The American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), the trade group that, as previously reported, secured commitments from Clear Channel, CBS Radio, Citadel and Entercom to adhere to a set of radio Rules of Engagement, as well as blocks of programming time dedicated to independent music, has released those rules.

The eight rules, listed below, closely follow previously established guidelines set by former New York state attorney general Eliot Spitzer in his payola settlements and are rules that many radio companies already have in place.

1. Radio should establish, and appropriately publicize, clear and non-discriminatory procedures for music submissions and access to radio station music programmers (to the extent any such access is provided).

2. Radio should not be allowed to sell or barter access to its music programmers.

3. Radio should not form relationships with any music companies, independent promotion companies, or other parties which provide for exclusive access to radio station music programmers, nor should radio restrict access to its music programmers to those who contribute promotional consideration.

4. Radio should not exclude independent promotion companies, as a class, from gaining access to music programmers except for independent promotion companies which are compensated based upon playlist additions or increased spins.

5. Radio shall not ask for or expect, either directly or indirectly, any quid pro quo to play music, including but not limited to: a. Any promotional considerations including cash and prizes b. Local concert appearances c. Exclusive relationships with recording artists

6. Radio (individual stations or their parent companies) shall not act in a coercive manner, make or imply threats to withhold or reduce airplay or make or imply promises to commence or increase airplay, in connection with the solicitation of any promotional consideration, or any promotional consideration promised or given to competitor stations, including concert appearances and artist "exclusives."

7. Disclosure: All cash and non-cash consideration (above a reasonable threshold) made by labels, artists, or their agents shall be confirmed in writing and shall be subject to internal tracking controls, with the information gathered as a result of these controls available to the FCC upon its request.

8. Contest prize recipients to the extent permitted by applicable law must be identified publicly, and confirmed as not employees of the radio station or members of their immediate families or households.

The rules are the result of a series of meetings and exchanges with first the FCC, and later the radio groups, initiated in June 2006 by A2IM, which represents the interests of the independent music sector in the U.S. The effort is supported and endorsed by the Future of Music Coalition (FMC), American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), American Federation of Independent Music (AFIM), Recording Artists Coalition (RAC), the Music Managers' Forum (MMF) and the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS).

Clear Channel, CBS, Citadel and Entercom have agreed to a consent decree that includes a $12.5 million payment to settle payola allegations raised by the FCC.

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