation worse because the giant radio chains that are already emerging will be able to deny airplay at dozens of stations, making it very hard for an artist to say no.
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