Surprise! Payola Still Keeps Indie Labels off the Air, According to Study

Independent labels do not get the same treatment as majors in terms of radio airplay, a new survey finds. The A2IM (American Association of Independent Music) conducted the 18-month survey of 61 indie labels -- the largest in the past decade -- to judge the effectiveness of FCC's Rules of Engagement agreement, which was signed in March 2007 and put into place to curb payola in commercial radio practices.

The study concludes that over 92% of indie labels reported no change in relationships with radio stations, and 41% claim payola still determines commercial radio airplay. Since the signing of the FCC settlement, one in four labels (nine of the thirty-nine that responded to this particular question) indicated they had been asked to at one point supply some form of payola.

The A2IM is quick to dismiss the study as a completely negative finding, indicating the presence of some success stories and the 5.8% of labels that say they have a better relationship with commercial radio stations since the agreement. The organization also considers the success of internet and satellite radio by independent labels and musicians as a positive sign.

Commercial radio stations, meanwhile, can take this survey into account and pay more attention to independent labels. As Rich Bengloff, President of A2IM explains: "Rebranding radio as cool and creating a stronger bond with their local listeners is vital to the health of radio. We invite radio programmers to read this report and open their minds – and playlists – to the opportunities presented by playing more independent music.”

Swedish singer/songwriter Frida Hyvönen will be releasing her new album Silence is Wild next Tuesday, Election Day, via Secretly Canadian. And just how she hopes that her sprawling vocals and enjambed lyrics will be enough to carry the whole album, she also hopes that performing in major East Coast cities will be enough to promote it. Perhaps these are the cities where vocally-driven piano stars are born?

While Hyvönen takes the day off from touring on her U.S. release date -- perhaps to let the political importance of it all sink in -- she hits New York, DC, and Philadelphia in the first half of November. And Chicago, just to shake things up. Chicago loves lady singers, too. Then she's off to Europe through mid-December.

Silence Is Wild tracklist:

Bon Iver’s Big Spankable Tour

In a perfect world, Bon Iver would provide the soundtrack to the film adaptation of the romance novel, Big Spankable Asses. At first thought, you may think the tender music of Bon Iver might clash with the blunt substance of a movie like Big Spankable Asses, and you'd be exactly right. They wouldn't go together at all, IF you let some Hollywood bigwig muck it all up by changing the purity of the story.

Big Spankable Asses is written in the literary tradition of E.M. Forster's An Assage to India and Graham Greene's The Quiet Ass. The story takes place in 1940s New York City, following an ass-loving private detective who is wrapped up in a murder mystery after his partner is killed. He finds himself with a femme fatale, searching for the stuff dreams are made of: Big Spankable Asses. He thinks he's found the mythical items, but they're made of lead. Oops!

The story is delicate and emotional, and it needs someone like Bon Iver to paint a soothing picture over the pain and greed for asses that is our humanity. I'd like to write the adaptation, but I know those Hollywood turkeys would turn it into some sleazy sex romp with guys running around bottomless getting all ass-crazy. I haven't approached Bon Iver with the proposition yet, but I'm confident we can maintain the integrity of the work of all three original authors. I'll try and meet up with Bon Iver at all of these locations:

RIP: Terrin Durfey of Pinback, Boilermaker

From Pitchfork:

San Diego scene staple, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Terrin Durfey has passed away after a decade-long bout with cancer, according to a post on the Electrical Audio message board verified by Touch and Go. Durfey spent time in the 90s as the bassist for San Diego indie rockers Boilermaker, and in recent years had played with the likes of the Jade Shader and Pinback.

Durfey intended to join Pinback on their recently wrapped fall tour, but a recurrence of his cancer kept him from the road.

- Terrin Durfey Fundraiser
- Terrin Durfey Fundraiser MySpace
- Pinback official website
- Boilermaker official website

Justice Releases Live DVD Full of Tour Secrets and Puns

French electronic artists Justice are simultaneously breaking into the world of puns and live DVD releases. In an effort to capture the essence of the band's live experience, director friends Romain Gavras and So-Me taped the band nearly non-stop during its three-week tour of the U.S. in March 2008. A documentary of the edited footage is set to be released December 9 under the name A Cross the Universe (har).

