WASHINGTON, DC -- Hootie & the Blowfish frontman turned country musician Darius Rucker, last night's CMA Award winner for 'New Artist of the Year,' became the latest in a growing chorus of musicians to recognize the unparalleled promotional role of free, local radio airplay. Rucker's praise for radio comes as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) continues to push Congress to support legislation that would levy a new fee on radio stations for music aired free to listeners.
"To the fans, thank y'all for accepting me. And most importantly, to country radio, you took a chance on a pop singer from Charleston, S.C., and God bless y'all for that," Rucker said last night.
A 2008 study conducted by former Stanford economist Dr. James Dertouzos revealed that between $1.5 billion and $2.4 billion in annual music sales are generated through free radio airplay. While RIAA has continued to press for legislation that would hamstring local stations' ability to serve listeners, a bipartisan group of of 252 House lawmakers and 27 U.S. Senators have publicly stated their opposition to such legislation.
On numerous occasions, both record label executives and artists have recognized the promotional value of free radio airplay. Such statements include:
"[T]he primary function of a record label's promotion department is to secure radio airplay for its artists. ... Our partnership with radio is paramount to breaking new acts, as well as keeping superstar artists in the eyes and ears of their fans and the music buying public."
-- RCA Senior Vice President Peter Gray, as quoted in OnMilwaukee.com, August 2009
"Radio is still the leading force of determining what songs and artists break through."
-- Clive Davis, Sony Music's chief creative officer, as quoted in USA Today, June 2009
"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, 2008
"[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, 2008
"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, as quoted in Radio & Records, June 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
The National Association of Broadcasters is the premier advocacy association for America's broadcasters. NAB advances radio and television interests in legislative, regulatory and public affairs. Through advocacy, education and innovation, NAB enables broadcasters to best serve their communities, strengthen their businesses and seize new opportunities in the digital age. Learn more at www.nab.org.