Taylor Swift and the Relevance of Major Labels

When Taylor Swift left Big Machine for Universal, she left her masters behind.

Now there’s a big kerfuffle over whether Swift was entitled to her masters as she seems to believe while at Big Machine begging the question just how important are the big 3 record labels in the era of streaming music?

There is new evidence that answers this question.

And some interesting new attitudes about the role of radio in hitmaking.

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The Cumulus Dallas Sale

Most of New York and Washington are gone, LA is gone.

Cumulus continues to liquidate its assets as their lenders who in essence became the new owners after taking a $2 billion bankruptcy haircut assess whether they even want to be in the radio business.

Now there is new reporting on Dallas, other major markets and big corporate assets.

What the company is saying publicly and what is reportedly going on behind the scenes are two different things.

If Cumulus sells its network or prosperous revenue producing markets like Dallas will they be able to remain a going concern?

So, which one is it going to be? 

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Subscription Radio

Clip Interactive wants to get radio stations to use their app so listeners can bypass long commercial stopsets and replace it with other things like a different station in the company featuring the same musical genre that is not in a commercial break.

Or podcasts, favorite songs, talk segments, traffic and weather and all the while staying synchronized to the station’s terrestrial signal.

They have their own research that claims terrestrial and even satellite radio listeners would pay $12 a month for this.

Clip thinks stations can even keep their revenue from ads that continue to irritate listeners on the air while mining a new stream of revenue from subscriptions to a new app.

Are these people nuts or are they onto the future?

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What was Emmis Thinking?

Emmis sold ¾ of its New York stations, retains ¼ ownership and gets paid to manage them.

Cox sells TV and radio and retains minority ownership and management stays in place.

There’s a trend developing here to take advantage of declining station prices and help owners get out of the debt business.

In fact, there’s a third group thought to be ready to sell partial ownership next.

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Rolling Stone’s New Non-Radio Music Charts

Can you imagine an album or hit song music chart without radio airplay as a component?

Rolling Stone can and their new charts reflect it.

The radio industry has a new role in making hit music and it’s nowhere near as critical to an artist’s success as it used to be.

While consumer-driven metrics are reshaping how we look at the apparent popularity of songs and artists, they are fast becoming more relevant than radio airplay.

This begs the question can radio continue to thrive when it is now being excluded from hit music ranking?

There are two important things stations can do to become more relevant again.

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