Music Industry

“If FM Radio Went Away Tomorrow, Would Music Sales Go Up or Down?”

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.

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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One thought on ““If FM Radio Went Away Tomorrow, Would Music Sales Go Up or Down?”

  • So as long as radio pays its fair share, he doesn’t care (or care to know) whether it moves the needle on music sales or not? How much is “social media” and “digital platforms” paying artists to publicize them? When will he advocate shaking down Facebook and Twitter for allowing people to link to YouTube/Vevo videos for free?


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