Guest Editorial: Indie Policies Unfair
by Jeffrey Naumann
I have been a record promotion man for close to thirty years. As the business shrunk, I was part of the lay-offs. Since I have 30 years of experience and relationships in the business, I became a valuable free-lance promotion man to many record companies.
Now several major radio groups have a “no-indie policy” which I deem very unfair. It’s a decision that is hurting independent labels who don’t have any promotion staff and the majors who are understaffed. It’s unfair to me and to my colleagues who help break new music on behalf of their clients. And it’s unfair to the artists. It seems to me this resembles some sort of restraint of trade.
I do not view myself as an” indie,” but as a necessary out sourcing means of promoting, marketing and developing artists and bands. I conduct my business of promoting music with honesty and integrity as I have done my entire career. It is insulting and degrading to me that I cannot talk music with people with whom I’ve worked with and have been friends with for many years.
I feel the people that made this “no-indie” policy didn’t realize they might be throwing the baby out with the bath water. How are labels with no promotion staffs able to promote their music to all of radio? Unfortunately, not every artist and not every band has the luxury of a full-time staff available to work their record at radio. They can’t afford to pay a salary for 52 weeks, nor can they set-up a 401K or offer health care benefits. But they can afford to hire me to go out and work their record for a period of time. And they hire people like me to make sure that key decision-makers are aware of their music. Maybe they do it for the simple reason of time management – not everyone who releases a record has time to call every station during every call time as they have other responsibilities like calling retail, or setting up a tour, or working PR. Or maybe they hire people like me because they know that if they call the MD/PD, the likelihood of them getting a conversation, let alone an “add” is beyond their reach. Or maybe they hire people like me because I help them navigate through a system that has become increasingly difficult to understand. These are just a few examples of why hiring people like me makes sense for everyone involved.
Retainer independents, free lance promotion people or whatever the proper term is, are more important to our business now than ever before. People are making great music and I still believe that radio is the best way to get that music out there. It is essential that this no-indie policy be redefined and fixed because to punish us all in this business for the crimes of a few doesn’t make sense.
You can reach Jeffrey Naumann at:
email@example.com or 818.706.3864.