Wednesday, April 24, 2013


I said it here last week like it was an undisputed fact that we would see Thee Oh Sees at #1 this week. Well I was right but that does not tell the whole story really. I have been writing about how close everything is up at the top and how these next few weeks will be be pretty insane and it looks like that insanity is about to hit full on next week.    This week Thee Oh Sees did get to #1 but it was not the landslide I had predicted.  Jumping from #95 to #4 last week it seemed like they would beat out everyone by double digits.   I kept track of all the big records all day Monday through Tuesday and not once throughout the 22 times I checked did they have the most stations charting them.  In fact this week the #2 and #3 records ( The Strokes and Wavves) each have more stations charting them than Thee Oh Sees.    In terms of percentage Thee Oh Sees have 51% of the stations while The Strokes have 54%. Neither is up near the 60% we have seen for some bigger #1's this year.  Thee Oh Sees happen to have a slight edge when it comes to bigger stations and that was enough to overcome the 10 or so station lead The Strokes had in raw numbers.   A lot of the time you can predict who will be #1 based upon raw numbers but when they are within 10 or so you really need to be looking at the ranking of the stations.

This week the top 10 has four new entries. The Knife at #4, Kurt Vile at #7, Iron and Wine at #8 and James Blake at #9.  I wish I could be as bold as I was last week with Thee Oh Sees and just KNOW what would be #1 next week but there are so many factors this next week it really makes my headspin. Right now I think you could make arguments for 6 or 7 records having a chance at next weeks #1.  You can never count out the incumbent, as once you are there it gets easier to gain stations and stay there. You don't get this close to #1 and give up so of course The Strokes still have a shot.  The Knife, following the same path as Thee Oh Sees maybe?  Iron and Wine, been #1 before has all the big AAA stations behind it and then we have this weeks records that went for adds. Junip, The Yeah Yeah Yeah's and Phoenix.  All will be top 10 next week without a doubt but the YYY, despite a lackluster performance on adds come in with the biggest debut of the ADDS at #58.

So you have this large group of records that all have legit shots at going #1 and at the same time you have a lack of concentration from music directors due to it being the end of the year and also it being exam time. As we saw last week it starts to get difficult to force any real change on the charts and it also makes it harder to have an idea of what will happen. If stations that really love Iron and Wine but Hate Thee oh Sees report more next week then they have a real shot at #1. It also depends on how each promotion team comes to prioritize their records.  Without calling out specific strategy lets take a look at some things that could happen.

Right now the records in the top 10 are being worked by 7 different companies and one in house promo team.  However 3 of those records have more than one company on them. One company is working on 4 records, while 2 others are on 2 records.  So as you can see there are a lot of overlapping parts here. So if company A working with company B has a different agenda then maybe that record misses its window, and this time of year its all about taking advantage of your window.   The window right now seems perfect for either The Knife or Iron and Wine but again you cannot predict what everyone is setting out to do on the charts. Who knows company B could have a record they are working that they love so much but has not charted at all so they concentrate on that instead and thus end up missing the closing window.  I can only tell you what I would do in each situation.  And with each of those records I would make this next week my #1 push week, with the exception of Thee Oh Sees since it has already been there and I could focus on other records.

As I talked about briefly this weeks #1 most added record was Junip and in no offense to Junip I did not see that coming at all. I talked to a few other promoters about it as well and they were shocked it was not Phoenix or YYY.  Both of those records came in significantly behind Junip as well. It was a runaway from the start.  However Junip was the only BIG add with 2 indies on it this week and you never know if some records get mailed out on time or perhaps too early. The YYY debut was very high and indicates that the muffed ADD week will be no big deal. I also heard from some stations that they did not yet see the Phoenix record so that could of been what slowed them down as well.

This weeks top debut goes to Akron/ Family at #26.  The biggest jump is from The Flaming lips coming in at #20 with an 88 point jump. I had almost forgotten about them but if previous Flaming Lips records are any indication we should still pay attention and see what happens with this one.  We had 33 debuts this week going back to what had been a somewhat normal number for debuts.

