Record Breaking And Record Making ...
August 12, 2016
It is hard to get you mind around the depth of Michael Phelps' accomplishments. Twenty-six Gold medals is a Beatle, Elvis, Garth-like record in an equally competitive field.
Everyone likes a winner! Everyone loves a winner! These days on Music Row the rules don't seem Olympic clear.
Getting your song on the radio has never been harder. If you are too old, too young, too Country, too pop, too female or your song is too long, corporate-controlled radio will find a way to say no.
Now if the big stations says yes ... and play you as a big exclusive, that can come back and bite the label/artist on the butt! Some stations that didn't get the market-exclusive will add that record late or maybe not at all. If you are a label, you often spend your days and nights walking on egg shells dealing with situations just like that ... BUT ... When you think about it, wouldn't you get mad if your competition got a new product and gets the image over you of having the new music in that town or having greater importance? It's complicated!
You look at so many artists and wonder what did they have to do to get a radio hit. There are critical darlings like Kasey Musgraves and Chris Stapleton, just to name two. They win Grammys and every other kind of award, but have trouble with mainstream Country radio. The smart-ass answer would be ... record a hit song ... in the end, that can be an answer.
Winning is complicated ... unless you are on a roll. A select few artists right now could put out "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" and be an automatic Top 10.
It has to be very frustrating for some of the greatest performers that are still active and they struggle with radio adds. Spot-check any Top 20 market Country station today. There is a feel and sound to those highly programmed stations.
It is bubblegum at times and bro Country at others. The artists outside those boxes are stuck at night or not at all.
There is a Country music station out there for all tastes ... 100% on that ... It's a stream, an Internet station, SiriusXM channel and if you are lucky, one of the not-so-restrictive home town stations.
Look at the rise of Netflix and the apps like currently used by NBC with the Olympics. More choices, more freedom for the viewer/listener.
The secret is to provide a product no one else provides. NBC paid billions to have that monopoly these two weeks. The secret formula is uniqueness ... that secret formula again ... be unique ... be one of a kind ... have something that others can't copy that only you can give. It's the secret of TV and classic radio of the '40s to '90s.
Howard Stern proved it best recently in radio this century ... It is why cookie-cooker, sound alike radio that is run by a computer with liners cut by jocks in Cleveland makes no sense.
The youth movement is a bit crazy, too, for radio, but not for labels ... kids buy music or they used to ... Now they are computer freaks ... YouTube and everything else...
Do any of these radio executives have children? Just watch them! Simple rules still apply.
Being a winner has always been complicated and hard ... but it looks so effortless ... just watch Mr. Phelps!