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August 7, 2009

Warner Music CEO Touts Radio's Promotional Value

WASHINGTON, DC -- The most recent recognition of radio's unparalleled promotional value has come from Warner Music Group CEO Edgar Bronfman. Bronfman, in a conference call Thursday with financial analysts, cited radio airplay as a critical driver of music sales and noted that three Warner artists are currently the beneficiary of radio airplay: Madonna, Jay-Z, and up-and-coming act Paramore.

Bronfman's comments reported in today's issue of Inside Radio come as the major record label companies and their chief lobbying arm, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), continue to push Congress to strap local radio stations with new fees for music aired free to listeners.

According to Inside Radio, Bronfman noted that Madonna's new single is getting radio airplay just prior to the release of her greatest hits CD. "As we've noted in the past, once a single is playing on the radio, typically an album follows," said Bronfman.

With regard to Jay-Z's next album, set for release next month, Bronfman noted the rap artist's first single, "Run This Town" has "early success at radio." Touting up-and-coming act Paramore, Bronfman noted that the band is "seeing excellent momentum at radio and the album has exciting pre-release activity" on their Web site.

Commenting on Bronfman's appreciation for free radio airplay, NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton issued the following statement:

"It's instructive that a music mogul like Edgar Bronfman is acknowledging local radio's unmatched promotional value to both musicians and the record labels. Purely and simply, free radio airplay is the primary driver of music sales in America, and local radio stations build a foundation of fans who buy music, attend concerts, and pay $60 for T-shirts. Instead of lobbying Congress for legislation that threatens the viability of its No. 1 promotional platform, Edgar Bronfman and the RIAA should be saluting radio for helping their companies stay in business."

The full news item, as reported by Inside Radio, is printed below with permission:

Inside Radio |

August 7, 2009

Warner Music chief says radio royalty prospects remain good. A majority of House members and a growing number of Senators have gone on record opposing a performance royalty on radio, yet Warner Music Group CEO Edgar Bronfman isn’t conceding defeat. He told analysts during yesterday’s quarterly earnings call, “We are encouraged by the progress being made toward the passage of the Performance Rights Act, enactment of which would validate the important contributions of recording artists and sound recording owners.” Bronfman believes the time has come to correct a “decades old inequity” but he also seems to appreciate radio airplay. Touting Warner’s upcoming release schedule, he noted a Madonna single is getting radio airplay before her greatest hits CD is released. “As we’ve noted in the past, once a single is playing on the radio, typically an album follows,” said Bronfman. Up-and-coming act Paramour is “seeing excellent momentum at radio and the album has exciting pre-release activity on the website,” Bronfman notes. Then there’s rap artist Jay-Z’s new album set for release next month. Bronfman says the first single, “Run This Town,” has “early success at radio.” Labels though have disputed figures in a National Association of Broadcasters-funded economic study which states radio airplay results in $2.4 billion of music sales annually.

Reprinted with permission.

Today's news comes as the RIAA continues to urge Congress to pass legislation that would levy an additional fee or "performance tax" on local radio stations that air music free to listeners. While the legislation was passed by the House Judiciary Committee in a contentious 21-9 vote earlier this summer, there remain 246 House lawmakers and 23 Senators who are on record in opposition to the performance tax.

The overwhelming Congressional opposition to the RIAA-led campaign comes through the Local Radio Freedom Act, a bipartisan resolution expressly denouncing a performance tax. Supported by 246 House lawmakers and 23 U.S. Senators, the resolution reads:

"Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station for broadcasting sound recordings over-the-air, or on any business for such public performance of sound recordings," reads The Local Radio Freedom Act.

On numerous occasions, both record label executives and artists have recognized the promotional value of free radio airplay. Such statements include:

"Radio is still the leading force of determining what songs and artists break through."

-- Clive Davis, Sony Music's chief create officer, in a June 1, 2009 interview published in USA Today. Davis is a legendary music executive who has signed recording artists like Janis Joplin, Bruce Springsteen, Aerosmith, and Alicia Keys.

"The first nine years was one thing -- before we got on the radio, which was a miracle. It was never meant to happen. And then the second half was really a big blur of amazement."

-- Gwen Stefani, as quoted on E! Entertainment Television's "The Daily 10," May 19, 2009

"You can't take being played on the radio for granted. There are only so many spots and many great singers out there wanting one. It's a jungle out there."

