Country In ... Country Out ... Depends on the Day
March 11, 2011
Jimmy Carter at Bike Week, Daytona...
Country Music has its good days and bad ... It's invisible one day and in your face the next. It's a bi-polar music format. Examples:
I am at Bike Week Daytona ... 400,000 people ... Country music has NO visibility here ... no signage ... no acts ... no promo stuff ... NOTHING ... I guess bikers of all kinds, races, ages, socio-economic classes don't listen to Country music. HUGE missed opportunity ... I was all over, from Daytona Beach to the Speedway to downtown exhibits. A cool, sunny day ... no marketing ... no PR ... nothing...
Okay, let's try something else ... Spring break 2011 .. Panama City, FL ... college kids ... all kinds this week Penn State and lots of Michigan kids. Luke Bryan played at an afternoon club date. He was great -- and the audience was great. They loved him and he returned the love with an excellent, two-hour set. Turned "Rain is a Good Thing" into a seven-minute chant and he even did Cee Lo's "F U" song .... The college crowd loved it. WPAP had some visibility, but this is a national stage and beach controlled by national sponsors. All those college kids ... you would think some marketing person would want to do something hands-on ... T-shirts ... something ... I guess college kids aren't in to Country music that much...
I tried to sleep through a DJ for four nights. He didn't play a lot of Country ... Kenny Chesney, Kid Rock, maybe a Paisley song. But not a lot. Some PR could have pushed Country on to his playlist. Missed opportunity again ... no real visibility.
Okay, let's try the Final Four ... Big year for Country in the TV sports category...Brad at the Daytona 500 ... Kenny Chesney now at the Final Four Big Dance Party that will be seen a little on the ACM show, we are told. Big-eyeball shows ... add the "American Idol" people trying to sing Country ... whoops.
Is the exposure of Country and Western on "American Idol" good for the format? Yes, I said "Country and Western" -- just like Ryan Seacrest did ... maybe even Tyler. SCREAMMMMM Did anyone affiliated with "AI "ever hear of Josh Turner? J Lo ... Tyler ... this clone kid on that show the judges think is the second coming for Country and Western ... yuk ... 100 kids walk by Tootsie's on Broadway and can do a better and more original set. And what is with these great producers involved with "Idol?" Iovine and Was. Did they lose their ability or are they trying to record something "Idol"-ish. Either way it is awful worst in 10 years. Some of these kids are really good and are being watered down ... someone has lost their music mojo!
I know the record companies are broke and just spent all their money kissing radio programmers' butts at CRS. Will butt-kissing equal spins? I don't think so in the end. Group PDs control the flow and won't risk their new cars on helping out the record man. I think those days are gone.
Is Country music now what Keith Urban does? I like Keith, but like the Houston paper said after his Rodeo Houston performance, that wasn't Country by any standard set by a Williams or Jones or any of the so-called Gods. Times have changed and so has the technology.
So many new artists and so many good artists can't get on the air. I just know ... if you don't hear it and you don't see it ... then how is it?
Country seems really healthy if you look at the Summer concert schedules, but the record companies better start selling something more than Swift and Underwood CDs or we are walking off a ladder into space.