Does Radio Airplay Matter?
The characteristics of those who get airplay
Now that we’ve looked at the general access question, let’s use various filters to compare those who reported “frequent” or “some” airplay with the rest of the survey population.
Respondents reporting “frequent” or “some” airplay on any type of radio were more likely to be a member of a performance rights organization. 86% of those with frequent commercial airplay, and 72% of those with frequent noncommercial airplay were members of a PRO. This is significantly higher than the membership levels of the general survey population, which was 37%.
They are also more likely to be members of SoundExchange. This is especially true for those who report “frequent” or “some” airplay on internet or satellite radio, where SoundExchange membership is 4 times as likely as with the general survey population.
Of course, for those who report some airplay, membership in PROs and SoundExchange makes sense. If your music is getting significant airplay on any type of radio, there are revenue streams that flow back to the composer and publisher via the PROs, and to the performer and sound recording copyright owner via SoundExchange.
Percent of income derived from music
For all survey respondents, 42% reported deriving all of their personal income from music. However, for the respondents reporting “frequent” or “some” airplay on any type of radio, the percentage of income derived from music was equal or higher.
Earnings from music
Respondents reporting “frequent” or “some” airplay on any type of radio also seem to be earning more from music. The gross estimated music income (EMI) of all survey respondents is $34,455. However, those with “frequent” commercial airplay have a gross EMI of $120,848, four times as much as the gross EMI of the general survey population. Those with “frequent” noncommercial airplay have a gross EMI of $70,590, twice as much as the gross EMI of the general survey population. No matter the frequency or type of airplay, those survey respondents receiving some airplay seem to be earning more from music.
To be clear, radio airplay is simply a factor in earnings, not the sole reason that those with frequent airplay make significantly more.
The data from our Money from Music survey is instructive, but it can only give us part of the picture about radio’s value. That’s why we also asked every interviewee about radio airplay and its perceived impact on their livelihood.