NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — After the recent "payola" probes conducted by New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer were passed to the FCC for resolution, a settlement was reached that included provisions to provide greater access to commercial radio for independent labels and artists.
During the settlement negotiation, Clear Channel and a number of other broadcasters agreed to devote more time to indie music. Seemingly in pursuance of this goal, Clear Channel has started a new program entitled New! Discover Artists – here's how they describe it:
Clear Channel Online Music & Radio’s New!, the online destination for new music from developing and emerging artists, debuts its second round of artists today. New! features artist produced "home videos" and hundreds of songs available on-demand from unsigned artists as well as artists from labels including Atlantic, ATO, Capitol, Epic, Interscope, Island Def Jam, Jive, RMG, Sony/BMG, TVT, Universal, Virgin and Warner Brothers and more. In addition, GarageBand.com, the largest community for independent music, will provide fifty unsigned artists.
New! has already generated a huge response from artists and visitors alike. Over 600 Clear Channel Radio stations are participating in New!, providing tremendous exposure for artists. The launch of New! included artists such as Teddy Geiger, James Blunt, Rihanna, and Young Jeezy and received interactions from hundreds of thousands of music lovers during the first round alone!
One of the added bonuses to this round of New! is the "Hometown Hero" feature, which gives local Clear Channel Radio stations the chance to highlight a local artist.
It seems like a great program for aspiring artists – however as a wise man once said "The large print giveth and the small print taketh away." Part of the contract stipulates that the artist forgoes all royalties and rights to the material in question.
The lengthy contract includes this bon motte:
"You grant to Clear Channel the royalty-free non-exclusive right and license, in perpetuity (unless terminated earlier by You or Clear Channel as set forth below), to use, copy, modify, adapt, translate, publicly perform, digitally perform, publicly display and distribute any sound recordings, compositions, pictures"
In this reporter's opinion, this hardly seems like a equitable way to dispense with the requirements of the FCC settlement. Artists should not be required to provide what amounts to free content for Clear Channel properties in exchange for the possibility of exposure. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers