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EMI boss: Acts can’t rely on just radio

The CEO of record label EMI in the UK has told the radio industry she would be very wary of recommending to any artist that they build their career or an album release campaign relying on radio promotion.

Speaking at the Radio Festival in Salford, Andria Vidler – who was previously Managing Director of Magic 105.4 – said that the two industries need to work closely and create a shared approach to helping get music to the world.

She said she made the comments as someone who ‘loves both sides of the relationship’ and suggested that the ‘great mutual love affair’ was under threat as ‘both parties take each other a little for granted and enjoy the arrival of pretty new digital things’.

Vidler said: “The digital revolution has brought many new channels and opportunities to connect with the potential fan and the speed of technological change is only increasing – it may have taken radio 38 years to reach 50 million users, TV 13 years, the internet 4 years but the iPod took just 3 years and Facebook added over 200 million users in less than a year.”

“I absolutely love radio, I truly love it. I began my career in radio, first at Radio Five Live and then moved over to the commercial sector working a Capital, EMAP and Bauer,” she said. “But now over 15 years later, I am at a music company and the harsh truth is that I would be very wary of recommending to any artist that they build their career or an album release campaign that relies on radio. That’s not because radio isn’t immensely important for reaching music fans, or that there aren’t great broadcasters out there. It is and there are.”

She added that radio is no longer the first and foremost path for consumers to discover new music – and that for many young fans it no longer occupies the same formative space in their minds.

Ms Vidler said that despite all the ways both the radio and music industries have evolved, the relationship between record labels and radio stations is almost exactly the same as it was ‘five years ago, even 10, 15 years ago.’

“We talk about playlists,” she said. “That’s the bulk of it.”

Vidler concluded: “When as a radio station you do want to back and get involved with a new artist – let’s not begin our conversations with playlists, let’s begin with our shared vision for this artist… and a mutually beneficial strategy to share this music with the world.”

The Radio Festival continues until Wednesday afternoon – you can follow our live coverage at www.radiotoday.co.uk/live

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