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Time For Radio to Play Fair

I love music. I was lucky enough to grow up in Cleveland during the time that WMMS ruled the airwaves. Their promotion of new and upcoming acts, and their support of the local music scene, set an example for me to follow when I started working in radio.

It was my honor to use my position at WJCU/The Heights to help launch musicians such as Mumford & Sons, Bastille, American Authors, Hozier and Walk the Moon.

‪In October 2015, I co-wrote a letter with Blake Morgan, a musician and founder of the ‘I Respect Music’ campaign, to Representative Bob Goodlatte, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, to express our support for H.R. 1733, the Fair Play, Fair Pay Act. That letter and the Huffington Post article about it have helped bring focus to the plight of unpaid musicians in radio.

In short, terrestrial radio stations don’t pay recording artists a performance royalty. They never have. The United States is the only democratic country that doesn’t. In fact, there are very few countries in the world that don’t pay royalties to musicians when their music is played on AM/FM radio. Some of the other countries? Iran, North Korea, Rwanda, and China.

‪While radio stations reap the revenue from broadcasting a recording artist’s work, the life of a ‘starving artist’ is no joke. For every mega-millionaire pop star out there, there’s an army of struggling musicians, pursuing a dream while trying to make ends meet. The life of a touring band isn’t easy. They spend months on the road. Their vans are usually held together with duct tape and prayers – breaking down, missing a gig and missing out on the revenue of merchandise sales is the stuff of nightmares.

These recording artists scrape together money for food and gas on the road, sleep at rest stops, wash up in the bathroom, and spend time away from their families while they pursue a dream.

We had a three-member band visit the station a few months ago. When they arrived, only two members came in. I asked about the other band member and they told me she was feeling pretty sick and they were going to take her to urgent care after the interview. I offered to let them skip the interview, but they were determined to go forward.

That night at their concert I found out she had been diagnosed with walking pneumonia. But there she was on stage, performing her heart out. They couldn’t cancel the show. And she couldn’t give a performance that wasn’t 100 percent even though she knew it would delay healing.

‪I’ve helped bands load their equipment and run cable for them. I’ve worked their merchandise tables. I’ve run them to the store because they needed the basics. I’ve washed their laundry for them. I’ve fed them. And even one or two have slept on my couch because I couldn’t imagine them sleeping in their tour van another night.

I’ve seen firsthand how hard these musicians work day in and day out. They are no different from any other American, deserving of fair compensation for the service they provide. Without the constant flow of new music from up and coming artists, radio stations would not have a product to offer their listeners, and the music world would be a lesser place.

I find it unfathomable that terrestrial radio thinks it is entitled to profit from the work of others without offering them a slice of the pie. This is why I support the Fair Play, Fair Pay Act.

I love music, but I don’t love what’s happening to musicians. It’s time for radio stations to play fair and support these hard working American artists. It’s time for music fans everywhere to speak up and demand that radio does the right thing.

*Note: This piece first appeared in the Music Technology Policy blog.

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New music and a trip to LA

It was beautiful outside this morning. Instead of going to the gym I decided to go for a walk. I saw that it was in the mid 20’s but I’m a big gal with lots of padding so it won’t be bad right? Ha! Next time I’ll just go to the gym, promise!

Next week I’ll be taking a journey to a land many dream of – Los Angeles. I’ve never been, believe it or not! I’ve been to San Diego and San Francisco but L.A. never happened until now. I’m participating in a panel about the #IRespectMusic campaign for the California Copyright Conference. (More information here.) It’s a whirlwind trip (in on Monday, leave Wednesday) but I’m packing it full of visits with friends.

Some of you know that our dog was attacked by a pit bull just over a week ago. The vet saw him for a check up yesterday and he’s doing a lot better. He’s partially blind in his left eye and that will probably not change. Part of his iris fused to the lens of his eye as well so we’ll have to keep an eye out for glaucoma eventually. He looks totally ratchet though. Partially shaved where he was bitten (around his left eye and his neck). I’m trying to figure out the best way to groom him. Shave all over? Or just a close cut until his fur evens out a bit? I don’t think he’s ready to see his regular groomer though, he’s still mega skittish right now. Poor fella.

