Wednesday, July 17, 2013


I can at least say this week I was intrigued by the CMJ charts.  I had a feeling early on that Daft Punk's run was close to coming to an end. They had been up there for a while and the promoters pushing them had moved on to the next big record.  It was actually pretty interesting to watch because together AAM and The Syn had gotten Daft Punk to #1 and kept it there for over a month. Now each of them had their own new record to push. The Syn with Portugal. The Man and AAM with Smith Westerns ( albeit each of them with a different second indie on board )   I wish it was possible to say they were on equal ground but its really hard to compare records that are on different weeks of the radio cycle. Portugal. The Man has been out there 4 weeks longer.   So even though its not really fair we can say for fun that this week was AAM vs The Syn for #1 ( seen that movie way too many times)

So knowing that Portugal. The Man has been stuck at #2 for the past few weeks and Smith Westerns climbing quickly up the chart, early on I gave the edge to Smith Western as they had the momentum.  As it got later there were swings back and forth between the two records. As far as I could tell Smith Western never had a lead but they did tie quite a few times. Portugal. The Man had as large as a 6 station lead, I am sure it got to be more but  that is the highest I saw it.  When charts closed it was close.   With 241 stations reporting Portugal. The Man had the lead with 52% of the stations and Smith Westerns had 51%.  So I had to go look closer at the numbers. As many of you know every station is different in how they contribute to CMJ so the bigger stations that impact more of the community/ sell more records/ get people out to shows are weighted more at radio. So we have to break it down to see how close it really was.

With the highest ranking of 6 there were the same amount of stations.
At 5 Smith Westerns had 3 more
at 4 Portugal. The Man had 1 more
at 3 Smith Westerns had 5 more
at 2 Portugal. The man had 10 more
at 1 Smith Westerns had 1 more

Look at how close that all is!  So you could say the 6's were a wash, the 5 extra 3's cancel out the 1 extra 4 that Portugal had. That brings us to the 5's and the 2's  While we don't know the formula it is fun to speculate. Ten- 2's should be worth at most two 5's  leaving one 5 and one 1 and so I really thought Smith Westerns would be the new #1.

I was wrong. Portugal. The Man took #1 this week but It had to be close.  I had to look more closely at the numbers then. Portugal. The Man did have more #1's overall with 30 compared to 23 so that could of been enough to put it over the edge. If I had to guess though I would have to say this is one of the closest 1 and 2's of the year.    So good job The Syn! Had it been any other time of year I doubt this old of a record could of snagged the #1 spot but records tend to linger in the summer and you can push a record for a good 6 weeks before people get tired of it.

So finally some excitement in the world of college radio. Will be interesting to see if they can hold on for another week or if Smith Westerns just have too much going for them. At #3 is Boards of Canada and originally when they went for ADDs I thought they could be a contender but they have moved so slowly. I think they get to #2 next week though.   I really can't believe how well Surfer Blood is doing, #5 is a total shock based upon what my stations have been telling me about the record.  Such is the summer though where names people recognize do better.   Speaking of that. I had a station send out an email where they said they did not have a chance to check out any adds this week but added "these" because she knew the name. That is the prefect summation of what happens at radio in the summer. It happens year round but so much more in the summer.   The power of just having a name people recognize can be enough to do well on the charts regardless of how good the record in and that concept is means so much more in the summer.

There was an artist I worked with once( in a different life)  who's name I will not mention, that was just very average at best.  I remember the first record did nothing. Nothing as in maybe 2 out of 400+ stations charted and played them. But they kept going. New record EVERY year and TOUR every year and when I asked stations about this artist they said they did not care for them but every record did better than the last from 2 stations to 4 ... to 6 ... pretty soon her records were charting. They never get out of the top 100 but they chart now and I would be hard pressed to find a person that actually likes them but the power of name recognition propels the newest record higher than the last.

On the flip side there are so many artists that have a big first record that does great at radio only to be forgotten because they never follow it up.  Today I was reminded of a band that was sent to me at radio back in the day called Transistor Sound and Lighting company.  Click on the link to see what Last FM said about them.
That could read

Like most other great Canadian independent acts that have reached the same fate (think: Inbreds, Zumpano, Thrush Hermit, Super Friendz, Rheostatics), Transistor Sound & Lighting Co. were instantly forgotten by pretty much everyone except the lucky few who had picked up their album"

That could very well  read "great college acts" ....

I guess that is what is great about college radio, that these artists even get a shot. But because of the volume of records and the turnover at radio you are easily forgotten unless you have Pitchfork/ bigger press outlets, on your side or you put a record out on a regular basis.  Thats why I am never shocked when a station has not heard of a band I think is big. Just this week I have mentioned Husker Du, Islands,  Broken Social Scene, Doves,  Minus the Bear and a real shocker Modest Mouse  just to name a few and at least one music director did not know who they were. So we educate and try and help them discover these bands that are new to them.   It can be frustrating at times but it can also be fun to turn people onto bands they had never heard of.

I should of covered this earlier but could not find a good place for it but we had our first record to get to the 100 add mark in quite a few weeks with Hunx and His Punx with 102 adds! Almost half of the people that did adds went for them.   I suppose we need to take them seriously for #1 consideration. I see nothing on the horizon that I can say for certain will be a #1 contender  so when you see that many adds you need to take it seriously.  There are 7 weeks until Labor Day and I suspect those next 7 weeks or so won't have anything Major with a TON of things hitting the week of Labor Day or right after. Sorry to mention there are only 7 more weeks of summer.  Let's forget I said that and spend more time outside.

Thank's for reading. If you have any comments or anything you want to talk about please hit me up on twitter! @theanimalarrg

No comments:


I am excited to announce all future blogs will appear on the relaunched Medium Rotation.  Find that and more! T...