Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sales Per Spin?

I give Atlantic/Warner Music Nashville credit for coming up with some new math to attempt to convince country radio to do more with teen talent Hunter Hayes.

You can't blame them, since the majority of local listener testing involves between 30 and 35 songs and Hunter ranks #31 or #32 on this week's major country radio spin charts, which means Hunter isn't even being tested at most stations.

Don't like the chart number for your artist?  Create a new chart.

But, here's the problem.  Raw sales numbers give no indication of which station's listeners are buying a song, and thus perhaps they may work for CHR to a degree as a format that's set up to play the most popular songs regardless of genre.

Country radio, on the other hand, is set up to attract and hold onto a specific set of listeners who agree on a unique set of musical and non-musical values.  If programmers get it "right," our carefully-targeted "tribe" will spend an above average amount of time, compared to other formats, with their favorite station, which best reflects their tastes and preferences.

Big props, WMN and Hunter, for the impressive sales.  Maybe they are even a good sign for future growth, but it also might be that the fact that some country radio stations spun his song last week and that it simultaneously sold fairly well is pure coincidence, having no relationship to one another.

Those sales could also be due to social network buzz and Hunter's youthful fans telling their friends, having nothing at all to do with country radio airplay.

On the other hand, WMN's custom chart correlating country radio spins in the last seven days and music sales got me to blog about it, adding to the buzz, which is never a bad thing.

Meanwhile, I'll continue to wait to see how folks who use my radio station rate a song before spinning it very much regardless of how well it sells.

My job is to get as many of them as possible to use my radio station as much as possible, not to sell records, in spite of the fact that it's very rewarding when both things happen at the same time.

1 comment:

Sean Ross (click to read it all) said...

Fifteen months is indeed a long time in the career of a teen act, as evidenced by the hit-making trajectories of various teen idols over the last forty or so years. (click on the link to read the Radio-Info article on teen acts' track record)