Radio & Records War Against Change
The backlash against the revamped format started when singer/songwriter Jann Arden went on a Twitter tirade about the station editing songs. That began a war of words as Newcap VP/Programming Steve Jones accused her of cyberbullying, while Paragon Media’s Mike Henry (co-developer of the concept) took potshots at those who critiqued those who criticized the concept.
The quick turnaround came after what Jones claimed was “numerous legal threats from a variety of different directions.” What were these supposed legal threats?
The music industry and the radio industry are reliant on each other to make money. Record labels promote songs to radio, which rarely goes out of their way to seek out songs from smaller labels or independent artists. Many of these labels and larger radio groups are signing deals to “align their business interests“. Just look at the recent launch of Cumulus and Big Machine Label Group’s “Nash Icon“.
What QuickHitz did was break the status quo. CKMP was nolonger beholden to the record label approved “radio edit” and version of the song sold on ITunes, Google Play, etc… This broke the status quo between the two businesses so beholden upon one another. If radio stations began choosing songs simply based on their length or even worse their merits as opposed to which ones are being serviced by the recording industry, it would ruin the primary marketing and promotional tool the big labels have.
Newcap is one of the largest radio operators in Canada, equivalent in scope to Cumulus in the USA. The tiff with Jann Arden led to her songs being dropped from all of their stations. How many other artists and record labels were preparing to do the same if Newcap and Sparknet/Paragon didn’t retreat on their plans for Quickhitz?
If I had to guess, Quickhitz will undergo retooling in which the brand begins to partner with record labels to create “Quickhitz Exclusive” edits to songs as they’re released giving those songs priority airplay on the stations that will pickup the format in the future. Otherwise as Paragon’s Mike Henry stated in his critique of the criticisms, “QuickHitz come and go as rapidly as 24 songs an hour.”