I am really excited to see what happens next week though it should make for a crazy top of the charts.
If you have any questions or topics you want me to talk about please hit me up on twitter at @theanimalarrg . Until next time have a great week. ...

oh also in unrelated just for fun here is a video Omar reminded me of.

Ride the Snake 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


The number one carousel continues to turn with the third new #1 record in as many weeks. This week, as I thought might happen WAVVES takes the spot with 52% of the reporting stations. I would not get used to seeing them there though as we have a LOT of records that seem poised to move into that spot next week.

Just looking at the top of the charts we have a lot that have put themselves in a position to take the #1 spot. The Strokes continue to move up the chart all the way to #2 but this record looks to be so much like the Tegan and Sara record. It missed its window by a week and is about to be jumped yet again by more records so I see no path for them to get #1. I can easily tell you who will be the #1 record next week but lets go through the rest of the contenders first.  Low continues to move up and even locked down #1 on AAA but it seems they don't have enough of the overall panel to make a real move up to the top.  Telekinesis made a nice move into the top 10 up to #8 and I could see them getting a spot or 2 higher but this is week 4 for them and this time of year thats considered old.  Postal Service is on the outside of the top 10 at #11 and has a good chance to have a top 10 peak but I would not expect much more.  James Blake really picked the wrong week to go for adds it seems. I keep on hearing from kids how much they like this record and to be #12 the week after you go for adds is very impressive but there are records that will surely block James path to the top.  If 6 out of 10 stations have told me they like James Blake I would have to say 8 out of 10 are telling me about Kurt Vile. He comes in at #13 after the ADD week and any other time of year I would say he would have a shot.  However, nothing, no one is going to be able to stop Thee Oh Sees.  This week they come in at #4 a week after collecting 172 adds and debuting at #95.

This weeks ADD race came down to IRON AND WINE and THE KNIFE and it was one of the more exciting races to the finish I have seen. We saw something similar with Local Natives and Tegan and Sara earlier this year but this one came down to ONE STATION.    There were many swings on this weeks race. At first Iron and Wine got out to a 49-43 lead  with 93 stations having reported on Monday morning.  The six station lead held for most of the day with it getting as low as 3 adds before jumping back to 6 rather quickly. Our first tie came in with 183 of the stations reporting on tuesday morning with 99 adds each and slowly The Knife began to pull away. With 208 stations reporting they were up by 2 adds. With 222 stations reporting The Knife had a 5 station lead and with 232 stations reporting the lead was up to 7 stations.

This week there were 270 stations that reported adds. So with 85% of the would be reporters having reported The Knife had a 7 station lead and with only a half hour left in reporting. At this point we don't know there will still be 38 reporters but we figure it will get close to last weeks add total of 280 but a 7 station lead with 30 min is usually enough to stop worrying.  At 240 stations the lead was The Knife by 6 stations. At 251 reporters with 12 MIN left to report the lead was The Knife by 3 stations and then at 262 reporters the 7 station lead had completely disappeared and we were tied at 147 ADDs each.  At 269 stations and my computer frozen we each had 152 ADDS.   When the dust settled there would be 270 reporters. The Knife would be #1 most Added with 153 adds and Iron and Wine #2 with 152.

So yeah this week was intense to the last second. Please, don't you EVER forget that every station matters when it comes to ADDS when you ADD a record from 5 weeks ago it helps no one.  So what does the mean going forward.  Well Both The Knife ( #62) and Iron and Wine (#88) debut on the ADD week in much the same way Thee Oh Sees did last week at #95. You also cant overlook this weeks #3 most added record The Flaming lips who also debut at #108.  If Thee Oh Sees can make such a move you have to think these other records have a shot as well. And in order to get #1 they better try. Next week brings in the new Yeah Yeah yeahs and also the new Phoenix record ( I see another #1 battle brewing for adds) and both of those should shoot up the charts as well.

The window is closing for this group of records to really have a shot at #1.  I had this graph a few weeks ago and I wanted to share an updated version of it again.

