Blacklist for Radio DJs?
February 22, 2011 8:58 AM   Subscribe

Music Industry question: Is there such a thing as a "Do-Not-Send-Download Links-or-Free-CDs" blacklist for radio DJs? Many Details Within.

My dad has a show at a local radio station. The music director at said station doesn't really have the time to solicit the kinds of music my dad is interested in playing on his show, so he's had to write to record companies himself, saying that he's a DJ at ($radio station) and asking whether they have any music they'd like him to play. For what it's worth, he mainly plays stuff from small European labels and he's always been very straight-up about who he is, including the radio station's address as well as his own, etc.

Anyway! He writes one small label in England and asks for music to play on his show. Except that it turns out to not be a small label, but a division of a very large one. That record label gets in contact with the music director at the radio station, going "Are you aware one of your DJs is pretending to be the music director to get free CDs?". Dad gets a phone call, everything gets straightened out, the station people realize he wasn't pretending to be music director. All good, right?

Ah! But now, when he tries to solicit material for his show, he's been having a very hard time getting any responses, even getting links for downloads he can burn and play himself. The question now is, is there a music industry blacklist that lists people who are somehow suspected of some hanky-panky and are Not To Be Sent Music?
posted by dunkadunc to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
When I was a college radio DJ, a lot of our promo CDs came from independent promoters, not from the record labels themselves. A lot of the larger but not quite major label stuff was sent to us through these guys, and if we didn't chart enough of their stuff, they would stop sending it.

However, going directly to the label never seemed to cause a problem like this. I knew one programming director who didn't like that one DJ got promos sent to him directly instead of the station (similar to what your dad was doing) but never took any action. I wouldn't even call what he did 'hanky-panky'. I got plenty of download promos to my private email even without asking anyone and some of those people still email me even though I haven't had a regular show in two years.
posted by mkb at 9:05 AM on February 22, 2011

I never heard of a label having issues with this at our community radio station in the US. The music director actively encouraged DJs to write for promo copies of CDs, and that was indeed the main way we built the music collection. If there was a problem, I suspect it was that one label's policies and not anything representing the way things are done in the industry.
posted by Miko at 9:10 AM on February 22, 2011

When it comes to the music industry, my rule of thumb is that you should never attribute to malice that which can be explained by incompetence.

(I say this as someone who still receives regular touring promo packages in the mail for a venue that closed five years ago.)
posted by bcwinters at 9:31 AM on February 22, 2011

In short, I've never heard of a blacklist, and tend to side with bcwinters.

The long talk: I'm a radio DJ at a college station, and most of what I get is through promoters (I can spool them off in a PM, if you'd like). Those connections were in place when I took my position as a special-format "director," and some more have cropped up without any additional work (yaah!)

"Charting" is important to some labels (even US charts matter to some EU labels). For instance, CMJ (College Music Journal) is a/the big charter in college and non-commercial stations, covering "Radio 200," Triple A (American Adult something), Loud Rock, Hip Hop, New World, Jazz, and RPM (electronic/dance music). I'm not sure if your dad's station would/does chart to CMJ or a similar (Dusted Magazine has an alternative college/indie radio charter), but charting might help his efforts.

Also, if he's in the US and asking European labels to send physical material, they might be declining simply on the cost of shipping. All of my regular contacts are based in the US, though I get random pieces from oversees artists, usually stuff sent by individuals instead of promoters. Most promotions I deal with are now through websites or email, cutting the cost (and time) for sending physical packages, which might make European labels more likely to send send promotional material. Small labels might not have any of their own digital promotions systems set up, though I've dealt with some promoters who simply email links to files hosted by YouSendIt.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:09 AM on February 22, 2011

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