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I wonder if the statement that "payola tends to get us music that is in accord with consumer preferences" is still valid in the digital age where it is so much easier to sample music than before. And given that younger listeners are more familiar with all these services/options, I can't help but wonder whether payola has (or will start to) target older and/or less savvy consumers. I'm not convinced the historical benefit of favouring new and innovative forms of music will continue for much longer. See http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110916/03140815978/how-payola-works-t... and http://blog.tunecore.com/2011/09/how-to-get-your-song-on-commercial-radi.... Fascinating subject.
I'd be curious to know more about the business models of the "3rd Party Providers" that fill the niche that laws prohibiting payola created. As radio fractures into ever smaller taste publics, is Coarse's argument that older consumers have more money and different tastes still relevant? for example, are there any listeners over 40 to commercial radio stations that play contemporary hip hop or alt rock? If this older/wealthier audience has long since departed niche youth stations, then the advertising in general would be targeted for younger "music buyers", as opposed to older "car buyers". Does that argument for the efficiency of payola still hold up?