-- George Strait, as quoted in Radio & Records, April 3, 2009

"It's worth remembering that U2, you know we broke in the United States through Boston and through radio stations like BCN and stuff like that. We depend on radio."

-- Bono, referring to Boston radio station WBCN, in an interview a WHDH-TV Boston news reporter, March 2009

"I have so many friends out there. I think back over the years now, and it's amazing how much of my life has been impacted by radio people."

-- Brad Paisley, speaking during an interview with Radio Ink's Brida Connolly, February, 2009

"Let me tell you four letters that mean a whole lot to me. Four letters that have changed the course of my career. Four letters out of 26. W-Y-C-D."

-- John Rich, Big and Rich, speaking on stage during the station's "Ten Man Jam" concert, February, 2009

"Thank You Radio!! 4 Grammy Awards Last Night!!!"

-- Lil Wayne in an email sent to radio stations across the country the day after he received four Grammy Awards, February 9, 2009

"It's mainly radio, actually. I’ll hear a song, very often in the car, and buy the CD."

-- Paul McCartney on where he finds new music. Entertainment Weekly, February 5, 2009

"I was homeless for about a year and I went back to singing, 'cause that's what I grew up doing with my dad as a child. We made our money by bar-singing. So I was looking for a place to sing, and it was my own material. And after about a year of being homeless and doing that, a radio station played one of my songs on the air -- a bootleg. I didn't have any demos. I wasn't trying to get signed. But a record label heard it, and all the sudden it was like being Cinderella. Limousines started showing up."

-- Jewel, Grammy-nominated recording artist, NBC's 'Today,' September 2008

"Alright, let's talk about the nuts and bolts. If you win 'Nashville Star', you have to get on 200 major market radio stations. You have to."

-- John Rich, Big and Rich, 'Nashville Star,' July 2008

"I love a strong radio hit. ... That's what our job is, to have a radio hit. Without radio, we couldn't do what we do, but the job is to have a radio hit that sounds unique, and like you."

-- Jewel, Grammy-nominated recording artist, 'Nashville Star,' July 2008

"I have to thank... every DJ, every radio guy, every promotions guy, everybody who ever put up a poster for me and spread the word."

-- Alicia Keys, recording artist and Grammy winner, 2008 Grammy Awards, February 2008

"[R]adio remains the best way to get new music into the listeners' lives."

--Sony BMG Executive VP Butch Waugh as quoted in Radio & Records, January 11

"[R]adio is the conduit to the people, the voice of the format and the lifestyle's soundtrack.

-Sony BMG Nashville VP of Marketing Tom Baldrica, as quoted in Radio & Records, January 11

"Obviously, radio is probably the most important thing for a new rock band coming out. If you don't get yourself on the radio, then you won't draw bodies at the clubs and you won't sell records."

-- 'Another Animal' drummer Shannon Larkin, Drum Magazine, 2008

"Country radio, thank you so much for being our mouthpiece. You know what we do means nothing if it never gets played, and no one gets to hear it."

-- 'Rascal Flatts,' Vocal Group of the Year, Country Music Awards, 2007

"I can't even believe that this is real... I want to thank country radio. I'll never forget the chance you took on me."

-- Taylor Swift, Horizon Award (for best new artist), Country Music Awards, 2007

"I have yet to see the big reaction you want to see to a hit until it goes on the radio. I'm a big, big fan of radio."

--Richard Palmese, Executive Vice President of Promotion, RCA, 2007

"Radio has proven itself time and time again to be the biggest vehicle to expose new music."

-- Ken Lane, Senior Vice President for Promotion, Island Def Jam Music Group, 2005

"It is clearly the number one way that we're getting our music exposed. Nothing else affects retail sales the way terrestrial radio does."

--Tom Biery, Senior Vice President for Promotion, Warner Bros. Records, 2005

"That's the most important thing for a label, getting your records played."

-- Eddie Daye, recording artist, 2003

"Radio helped me a lot. That's the audience. I can't see them, but I know they're there. I can't reach out and touch them with my hand, but I know they're there."

-- B.B. King, recording artist, 2002

"If a song's not on the radio, it'll never sell."

-- Mark Wright, Senior Vice President, MCA Records, 2001

"Air play is king. They play the record, it sells. If they don't, it's dead in the water."

-- Jim Mazza, President, Dreamcatcher Entertainment, 1999

"I am so grateful to radio. Their support has truly changed my life, and I hope they know how appreciative I am for that."

-- Jo Dee Messina, recording artist, 1999

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