The blue and red lines are from the past 2 years and the green line is for this year.  Currently we are in week 15 of the charting year. We should peak up again next week and then should start a free-fall of stations. We will loose them to summertime, exams, stress, binge drinking and many other factors but we will lose a LOT of stations and lose them very quickly weeks 17-20. That means changes are going to be harder to come by on the charts. Thats why I see an all out push for a lot of these records where you might normally see them wait it out a few weeks. The window for all of these records is roughly the same and only a few will get to #1. Which ones? Your guess is as good as mine.  The only one I will say for sure is Thee Oh Sees next week. 

The number one debut of the week comes from Milk Music at #46, the biggest move comes from Kurt Vile jumping from #193 to #13. There were only 25 debuts this week.  As always if you have any questions or anything you think I should take a look at please hit me up at @theanimalarrg on twitter. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


I really do love this time of year. Every week is PACKED with so many good releases. Talking to a lot of the Music Directors out there and hearing that ADDS are really difficult for them recently. It should continue like this for the next 3 or 4 weeks and perhaps a bit longer. But in 3 or 4 weeks a lot of the stations will be going on summer break/ exams and every label wants to have their record out there before this happens as they think summer time means no one is around. While this was once very true, where fall would see some 500+ stations report, most stations now are year round and so is the student body. But since the industry is run by old white men a lot of them have not realized that times have changed and thus still rush to put out records before summer.

Because every week has been so packed we are starting to see some craziness up at the top of the chart.  Last week I went over possible outcomes but no single record stood out to having a clear path to that number one spot.  If they wanted it you had to go out there and get it. This week that is exactly what Devendra Banhart did. I always liked what the record was doing as far as the weekly progression, and thought they were just missing out on higher spots each week.  This week with only 48% of the stations they were able to take the top spot. But up until the last 20 min it really could of been anyone. Youth Lagoon was right there, WAVVES and Strokes were as well. But in the end Devendra had more of the larger stations and thats what set them apart.  With the percentage being so low and the gap between 1-4 being so small I really don't see how they keep it for a second week.   Black Angels made a big move up to #6 from #13,  Phosphorescent up to #9 from #12, and Telekinesis barely missed out on top 10 coming in at #11.  If I were in charge of pushing any of these records I would make this next week my #1 push week.  With the train of huge records coming in there could be a lot of one and dones.  I think ultimately Wavves takes it next week as they have the rare combo of big stations and mass appeal needed to get there.  I think any other time of year you could see any of these other record make it to #1 but I just don't see it happening.

The biggest debut of the week comes from Bleached, last weeks 5th most added record beating out last weeks #1 most added Postal Service ( #24) Generationals ( #4 most added last week in at #28) Cold War kids ( #3 most added in at #40) and Caveman ( the #2 most added in at #46)  we will get more into this a bit later and we have talked about it before, it is interesting to see how the ADD spot did not translate directly into a higher debut for Cavemen.  This week we saw 26 debuts a little off our pace of 30+ a week.  The record thats been on the chart the longest is Tame Impalla with an impressive 24 weeks.

While the top 4 race for #1 was very exciting to watch this week, THE most exciting thing was watching what was going on with adds.  As I like to do I check the ADDS first thing Monday morning to get a feel as to what the trends are. You can't always tell what will end up at the top but you can see if you are in some early trouble or if you are off to a good start. This Monday while checking I figured James Blake was going to most likely end up in the top 5 for adds so I would start there.  Out of 40 something stations they had around 10 adds( he ended up at #2 most added) . Pretty good. I next checked Thee Oh Sees and was blown away as they had close to 26 adds out of the 40. I thought for sure I did something wrong so I checked again and sure enough they were steamrolling the competition.  And they never looked back. with an impressive 62% of stations adding Thee Oh Sees they captured #1 most added with 176 ADDS. The most this year by 20 something ADDs. It got me thinking how long has it been since we have seen an ADD week that impressive. The most adds last year on a record was Grizzly Bear with 165 adds. In 2011 Fleet Foxes had the most with  172 ADDS.  In 2010 it was Hot Chip with 167 adds for the most in the year and to find a record with more adds than this week you have to go back to 2009 when the Decemberists had 191 ADDS.
While I was looking up all of these numbers it reminded me how getting #1 most added, no matter how impressively done, does not equal a number one record.  That Decemberists record did well but never got to the number one spot. ( It was blocked by Neko Case that only 2 weeks before then had racked up 202 adds)   So what does this mean for Thee Oh Sees? Well I think it has a good shot at #1 in 2 weeks depending on where they go on the charts next week, it also depends on what happens on ADDs this week. Perhaps something will do even better?  In either case I think it makes anyone that thinks they have a shot at #1 want to get it sooner rather than later.

