That question came from a keynote speech at the New Music Seminar in New York. From Billboard:
The New Music Seminar kicked off this morning in New York City with a provocative keynote by SoundExchange CEO and president Michael Huppe, who began his speech asking a simple question: “If FM radio went away tomorrow, would music sales go down or up?” His rather counterintuitive answer was that sales would increase, an assertion that formed the backbone of his address.
Huppe’s argument claimed FM radio hurts music sales, fails to set trends, profits enormously to the tune of $17 billion a year while failing to fairly compensate musicians and labels.
Huppe made his case by presenting three key points in history where he claimed FM radio either had no impact or hurt music sales: The 1920s-1940s when the dawn of radio allegedly stalled the sales of records following the the launch of the phonograph; the 1970s UK when commercial radio first hit and had a “negligible impact on music,” according to a University of Texas study by Stan Liebowitz; and a more recent example of Cumulus radio’s introduction in New York City last year of NASH-FM country radio, which he claimed had no increase on country music sales.
It gets better. Keep going.