Hey Radio -- They're Coming To Take You Away, Ha-haaa!

Just like in the novelty record by Napoleon XIV. It's now radio's theme song:

Remember when you ran away
And I got on my knees
And begged you not to leave
Because I'd go berserk?
Well. . .

You left me anyhow
And then the days got worse and worse
And now you see I've gone
Completely out of my mind
And. . .

They're coming to take me away, HA HA
They're coming to take me away, HO HO HEE HEE HA HA
To the funny farm
Where life is beautiful all the time
And I'll be happy to see
Those nice, young men
In their clean, white coats
And they're coming to take me away, Ha-haaa!

Yes, the record industry -- the one you made all those hit records for over many decades has fallen on hard times. Blame it on Steve Jobs. Blame it on the Bossa Nova (oh sorry, my USC readers may not know this song by Eydie Gorme). Or blame it on those computer happy kids of generation Y. But don't blame yourself. Right?


The Congressional Royalties Board has already given you the biggest warning you could get, but you're not getting it. The CRB is choking off all but the Clear Channels of Internet radio by imposing royalty payments that are so onerous that it threatens to shut down the burgeoning business of streaming radio as we know it. (And when have you been able to use the term burgeoning in music media of late).

You, the radio industry, think that this isn't your fight. But it is, because they're coming to take you away.

You thought it was a joke
And so you laughed
You laughed when I had said
That losing you would make me flip my lid
Right. . .

You know you laughed, I heard you laugh
You laughed, you laughed and laughed
And then you left
But now you know I'm utterly mad!
And. . .

They're coming to take me away, HA HA
They're coming to take me away, HO HO HEE HEE HA HA
To the happy home
With trees and flowers and chirping birds
And basket weavers who sit and smile
And twiddle their thumbs and toes
And they're coming to take me away, Ha-haaa!

Maybe the radio industry is suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome and is in denial that it has lost the next generation and more and more people are listening to their entertainment on mobile devices other than radios. Maybe that's why you think everything is going to be alright.

If we could just get some HD radios into their hands, they'd see!

If we could just get the FCC and Congress to let us own more stations then we could compete against the iPod -- everybody's favorite whipping boy for audiophile dysfunction.

If we could just run one or two fewer commercials, they'd come back and see what they're missing.

Why that's insane! Which brings me back to "They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-haaa!".

I cooked your food
I cleaned your house
And this is how you pay me back
For all my kind, unselfish loving deeds?!!
Hah. . .

Well you just wait
They'll find you yet
And when they do they'll
Put you in the ASPCA, you mangy mutt!

Yes, radio, you not only cooked their food, you helped them bring home their bacon. You played their records. True the music provided you with content, but they made all the money and then turned around and charged you for the right to make them rich.

Suddenly the words to this song aren't so insane anymore. Remember, you made this one a hit too. You just didn't know it was all about you.

For all my kind, unselfish loving deeds?!!

What ingrates, the record industry!2 It's like don't they know radio has problems, too?

The music business is over.

The labels are dinosaurs. They have had every opportunity to get with the changing times (iPods, mobile devices, downloading, DRM-free music, etc) and they resist. They sue students. The RIAA sued a stroke victim last week. They just want it all to go away so they can crawl up into the fetal position hugging a few CDs.

The radio business is over.

Listeners are aging. They admit they've lost the next generation. They seem incapable of responding with truly new content. They have no mobile plans. No Internet radio plans (other than streaming their own signals). They've forgotten they're in the content business not the broadcasting business. They just want it all to go away and pretend that making more of what the audience wants less of on HD subchannels will make radio a booming business again.

TV is over.

They just don't know it yet. That's why they are muscling their way into the online content delivery business. But they have no content -- maybe with the exception of HBO. They're in the cheap programming business. Reality TV shows. Rebroadcasts on the web. Video pre-rolls are not a business model. I knew television; television was a friend of mine. TV, you're no YouTube.

Newspapers and print.

Oh, don't go there. That all happened before the digital revolution. A textbook lesson on how to blow up your business before the digital age. In fact, the Internet can save print.

But the deepest cut of all is the one that is coming to the radio industry from their friends at the record labels -- the people they helped make!

The signs are all there.

Flat royalty rates are in your future. What's happening to Internet radio will wake you up when it is too late. No one is going to feel sorry for radio when the final nail in your coffin is hammered in by your former partners -- the very music industry you made and nurtured.

If I'm radio, I open my wallet, pull some of those attorneys off the petty lawsuits and start firing on the real enemy.

Laugh if you must. But...

Those nice, young men
In their clean, white coats
And they're coming to take me away, Ha-haaa!

They're coming to take YOU away. Do something now.