Thanks for reading, If there are any questions feel free to hit me up on twitter @theanimalarrg. If there is something you want me to cover or look into let me know. Something I can do better please share.  Until next time!

Wednesday, April 03, 2013


We have a lot to look at this week so lets just jump right too it. Youth Lagoon holds down the #1 spot for the second week in a row with an even STRONGER showing than last week holding down 53% of the stations.   The Men and Devendra Banhart are neck and neck for 2 and 3 with 42% for The Men and 40% for Devendra Banhart.  I mentioned last week I thought we would see lots of change in the top 10 and we sure did.  Devendra, David Bowie, The strokes, Charles Bradley and Wavves all jump up into the top 10 this week.  We also see Low finally making a move I thought it would of made last week getting up to #11, Telekinesis with a nice first week to #21, and Born Ruffians coming in at #30.

But lets stay with the top 10. Here is a look for those of you scoring at home. 

11515YOUTH LAGOONWondrous BughouseFat Possum
24824THE MENNew MoonSacred Bones
3116133DEVENDRA BANHARTMalaNonesuch
45647FOALSHoly FireWarner Brothers
52117NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDSPush The Sky AwayBad Seed
6156063DAVID BOWIEThe Next DayColumbia
711018573STROKESComedown MachineRCA
8132184CHARLES BRADLEYVictim Of LoveDunham
989211FOXYGENWe Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace And MagicJagjaguwar
1086-102WAVVESAfraid Of HeightsWarner Brothers
In just looking at the chart my first thought is Strokes is pretty impressive. Wavves a tad of a letdown.  Devendra very impressive as well.  I am starting to think that the window for The Men is closing fast. Not only are there newer records joining the competition for #1 next week but Youth Lagoon, as I mentioned before is even stronger than it was last week. The question is then is this the peak or will Youth Lagoon gain even more stations? In previous years with all the spring breaks and SXSW you would see a drop off of 30-40 stations for the month of March. This year March only lost 15 at the biggest drop so it was a lot steadier. I bring this up because in previous years those returning stations would of been late to the party on whatever big records there were and helped power them forward or keep them high on the charts.  So had this been last year I would say without a doubt that Youth Lagoon would gain more stations again next week and be pretty strong for a least another week.  
Right now though I am really torn as to what could happen. I mentioned that I think the window for THE Men is closing only because of how close Devendra is to them. I bet if 5 more  stations charted him that would be enough to get past The Men.   Foals getting to #4 I think should be it's peak and thats better than peaking at #6  but I doubt it goes up anymore. Bowie would most likely get top five if not for the Strokes and Wavves, as i think both of those jump up there next week.   Ok back to my first thought, The strokes. When I took a closer look at the numbers the difference between #7 and #10 is about as small as the difference between #2 and #3.  

When we get to things being this tight on the charts you have to start looking at who is working what. 
So in the top 10 AAM has 3 records they are working by themselves and one they are working with The SYN. The Syn also has 3 they are working by themselves and one they are working with AAM. A Man, A plan, A canal has one. Terrorbird has one. Distiller has one and one is being worked by just the Label.  I think the easiest path belongs to Terrorbird or A Man A Plan A Canal as with one priority to worry about in the top 10 you don't risk harming yourself. However having 2 indies on The Strokes makes them very interesting to me. While overall I feel having 2 companies on the same record does help, It's also hard to predict if both companies are going to say "this is IT" on the same week.  Also when you have #1 part of you wants to keep that spot even if it means not getting another record #1 if you are not sure you can do the switch. So that clouds things a bit as well. That is why you often see the top 5, when it gets really tight like this, stay unchanged.   Something that could also impact next weeks chart is the fact that WAVVES, while they missed out on #1 most added by 1 last week also made the most added list for the 2nd week in a row. A sign that perhaps the record did not mail in time and stations were still catching up on the record.  

