Sunday, March 14, 2010

Is "The Dow Jones Of Pop" Music UP? Or, DOWN?

Chris Molanphy pens a great read that everyone who picks songs for radio airplay really needs to ponder.
"Like the Dow Jones Industrial Average — which signifies the health of the U.S. economy for millions of people who understand little about what the Dow means or how it works — the Hot 100 has been around long enough to become both a fixture and a shorthand for the current state of U.S. popular music."

I agree with him that "airplay-heavy charts are deadly. That’s the situation we had in the early 2000s, when iTunes hadn’t been invented yet and the labels had killed off the retail single."

Sadly, he needs to look deeper than his hypothesis of so-called "tyranny" that radio is "The Chief Executive" which undermines a good chart.

Too often it's promotional tactics manipulating radio in pursuit of album sales due to their higher profitability to the label which drives the chart and thus lacks "... checks and balances: the Congress that is the consumer.. (You also need a supply of good songs, obviously, but there’s not much a chart can do about that.)"

Stations (and labels) which ignore their own listener-driven research should not be surprised when the audience complains about too much repetition (aka too many songs I don't like) and looks to downloads for songs they simply like better than the chart hits being spun ad nauseam by radio in pursuit of #1 on the traditional trade magazine rankings.

Old habits are hard to break, but it's time we all rethink what we're doing and why.


Facebook Thread said...

Michael W. Rogers
radio has no ear for music period. lost it in the late 70's there is only two PD's who have an ear for music on the radio. sorry 3 you want to know who they are 2 are in alaska one in washington. and me. that makes 4

Scott Clark
I hate to tell you this, but I am number 5. Have been for 20 years and can prove it. Charts? We don't need no stinking charts! Ask our listeners....

Mark Langston
Charts should be a Result of what the listener often programers move song to quickly becouse of charts...we would do our format a service if we took more time to established more and stronger recurrents.

Michael W. Rogers
Man I have not done this in years so much fun. Scott is #5 ok sorry. Mark Langston good point, what the listener wants, but who has the money to buy a focus group. It's what you don't play that you win. And establish recurrents with time.
By the way it's not your fault there aren't any good songs out there. The music you play now has no meat on and won't hang around. From a Distance the last good song. And I can say that because I don't program anymore and nobody cares.
Honestly programmers get bored and you know it. You are sick of the same song so you change it. A programmer with an ear knows a good song won't change it ...and will give it time. But you programmers are too busy because you are ops managers now. You are tired because you do mornings and you get bored with the music because you are not a listener. And radio is a business and you have to make money. That's bottom line. You always forget that. It's a business.
Get a budget do a focus group that way your listeners will tell you what they want. You know the target because you see it. And you might find out you are not as good as you thought you were which makes you humble. Be surprised what your listeners will tell you in a focus group. Especially females.

Todd VanDyke Overbeek
I respectfully submit that we have become far too dependent on charts and focus groups. Radio has lost its edge because we have become followers instead of leaders. Certainly, it's essential to listen to our audience - but it's more important to "know" your audience, and be able to anticipate what they'll like. That opens the door to new, exciting songs and artists. Relying on charts and focus groups produces repetition that eventually drives our long-term listeners crazy - and away from us.

Jay Hitchen
Charts are looking backwards. Which is sometimes a good thing to do in case you went by something you should have stopped to listen to. If you don't have ears, get out of the business. After that, ask your audience and then listen to them. You don't need high priced AMT's to do this. There are so many services now that any PD/MD can test no matter what market. Yes, make a decision, but don't stand on the pulpit and preach what listeners should like.

Scott Clark
All it takes is to be local and live. Listen to your audience, be informative and give the boot to your syndicaters, satellite providers and consultants. This is so easy, listen to your old jocks and managers and blow off charts, trends, don't listen to allaccess, or anyone else but your listeners.

Scott Innes said...

For years The charts have dictaded to Radio..Now It's turning the other way again..Thank God! and i truly feel that Most Record companies couldn't pic a hit if there life depended on it!..Like Scott Clark said Listen To your Listeners...That's what i do on WYNK! have for 30 years!

I'm so sick of P'D's who say well i'm not playin a Sammy Kershaw new song because the record Company isn't putting any money behind that!!

WTF let the listener decide if it's a hit or not! How many listeners have said "I can't believe there playin that song it has No money behind it! & wsix IN nASHVILLE isn't even playin it!"? Another sad note..alot of stations are voice tracked so NO BODY ANSWERS THE FU@@ing Phones!....

God love the day's when Sam Philips called WHBQ And said I've got a song by a kid named Elvis...You have to hear it! And Thank God for the Disc Jockey who said Shit That's a Hit! and Not..."Well he's a new Artist..I'll play it at 4am & only one spin! And How much Money you going to put behind him?

But He didn't !! He played "That's Alright Momma" the calls went wild! because he answerd the damn Phones! And he played it for 3 hours strait! & Made Elvis Presley the King of Rock n Roll!