Short article on radio’s diminishing influence in industry and recent changes in marketing structures for major labels. After Spitzer’s investigation into industry practices (e.g. payola) common place relationships are under scrutiny. One such practice is “Add” reporting. Not really familiar with the intricacies but basic premise is presented below:

There are basically two divisions of radio stations, those that “chart-report” to the people who make up the national charts, and those who do not. The “Chart-Reporting” stations report the addition (“adds”) of new CD titles for airplay, and rotation of the discs. Rotation is usually classified into light, medium, or heavy rotation, and refers to the amount of airplay the disc receives.

The chart-reporting stations are important because they compile a weekly cumulative total of “adds” (CDs added for airplay) which are printed in national chart lists read by distributors and retailers throughout the country. However, this “add total” is only cumulative for the week, meaning that adds don’t carry over week to week, and a CD title can only be added once. So if you get one radio station to add your CD this week, your total would be one. If a second station added it next week, your total would still be one. If ONE station a week added your CD for twenty weeks, your total would still be ONE.

BUT IF TWENTY STATIONS ADD YOUR CD IN ONE WEEK, your total would be TWENTY. (ALL in the SAME WEEK!) The higher the add total within one week, the better your chances of receiving chart results. (via cexton)

Now, instead of depending primarily on radio station’s reports majors are trying to communicate more directly with the audience through, you guessed it, the internet. And onto the article:

Dickey: Reporting Adds ‘Root Of A Lot Of Evil’
Sep. 23, 2005
By Paul Heine

PHILADELPHIA — Radio and recording industry executives grappled with their changing relationship in the post Eliot Spitzer-Sony BMG settlement climate at the National Assn. of Broadcasters Radio Show on Friday (Sept. 23).

Moderator John Dickey, executive VP of Cumulus Media, called for an end to the decades-old practice of radio stations reporting their adds to trade publications and record companies, a system Billboard Radio Monitor has never engaged in. “It’s the root of a lot of evil and somebody ought to take a stand and do away with it,” Dickey said.

Clear Channel senior VP of programming Marc Chase called reported adds an “old, outmoded practice” but questioned whether it would stop. “Do we like the add? Yeah,” said Island Def Jam senior VP of promotion Erik Olesen. “But we are really focused on audience.” Olesen said his label is now releasing albums based on them first reaching a specific audience threshold.

Asked about the value of independent promoters, Chase said, “Put a fork in them” in the traditional sense. Labels stopped spending money on indies because they didn’t see any value in them, Chase said. “For the most part it’s a dying breed,” Olesen said, acknowledging that some indie promoters will survive but more as information sources.

Asked about the effectiveness of labels placing spot buys on radio stations, Olesen said his company still selectively places radio time buys. “A time buy isn’t going to affect a PD’s decision,” Olesen said. “It’s about taking it to the next level. A lot of it is channeled to TV to get that big bang” to help affect a No. 1 sales debut.

No longer spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on conventions and artist showcases, Olesen said Island Def Jam exposes artists through Internet sites like MySpace, HipHop, iTunes and others, as well as Clear Channel’s new Stripped online initiative. Where labels used to need a certain number of spins to gauge a song’s viability, they now promote and assess a song before taking it to radio, Olesen said.

All Access founder and publisher Joel Denver said there are more opportunities for radio to recognize what is going on in the street than ever before.

“There was a lot of animosity between our company and the record industry,” Chase said. But getting together and talking with the labels “has taken a lot of the fangs out of our relationship,” he said.

The arrival of Arbitron’s portable people meter and its ability to measure how audiences respond to specific programming elements “may change our integration strategy” of putting unfamiliar music on the air, Chase said. Finding a way to give listeners a “taste” of new music before airing it is something Chase said he would like to see.

Dickey agreed, saying labels and radio need to figure out ways to contextualize music to listeners up front. “If we don’t reshape this relationship, somebody is already doing that for us. We need to take control of the relationship.”