Speaking of the ADDS list this week was a pretty even week where we saw 7 records get 60+ adds. That usually happens when there is no true runaway #1. This week the #1 spot went to the Reissue of the Postal Service record. The first Postal Service record went #1 easily back in the day but I would be shocked to see the reissue get it. I expect nostalgia will fuel this record pretty strongly but not enough with the amount of big records still on the way from Flaming Lips, The Knife and Yeah Yeah Yeah's to name a few.  There was really no other record on the Adds list I  see as being a contender in weeks to come though.   

The number one debut of the week comes from Mudhoney at #31 and the biggest move is Born Ruffians with a 170 point jump! There were 23 debuts this week around our weekly average for the year and our biggest drop comes from Sally Shapiro with a 70 point drop. 

This there were a few college radio things that I read that I found really interesting and I wanted to bring them up for discussion.   The first being an email I was forwarded by a station regarding .  There have been plenty of options to come and go as an alternative to CMJ charting. is another.  Both of them I think are welcome in our industry but neither of them is going to take the place of CMJ.  CMJ does have it's flaws for sure but the one thing it is not lacking in is the actual pulse of college radio.  You cannot accurately surmise what is happening in college radio by looking at 23 stations ( Dusted magazines sample size last week ).  I could take 23 stations and make my own chart as well and we could end up with Tegan and Sara being #1 forever, but how credible would that be?   Dusted though does provide a great forum for records that might be overlooked on CMJ and for that I say they are a good thing.  With CRC you are getting a slightly larger cross section of reporters but it still topped out at 71 3 weeks ago and averages just around 60 a week.  As a promoter the CMJ chart is the one my Labels want to know about. For some time we did put Dusted chart numbers in our report and in the past have included a few of the others that have come and gone and each time our clients would only be curious about the CMJ numbers.  I do think there is value in these other charts but not as a replacement to CMJ perhaps as a complement.  

And lastly I wanted to share a nice article written by one of the many reporters to CMJ  


Pretty provocative on face value and for sure a very worthy conversation to have. I had conversations with other EX md's and promoters about this for the last few days and wanted to bring that conversation to you.  You can also see my response to her article on her page. I think her argument is flawed but a very good conversation to have.  I also find it curious that the lack of female inclusive bands spreads to her own chart. Is this because there are a lack of female artists making music? I am not sure. 
One thing this article made me think about is if the gender gap on the charts is caused by the promoters and or the stations. So I took a closer look at the college radio panel and looked at every reporting station so far in 2013. Over these short 3 months there have been 414 reporters.  Of those stations the Music Director is Female at 41% of them. While it is not half it is enough that if they wanted to impact the chart in a meaningful way with Female artists they could.  That takes care of the stations. What about the promoters.  I mentioned briefly in my reply that of Pirates! first 4 employees 3 of them were female. I feel there is and has been a strong female presence at college radio. Terrobird, Distiller, Co-sign, AAM, The Syn, Planetary all fit this description. On top of that Jagjaguwar,  and  Merge the two labels that promote mostly in house are both fronted by Female promoters.   ( a late addition but it should be mentioned that Sub Pop and CMJ have a strong Female presence as well ) So really I do not see the problem being at a College radio level. If anything our small subsection of the industry is best suited to take on that kind of sexism that does exist in the world.  

I will say the point that really made the most sense was in the last paragraph:  

"The best thing that can be done about the lack of women on the college radio charts is to give female musicians a little boost (from both college radio music directors and just general band supporters), and if you’re starting a band, consider adding more ladies to the mix" 

I  look forward to sharing more articles like this in the future if you have anything to share please send it my way on twitter @theanimalarrg or start a conversation with the #cmjrecap  Until next time. 


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