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Why can’t the Radio industry enter the music business?

This is Part 3 of my interview with broadcast attorney David Oxenford. Part 1 focused on the legality of podcasting music (see it here – and listen to the podcast). Part 2 focuses on turning the tables on the labels and extracting the revenue from them that radio airplay deserves. Here comes the final portion, Part 3.

What is keeping the radio industry from being in the music business itself? What’s keeping the radio industry from signing its own artists?

There has been talk from time to time about radio doing exactly that. You know, now you see all sorts of nontraditional folks getting into the music business. The deal that Live Nation, the concert promoter, just cut with Madonna means they basically become a record label to release her music and get cuts, not only of the music, but of her concerts and the merchandise sold there.

There’s nothing necessarily that would stop that broadcaster from doing that same sort of thing.

So it would be technically legal if, for example, Clear Channel were to sign U2 to release and license their content?

You know what? Up until 10 or 15 years ago, there was a CBS Records that was co-owned with CBS that owned radio and TV stations. There was an ABC Records label that was co-owned with ABC that owned radio and television stations.

So there is not any legal restrictions that have come to mind, off the top of my head, that would prohibit that sort of thing from happening.

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