I realize that this statement can and probably will be viewed as controversial, but lets think about this for a second...
"If you want your song to be played on my popular radio station at that time, you pay X amount for 500 spins. If people like it and start requesting it, then good for you. If not, pay another X for another 500 spins."
In my mind this solves a few problems that often exist in the music industry. Especially where Payola is concerned.
Number one is Transparency. Artists know that payola exists. So by legalizing it you are putting it out in the open and making it a standard that can be controlled. Making it a paid service that can now be regulated, given as an incentive, made tax deductible and other fancy government instruments that can be applied to make it more effective as a tool to increase business for the smaller guys. Namely, indie labels and musicians.
Currently it's a mythical black box as to how songs are selected to be playlisted; with a supreme council of all knowing beings that sit together once a week to pluck you from obscurity to be selected as one of the chosen ones on their holy grail list. Ok, I'm being a bit melodramatic here but you get the point.
And don't get me wrong I've been played on some pretty good radio stations, but at the end I'm always left feeling like most artists would have better luck at a game of Russian-roulette or playing the lotto than being selected.
This would also be an opportunity for artists who often believe that if they are heard by the masses that their music will really take off. And if it doesn't, then they can get back to the drawing board quicker. So paying for this service should makes sense to them. At least to quiet that nagging voice that says "if only".
This would mean that radio's would be actively assisting in breaking/introducing new artists to their platform and legally getting paid for it.
Radio stations will not only generate more money, they would also increase the amount of local content played on their station by having such slots available.
The current state of payola is very similar to what bootlegging was like in America in the 1920's. It was there but no one really wanted to admit it. By lifting this 'prohibition' the idea is that once it is legal and brought to the light it would push aside the things that are done in secret and behind closed doors.
The question however, becomes what is the X amount that would be charged? But if radio stations really have the artist's best interest at heart and are not just a soulless money grabbing corporation I'm sure they can think of something that is fair for both parties - RIGHT?!
With Internet based companies like Dezzer, SoundCloud, Spotify and Pandora hot on the heels of traditional radio. It is only a matter of time before these traditional gate keepers get left behind because they refused to innovate and do things differently.These new companies also make it more exciting and easier to discover new talent and share them with your friends.
Gone are the days where you would say: "I heard this really great song on the radio, I don't know what it was called but it was really good. You should check it out sometime."
The bottom line is that things are changing. Internet has snatched the keys and created a revolution that will only gain in momentum. But there is still a place for the traditional platforms in the future; even if it is only as a rental service to gain access to their valued audience. And if it doesn't work, at least they can say that they tried something new instead of sticking to the dying status-quo.
Do you think radio will still be relevant for artists of the future? Leave a comment below I'd love to hear your thoughts