Second Addendum To The ‘Open Letter’

Wow, I guess I hit a nerve. I should have thought about the fact that something new to me was a struggle many of you have lived in the middle of for quite some time.

I wanted to add a second addendum for two reasons. One, I realized that “I made an exception
for my own label and possibly individual labels altogether in the last addendum. But I also wanted to say that this is not necessarily the stance of your individual radio station. I don’t know what station you listen to and I definitely don’t have a list of stations and what they believe on this issue. I have just noticed a problem.

The second reason I wanted to add the addendum is that I have gotten some responses from radio station people. Responses that I didn’t expect, but really appreciate from people I respect. And due to these responses, I have come to feel that my letter may have been taken in a tone that was not what I intended. And that it was probably taken that way because I wrote it poorly. Honestly, I wrote a blog, just sharing what I was thinking. And I should have put more time into it. So let’s dig into this a little more.

One point that has been consistently brought up is that artists and labels benefit from songs being played on the radio. I know I didn’t mention this in the radio section of my letter, but it was my main point in addressing the labels. Radio is a huge benefit to an artist’s career and is a major force in promoting their product. My point to them was a hope that they recognize that and respond accordingly. Radio is still the main way CCM listeners find their music. Radio has begun and bolstered the careers of most every major musician of our generation. And on the other side, there are still some amazing songwriters out there that don’t get played and therefore aren’t as well known, even though they write much better songs than I do. People buy CDs of artists they hear on the radio. People go to concerts of artists the radio introduced them to. I guess I just want to make sure people didn’t read the letter and think I’m against radio or even unappreciative of radio. I was careless in not outlining all they bring to the table. But I still think we have a problem on our hands. All of us together.

The second point brought up often was the concept of royalties. And it was this that I realized I did not paint with a clear enough brush. That analogy doesn’t really work, but I think you get the idea. In my letter, I did not educate the general public as to how the system works now, so people were not able to follow me when I said I really didn’t think it needed to change. So let’s look at that. Right now, the way my mentor explained it to me, every time a station plays one of my songs, a part of a penny goes into a jar with my name on it. Obviously that is not completely accurate but you get the idea. And don’t think that a part of a penny is a small amount. That station plays hundreds of songs a day. All that money adds up and is a significant part of a station’s budget, and definitely goes to the artists and supports them. I think that is a system that works. I don’t think I made that clear enough last time. As it was explained to me, the recording industry has asked for the royalty amount to increase significantly. And in response, the radio industry has asked for it to go away or even for the money to switch directions. I think both have valid cases, meaning that the music the record industry is offering is getting better and better and deserves to be rewarded for their work. Also, the radio industry is the main advertising force for the music industry and deserves to be thanked and rewarded. That being said, I think we were in a good place to start with. I know the economy is tough and we are all trying to squeeze pennies from wherever we can find them. I’m just saying that I don’t think labels and radio should try to squeeze them from each other. I think we are a team. I think we work together. I loved how Ken Burns put it in his response, that we have “a symbiotic relationship.” And I think the old system is working fine. I apologize if in any way I suggested that radio was not financially supporting its artists. It is. And I am merely saying that I think what they are doing now is enough.

Lastly, my own personal note, to my fans and to everyone else, please do not take this as an addendum because I’m afraid radio won’t play my new single. I didn’t think of that until writing this. But honestly, my response to radio is the same as it’s always been. I appreciate what they do because I am a listener. As far as my music goes, I expect you to seek the Lord on what to play on your station. If it’s Joy Unspeakable, then play it. If it’s not, then don’t. I can’t ask any more than that. And due to that trust in your decision making, I felt that we could address these things now. I am no mediator. I don’t even know the specific facts of this issue. I’m just a normal guy who has a heart for the recording industry and the radio industry to work together. To quote a different Mr. King, “why can’t we all just get along?”

And also, I want to thank all the people who responded, both fans and radio folk. And special thanks to Jim McDermott and Ken Burns for speaking truth and putting their real names out there. That makes me confident that we are a family having a discussion, not just throwing things blindly at each other. Thanks again to all who just spent 15 minutes of your day reading this.

Todd