As I was preparing this week’s new music round up, it seemed to be all females. Which was fine with me! Go go girl rockers! But then word reached my ears that a musician I LOVE (mega mega love) has a new album coming out and the single has been released. So we’ll start with him then move on to the ladies. 🙂

*Matt Andersen is his name, folks. This blues genius hails from Canada. I fell in love after hearing his last album “Weightless“. Then I saw him live in concert in Cleveland and at the NonCommvention in Philadelphia. Trust me, friends, Matt is a real deal. Give a listen to the first single “Let’s Get Back”.

*Basia Bulat is a talented musician with a butterscotch voice I love. She’s got a gorgeous range that she knows how to highlight in her work. Jim James (from My Morning Jacket) produced. Doods!

Listen to “Infamous” from her forthcoming album “Good Advice” and fall in love…..

*Have you heard of Chairlift? Let Momma K clue you in. I love bands that take risks in the studio. These two brilliant folks must have a blast making music together. Give “Romeo” a listen and then romp out to get their newest album “Moth”.

*A few years ago I had the opportunity to go to a Songwriter’s Retreat in Tulum, Mexico. While there I met some incredible musicians. One of those was a woman I’d been a fan of for a while – Anya Marina. Words cannot describe what it was like to sit on the beach, drinking Mexican beer, listening to the artists create fabulous music together. Anya’s enthusiasm, spirit, and talent blew me away. She’s come out with a new album, Paper Plane. Check out the single “Gimme Resurrection”. Love!!

*Wild Belle is the last band for this week. Their new album “Dreamland” comes out in April. I don’t want to wait but will have to make due listening to the single “Throw Down Your Guns”.

*As I was typing, an email came announcing a new song from my dearest Anderson East! If you can see him on tour, DO EEEEET! He’s incredible. And his album “Delilah” is my go-to listen in the car.

Anyway, here’s his newest offering from the compilation album “Southern Family” (read about the album here).

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January 2016 new music

Another cold front is moving into NE Ohio. To distract myself from preparing my home office for this weekend’s forthcoming painting extravaganza, I thought it was time to give a gander to the new music in the AAA/Alt world that I’m loving.

*I have to start with one of my favorites. Shearwater (aka Jonathan Meiburg) has a butterscotch voice that makes me melt. His newest offering, “Jet Plane and Oxbow” is his best yet. His musical brilliance leaves me breathless. It’s my first album purchase of 2016 and should be yours too. Here’s the first single “Quiet Americans”.

*Have you heard Aurora yet? She’s the hottest artist out right now. I knew I had to post about her when my teenage daughter ran in asking me if I’d heard of this amazing new musician, Aurora. I laughed and told her I’d played her single before anyone else. Dreamy, dark, pop influenced music. You definitely want to give her a listen. And then run out and buy her album “All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend”, which comes out March 11.

*Run River North is a band I’ve been a fan of for a while. They’ve hit it out of the ballpark with their new single “Run or Hide”. I anticipate they will flip to Top 40/Hot AC in months. And I wouldn’t be happier for them. Super awesome folks with a kick ass sound.

*When I first heard Lucius I knew this was a band to follow. Their newest offering shows why. They are brilliant, fun, and masters of stage presence. Their new single “Born Again Teen” makes me dance in the office. Much to the cat’s fear.

*Have you heard Hey Marseilles? OMG folks, if you haven’t then you are missing pure musical beauty. Here’s the second single “North & South” from their forthcoming album.

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Welcome

How does an unemployed radio gal fill her time between applying for jobs? Setting up her blog, of course!

Look for thoughts on new music, new artists, the #IRespectMusic campaign, and other ramblings.

~KKG