I think Boehlert’s implicit argument is that as record promotion becomes increasingly expensive, labels will be forced by economic necessity to be more cautious in what they choose to promote. This fear of risk would translate into an increasing reliance on music made by established stars (Elton John AGAIN?) or followed established styles (cf. Oasis). As Boehlert says: “with today’s tightly controlled playlists, any new song is a risk that can cause listeners to switch to a channel with an older and more comforting hit.” (Notice that this would make kids and teens the true pop avant-garde – they, blessedly, have no sense of history.)

Even if this is true, though, that’s only one reason for industry cautiousness. Even if the current system of record promotion suddenly evaporated, radio programming would be still be as tightly researched, developed and marketed as any other product from any other large corporation from any other industry you’d care to name.