The Infamous Radioban of Britney Spears

First let me begin by saying the radio ban is true, it exists and there is proof of it, which I will be posting and discussing below.

During the planning of the Dream Within A Dream tour in 2002, Britney was in talks of using Tour Promoter Clear Channel to be the sponsor for her tour, however for whatever/whomever’s reason they decided to go with Concerts West instead. Larry, I’m assuming probably thought this would be good to market the Crossroads movie and the tour at the same time (they promote movies/theatre also)

When Clear Channel got wind of this they were furious. They also happen to own the majority of the radio network… So they put her on the radio blacklist meaning Britney’s music was NOT to be played!

With radio being such a big chunk of the drive in sales back then, Slave which was just released stalled and peaked at number #27 in the US. The rest of the singles from the Britney album all followed suit and underperformed in the US due to having no radioplay.

The following is a court document:

01/22/02

The Honorable John Ashcroft
U.S. Attorney General
Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington DC 20530

The Honorable Michael K. Powell, Chairman
Federal Communications Commission
The Portals II
445 12th Street SW
Room 8B201
Washington DC 20554

Dear Attorney General Ashcroft and Chairman Powell:

I write to express my serious concern about vertical and horizontal integration in the radio, television, and concert promotion industries. Specifically, I am concerned that Clear Channel Communications, Inc. has negatively affected recording artists, owners of sound recording copyrights, consumers, advertisers, and competitors in the radio and television industries.

Clear Channel’s consolidation of the radio and concert promotion industries has had a variety of negative repercussions on recording artists, copyright owners, and consumers. Clear Channel has “punished” recording artists, including Britney Spears, for their refusal to use its concert promotion service, Clear Channel Entertainment, by “burying” radio ads for their concerts and by refusing to play their songs on its radio stations. The consolidation of the radio industry also lends growing support to persistent allegations that record companies often must pay radio stations to play the music of their artists.

These actions have obvious, negative implications for consumers, both through higher concert ticket prices and reduced selections of broadcast music. To the extent your respective agencies have jurisdiction to do so, I believe you should investigate and fully prosecute any violations of the antitrust laws or FCC regulations that have occurred in the above-referenced circumstances.

I am also concerned about related reports of “parking” or “warehousing” of radio and television stations by Clear Channel. These reports allege that Clear Channel has intentionally flouted FCC rules limiting ownership of multiple radio and television stations in numerous markets around the country, including Monterey, San Diego, San Francisco, Hudson NY, Catskills NY, Charlotte NC, Chillicothe OH, Oklahoma City OK, and Waco TX. Clear Channel often arranges for third parties, shell corporations, or related entities to buy radio and television stations in markets in which Clear Channel has already reached the ownership caps or been faced with public opposition or regulatory scrutiny. Clear Channel allegedly has arranged to officially “buy” these stations when, and if, the FCC lifts those caps.

I believe you should fully investigate these “warehousing” and “parking” allegations, and if true, should prosecute any violations of law. These acts may be illegal in and of themselves, and are likely to exacerbate the negative effects, outlined above, that consolidation has had on recording artists, copyright owners, advertisers, and consumers. It is also apparent that any investigation of possible antitrust violations by Clear Channel must consider the existence of “warehousing” or “parking” arrangements.

I would appreciate the favor of a reply at your earliest convenience concerning your agencies’ plans on this matter.

Respectfully,

HOWARD L. BERMAN
Member of Congress

The radio ban ceased late 2003, with the last single suffering from this being Me Against The Music. After this Toxic was released, the first single able to benefit off of radioplay and the rest is history.

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