Memo: CBS Radio Increases Song Info to Help Sell Music
Memo: CBS Radio Increases Song Info to Help Sell Music

For decades, one of the biggest frustrations for radio listeners and label reps alike has been the sparse information given about the songs that are played (anyone remember the "When You Play It, Say It!" stickers that used to be on promo CDs?).

According to an internal memo forwarded to Billboard.biz, CBS Radio President/CEO Dan Mason has taken that bull by the horns: "Effective immediately, CBS Radio contemporary, rock, urban and country stations will increase the integration of title and artist information on new music releases in an effort to personalize, and drive sales of the product." The memo, under the subject line "A Message From Dan," follows in full:

"While I was in Los Angeles recently, I met with a leading music industry executive to discuss the mutual benefits of keeping an open dialogue as our respective businesses navigate the future. Certainly the dynamics of 2011 are vastly different than they were 20 years ago for both industries, and maybe it's a bit idealistic to think things can be the same as they were when I was the program director of WPGC in Washington. But I believe we should always be thinking about where we were and where we are now, and how we can apply what we've learned to help us grow.

"In the spirit of this conversation, I asked this exec what's the one thing the radio industry could do to help sell more music. The answer came from him in less than five seconds, which astonished me. He replied, 'Just give the title and artist of the music you play.' Pretty simple idea and it wasn't the answer I expected. He went on to question me as to how the concept of not giving that information ever crept into radio programming in the first place. Having been around programming for 40 years, my recollection was that in the early '80s that information was defined as clutter - the 'more music and less talk' theory. I didn't subscribe to that theory, but it was the thinking at the time.

"It's been several days since that meeting and after much internal discussion here's what we're going to do to put that sacred cow to pasture. Effective immediately, CBS Radio contemporary, rock, urban and country stations will increase the integration of title and artist information on new music releases in an effort to personalize, and drive sales of the product. We will also be expanding our radio play history online as far back as several years, providing a living synopsis of the songs we feature on the air for anyone to access.

"This is a commitment I feel very strongly about. Our listeners should hear an immediate difference in the way we present our day to day programming as we implement this. Click here [internal link] to listen to a few examples that I think hit the right tone in pre- and back-announcing songs.

"This is a positive step CBS Radio is taking not only to support the sale of music, but in strengthening our relationship with the artists and those that promote and manage their careers.

"I welcome and appreciate your feedback on ways we can bring new energy and passion to the way we present our content. We shouldn't just play the music, we should showcase the music. Love of the product is contagious. Please feel free to email me and let me know your thoughts.

Dan"