Thank you @jannarden: AMP Radio hears artist voices, does the right thing and drops the QuickHitz format! #irespectmusic

MTP readers will recall Jann Arden and the many artists who stood up to the challenge to artist rights from the “QuickHitz” radio format at a Calgary radio station.  “QuickHitz” advertises itself as broadcasting “Twice the Music”–and gets over the space-time continuum by cutting in half the already short singles edits of popular music.  (Full disclosure:  I got to know and respect Jann Arden when I worked at A&M Records in Hollywood back in the day.  Jann’s a real treasure and makes compelling records.)

That’s right–AMP plays more music by playing less.  Dare I say it:  Less is More.  But let’s not rub it in–the station has seen the light after Canadian and American artists rallied behind Jann Arden to make their voices heard.  It’s important to understand just how much chutzpa this takes–the stick that broadcasters have held over artists challenging radio for decades has been that silent threat to stop playing your music which helps to explain why U.S. radio doesn’t pay artists for radio play and why Pandora can routinely stiff pre-72 artists for even the statutory royalty that is paid.

So for Jann Arden, Ladies of the Canyon and many others in Canada to raise their voices as well as Blake Morgan, David Lowery, The Trichordist and many others in the U.S. to back their fellow artists does take real courage.  And before you start complaining about artists whining (and yes, Bill, you know who you are), understand that this time it had nothing to do with money.

After a couple weeks of this, I saw this tweet appear:

According to the station’s management:

“It just came to a point where we said it isn’t worth risking the relationships with all of our content providers, the various artists that we play, at our radio station.”

It’s important to note that risking relationships with content providers is not something that seems to bother Pandora, Sirius or their friends at the National Association of Broadcasters, the Digital Media Association, the Consumer Electronics Association or the Computer and Communications Industry Association.  Not surprising when you consider that the fluctuations in the stock float of the members of all these lobbying groups on a brisk trading day probably exceeds the market valuation of the entire worldwide music industry.

But the really great news is that AMP Radio heard the concerns of artists and did the right thing–they dropped the problematic QuickHitz format.  AMP is to be commended for changing formats–one should not underestimate the costliness of this move by AMP.  Rebranding a radio station is a costly enterprise and it really shows good faith on the part of AMP that they would be willing to make the move.

Great news indeed and AMP Radio is to be commended.  

But the real lesson of this encounter is that the artists united will never be defeated and we have Jann Arden to thank for that teachable moment.