radios and a tendency to shaping musical diversity
Today, few analysis or studies regarding the diffusion of music on radio are debated publicly. Radio remains a medium which rarely makes the news, and does not gain much academic attention (in a vulgarized form or not). Although there are specialized think-thanks, its academics condemn the lack of literature focusing on recent evolutions that concern radio. This situation seems to originate from the age of this medium, but also the relatively slow evolution of radio does not attract much attention. Abundantly available in each western country, the strength of this medium seems to be forgotten. Radio indeed accompanies us on a daily basis for several hours, making us forget that we do not have direct access to the actual production.
The program managers of French music radio stations offer a number of carefully selected titles, chosen according to criteria that are specific to the radio industry. This aspect becomes apparent because a few leading titles are often selected, instead of a diversity of artists. In short, artists do not have equal access to FM stations. From a historical, the domination of play-lists, despised by artists, has been on a constant increase constant. The conception of these play-lists depends on the preferences and strategies of radio program managers and artistic advisers. They can also change according to the results of general surveys, accurately analyzed by radio professionals. The power of these surveys is not to be underestimated. According to Gilles Seydoux, former managing director of Chérie FM, a decrease of 0,3 point of audience represents a loss of 2 286 735.2 millions of euros in advertisement. ‘Following a logic based on the audience, we are constantly required to conduct surveys. If somebody was to not take the results into account, it could kill the radio. A radio buys and throws away, it is that simple,’ explains Christophe Sabot, General Director of Europe 2. While there is a debate regarding the necessity to preserve the cultural uniqueness of radio within a competitive market, radio seems to indirectly suggest a restrictive model of music, which is hardly ever contested because of its invisibility. This aspect is all the more embarrassing since today, this medium remains one of the leading means of the music diffusion and an important actor in the music market that allows artists to communicate with their audience.