Justice are best known for their bass-slapping, sample-happy tunes, as well as for their eccentric live shows. And A Cross the Universe film makers Gavras and So-Me are no strangers to the duo -- each have directed a video or two for the band. So while the live CD can give folks a taste of the well-known Justice live show, a set of friends' eyes behind the camera will tell a more intimate tale of the duo taking on America with their giant, light-up cross.

The DVD/CD combo will be released on Atlantic Records with screenings set around the band's fall tour. Here's a treat for you:

Confirmed DJ dates:

EMI Reports Over $1 Billion in Losses… Wait, I Think Another Now That’s What I Call Music Just Dropped Yesterday… Make That $0.72 Billion

The results are in, sports fans! Last year, the world watched (and music writers eagerly lampooned) as the illimitable Terra Firma president Guy Hands (your friend and mine) "seized" control of the tanking EMI Music with the goal of whipping the corporation into some kind of financial solvency. Now, the results are in as to just how well EMI fared during its first fiscal year under Hands' thumb. And, well, let’s just say that "terra firma" seems to be a pretty apt description of its ultimate trajectory.

All in all, EMI has reported a loss of £757 million, that's $1.2 billion U.S., for the year ending March 31 of this year; not exactly the band aid that the music giant was looking for, I'm sure. In fact, the loss is more than double that of the previous fiscal year, where EMI lost a piddly £287 million (or $454.4 million). Revenue also dropped from £1.8 billion ($2.85 billion) last year to £1.45 billion ($2.3 billion) this year.

But Hands probably isn't biting his nails over this just yet, as the report also included an introduction from former BBC executive and current "right Hands man" Lord Birt (seriously!), who was eager to note that despite "continuing underperformance from EMI Music" and "the absence of rosy assurances about the future," all hope is not lost. Well, Halleluiah. Birt goes on to assert that the report "does not signal any lack of confidence in EMI, but sets out the problems that were faced in the year," adding that EMI's costs were too high and that its system was unable to tell how profitable its individual acts were. You know, no big deal. It'll probably work itself out.

But also, since these figures only run up to March 31 of this year, they do not include any results from many of this year's hit albums, including Coldplay's smash Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends (TMT Review) or Katy Perry's either obnoxious or just plain innocuous single "I Kissed A Girl," both of which could somewhat substantially bolster next year's bottom line (if all recorded music isn't free by then). In point of fact, only three EMI albums surpassed one million in sales during the time frame accounted for by the report, plus two of those always-great NOW compilations. Then there's those pesky one-off restructuring costs of £123 million ($195.8 million) relating to those faceless 1,500 staffers who were laid off worldwide, which shouldn't really burden future profit margins -- just the families of all those unemployed people.

If you're up to it, the entire 101-page report can be read online as a PDF file here. Meanwhile, EMI states that another report coming later this year will lay out its future strategy and plans, which I'm pretty sure just means that there'll be no Christmas Bonuses this year. Bummer.

Small Tour, Big/Family; Akron/Family on Tour

Akron/Family, as a holiday gift to you, have just curated a small (albeit effective) tour, braving some of the coldest parts of the country in winter, in an effort to warm your heart (dawww). The tour is split across the month, presumably so the/Family can spend time with their real/ones, starting out in Chicago and finishing up with a grand New Year's Eve performance at New York's Knitting Factory. No support announced as of yet, so go see about/them here for the updates.

The/collective has also been in the studio this fall working on a follow-up to last year's excellent Love is Simple (TMT Review), so hopefully, they're gonna bring us a first/glimpse at what they've been doing on their Christmas Vacation.

Ticketmaster Stays True to Its Promise: Subsidiary Begins Cuts

While our wallets are being impacted by the economy right now, personal luxuries are being put on the shelf, like concert tickets. Now the people selling those tickets are getting screwed over too. Last Friday, TicketsNow, which is owned by Ticketmaster, announced that it's laying off 62 customer service reps in its Crystal Lake office, roughly 70% of the call center work force.

Ticketmaster announced earlier this year its plans to layoff around 600 people, roughly 5% of its workforce, aiming to reduce its operating expenses to $35 million. So, look for plenty more layoff announcements.

So, what does this mean to all of us? Basically it is just going to take even longer to get through the phone lines when tickets for JT's next tour go on sale. But don't worry, we'll still get ripped off on service charges.

Upcoming Killers Tour Sucks Hapless TMT Writer Into Large Tub of Nostalgic Schmaltz

Yes, we are really writing about The Killers. I mean, I was confused too – TMT doesn’t cover Fall Out Boy tours or tell our readership much about Coldplay’s activities. But when the story popped up, I couldn’t resist. Why? I must confide in you that I harbor a secret -- a dark secret, one that I have shared with only my most trusted friends. It is a delicate situation; treat this with care.


Brandon Flowers, he who is sort of Mormon and definitely attractive to 14-year-old me, seemed to defy the logic of my “no-eyeliner-on-guys” rule. When I saw them live, it was everything I wanted and more. I screamed along to every song and thought Brandon Flowers’ stage antics (rolling around on the floor, balancing precariously on the stage’s edge) were a manifestation of his intense connection with and commitment to his music (I figured out halfway through high school that everyone occupying the stage had simply been very drunk). All in all, it was actually a pretty good show. Manufactured pop music often translates well to a large live setting.

And so I say unto you, esteemed TMT reader: if you like The Killers and have (or, if you are brave, have not) been hiding it all this time, let the world know who you are! Go to one of these shows and suspend your disbelief! Carry on the torch of pride through the masses of hipsters shunning you for liking something on the radio! Go out there and make me proud, dammit!

They’re taking control!

Extra! Extra! Read All About It! Magazine Peel Off Sessions Compilation

Four years after his death, the reanimated corpse of legendary British DJ John Peel has apparently unearthed himself to haunt the studios of the BBC and EMI in a stubborn attempt to continue issuing his Sessions to a still-living public. What else could explain the unceasing outflux of Peel Session albums? Very bad taste aside, we all hope that the wonderful tradition of releasing Peel's classic sessions will continue until time eternal. A new Peel Sessions collection will appear November 25 through EMI and will spotlight the founding Buzzcock, Howard Devoto-led, post-punk artys Magazine. Magazine: The Complete John Peel Sessions features 15 tracks taken from four different John Peel sessions recorded between February 1978 and January 1980, including a couple of interesting covers: Captain Beefheart's "I Love You, You Big Dummy" and Sly and the Family Stone's "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)."

Read on:

1. Touch and Go #
2. The Lights Pour Out of Me #
3. Real Life (Definitive Gave) #
4. My Mind Ain't So Open #
5. Give Me Everything $
6. Burst $
7. I Love You, You Big Dummy $
8. Boredom $
9. TV Baby %
10. Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) %
11. Permafrost %
12. A Song from Under the Floorboards ^
13. Twenty Years Ago ^
14. Look What Fear's Done to My body (AKA I Love You Because You're Frightened) ^
15. Model Worker ^

# 02.14.78 session

$ 07.24.78 session

% 05.08.79 session

^ 01.07.80 session

This is the latest release from Magazine, who have been hogging attention lately, especially since the remastered re-release of their four albums -- Real Life, Secondhand Daylight, The Correct Use of Soap, and Magic, Murder and the Weather -- in 2007. After leaving seminal pop-punk legends Buzzcocks in 1977, Devoto formed Magazine with guitarist John McGeoch in Manchester. An early lineup of the band will reunite to play a number of UK dates in February 2009. Taking part will be the classic setup of bassist Barry Adamson, drummer John Doyle, keyboardist Dave Formula, Devoto, plus a yet-to-be-determined guitarist taking the place of the deceased McGeoch. Support for these shows will come from up-and-coming dark-hearted ladies Ipso Facto.
02.12.09 - London, England - The Forum
02.13.09 - London, England - The Forum
02.14.09 - Manchester, England - Academy 1
02.16.09 - Glasgow, Scotland - Carling Academy
02.17.09 - Manchester, England - Academy 1