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AIRPLAY

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The broadcasting of a song on radio or television. On radio, a song may receive light, medium, or heavy rotation. With a light rotation the record is usually played about four times a day. Whereas with heavy rotation, it may be aired up to fifteen times. Airplay is crucial to the retail sales of music.

Major radio stations may receive up to 500 new singles and albums every week. As can be imagined, selecting the new material for their playlist can be time consuming. The music director and program director start with established artists (there may be up to 100 of these) and then work their way down to the new artists' releases. Time usually only permits them to listen to perhaps the first minute of a select number of the records received. Since new artists have a lower priority than established artists, the time factor may eliminate many new artists from ever even being heard.

For the new artist a catch-22 situation then persists. Major radio stations will not give airtime to a record if the artist is not already established or until there is evidence his new release will be a hit. And a new artist cannot get established or have a hit without substantial airplay. Because of this, new material may have to be "broken" in secondary markets.

Also, a new artist should try to get his record reviewed by the trades. Program directors read the trades and a review in one of these magazines (e.g., Radio and Records, Billboard, etc.) can go a long way in securing airplay.

Another important aspect of airplay is the bottom line. The amount of performance royalties collected by the copyright owner increases proportionately with the amount of airplay a record receives. See Cross-links: RECORD PROMOTION-A CLOSER LOOK, ADVERTISING, PLUGOLA, PERFORMANCE RIGHT, ROYALTY under "Performance Royalty," COMMERCIAL BROADCASTING, DISC JOCKEY, CROSSOVER, COPYRIGHT LAW under "Public Performance," and "Performance Right."


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