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Bands are virtually blackmailed into playing these events if they want continued airplay and support at these stations.
RADIO VS. RECORDS
IN CONCERT ARENA
Labels Object to Arm-Twisting as Shows Get Bigger and Bigger
It's summertime and the radio festival circuit is in full swing...but not everybody's in a partying mood.

And while these ever-growing station-sponsored concert events may provide superb showcases for major acts, the record labels would just as soon see them go the way of the vinyl album.

With the battle seriously heating up over independent promotion, the increasing inequity surrounding these radio concerts is the latest area of concern said to be seriously chapping the labels.

Radio concerts were once small affairs, with tickets either very cheap or given away to listeners. Bands would play for minimal bucks both to pay back the stations for their support and to gain exposure for themselves.

But over the last five-10 years, the once-promotional events have turned into huge cash cows, and big-ticket commercial concerts, with stations charging upwards of $100 a ticket in stadium-sized venues.

The labels are now questioning whether the situation represents a restraint of trade, given that the big acts claim they face a quid-pro-quo situation in terms of airplay and earn just pennies in the dollar compared to their usual performance fees. And it often prevents them from returning to a market as headliners. The situation is further muddied by the dominance of Clear Channel, which owns both radio stations and concert venues. Bands are virtually blackmailed into playing these events if they want continued airplay and support at these stations.

"What quid-pro-quo?" said one high-ranking radio exec who requested anonymity because he was still trying to book Papa Roach on his summer show. "If an artist refuses to play one of our concerts, that doesn't mean we won't add his record. And if you believe that, I have some stock tips from Martha Stewart for you."

While the situation has been going on for several years now, the grumbling is increasing, and many insiders feel it's about to come to a head.  Look for action to come.

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