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Inside Move: Independent tune guru sounding off

Brummel offers two cents on Sony situation

Diskeries have been buzzing since Monday’s disclosure that Sony BMG admitted wrongdoing in promoting records at radio stations. And as usual, Tony Brummel, the eminently quotable founder of the indie rock label Victory Records, is offering his two cents via emails.

One guesses that the same form of communication that ensnared Sony BMG can be used to make a point on the other side and show how radio has its hand out with some acts and won’t answer the door when others come knocking.

Early in the week he sought a difference in the definition between “payola” and “lobbying,” suggesting that if Spitzer wanted to make a change, “he would ‘lobby’ the FCC to force the stations to program at least 20% independent content,” roughly the current, independent label marketshare.

He went further after a radio station in Albuquerque, N.M., voiced a complaint after Victory act Hawthorne Heights could not perform at a radio station show. “It’s my opinion that we shouldn’t work with Victory Records anymore,” wrote Aaron Burnett, the morning music director at KTEG.

“Hawthorne is beyond gold and on its way to platinum and we cannot even break the Top 40 at radio,” Brummel responded. “As you are not in a top market I know that you get passed over more often than you’d like. As the No. 1 independent rock record label, Victory gets passed over every day even though we have the results that merit airplay. Why is 99.4% of what radio plays major label content when over 20% of the sales come from the independent sector?

“Are you going to continue to support companies that make no money, are in a state of flux and have no brand equity? … Clear Channel could send a very serious message to the radio and music industry in light of everything that is currently happening regarding AG Spitzer and company. By programming real music that real people are buying and seeking out you help yourselves and you help me along with providing careers for these great and deserving artists.”

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