Wednesday, July 03, 2013


Happy 4th of July week and Pirate! birth-week (mine is this weekend) !  I hope everyone is planing on doing something other than work this week as I know I am!   Weeks such as this I often think ehhh maybe I will skip the blog this week but then sure enough I get a note saying, hey I really liked what you wrote last week and it keeps me going. And for that, I thank you.

Not to be a broken record here but the charts in the summer time are very slow going. Less records, means less big records means less movement. It also means, as we talked about last week, scores of stations taking weeks off, reporting the same reports.   This week we see Daft Punk holding on to the #1 spot of the charts, however with a significant drop in stations.  That could also be due to the huge drop in stations reporting.  In looking this over, Daft Punk only lost 5 more stations than the number of stations that did not report.  So about the same.  Portugal. The Man made a nice move up to #2 and Boards of Canada joined in at #5 while the National and Vampire Weekend each dropped one spot but stayed in the top 5.   Smith Westerns make HUGE debut at #7 having went for adds last week. That has to be the biggest good surprise of the week while Surfer blood, a former #1 most added record is already falling from its peak of 10 last week.  But seriously how can you predict the charts when there is a change in 30+ stations every week.   I would like to say with some confidence that either Smith Western or Portugal. The Man will take the #1 spot next week. Also making it difficult is that each of those records has 2 indies on it so It can depend on who is the better team? AAM + Neverbetter or Planetary and The Syn.   But then again maybe stations are just playing America by Neil diamond over and over again this week that they are forced to send in the same charts as last week.

For adds this week we had another Sub Pop record at the top Daughn Gibbson with Bosnian Rainbows and Owen about 15 behind.  And it was never really that close the top 4 adds on Monday night were the same 4 at the end of reporting on Tuesday.

With yet another Sub Pop record atop the adds chart it got be to thinking about the dominance of some labels at radio. It just seems that for a while over the past few years that every Sub Pop record naturally goes to the top 10.  It reminds me a lot of a label most of you have never heard of called JETSET.

In august of 2003 they were at their Peak. Pretty much EVERY record they released went top 10.
Check out this Coverstory from CMJ of that year

Then seemingly overnight they disappeared, you can check out their former roster here

I thought of Jetset because currently we are working on a 10 year anniversary comp from a Label called Arts and Crafts. And a lot like Subpop and Jetset before it Arts and Crafts had a mighty run at College radio. Check out their roster here  Of course you will recognize a lot of names on there however even though their history is current, with a current band on the charts even, many ( I would gather over half) have not heard of Arts and Crafts.

It's a shame really but there is no single thing to blame. There are tons of new labels every year and a lot fold every year and if you don't have something current and trendy you are often forgotten in a very short amount of time.  Not everyone can have the sustained success of a Sub Pop, of course they too have had their ups and downs but to sustain being a "cool" label at the college radio level for so long is very impressive.

While Sub Pop is generally regarded one of the most popular labels I went looking into what label has THE most record on the charts right now. Using only this past weeks chart. While compiling a few weeks worth would no doubt be more accurate it would also cut into my birthweek so you must forgive me this once.  For this weeks chart the #1 label is actually Self- Released, while this is not a label obviously it does show that more artists are doing it by themselves. This number should actually be a bit higher if you take into consideration the fake labels bands make up for themselves.  That Could easily add another 5-10 into that category.  Next up was Domino with 6 records on the chart.  But if you were to count label groups as a single label then Beggars with ( Matador/ XL/ Beggars/ 4aD) would have 10 records on the chart and the group of Dead Oceans, Jagjaguwar, Secretly Canadian would have 8.  Sub Pop by the way is tied with Merge with 5 records on the chart.  I started to then count up Indie labels vs Major labels,  and without getting into the debate of if some of the indies really are indie labels, if they are commonly though of by stations as indie labels I counted them as such. In counting these up I found that overwhelmingly Indie Labels make up a majority of the chart. In fact there were only 25 official major label records on the chart, and not much more if you start to count some of the fake indie labels.

So that sort of makes the argument that College radio is for artists on independent labels. Until you look directly at the top of the charts where we see our friend Daft Punk. Daft Punk is one of the biggest records of the year, It has hit #1 on billboard and is currently in the top 5 so why is this a College record when college radio did not create them. The argument can be made in many cases such as well the #2 record on the chart Portugal. The Man. They are on a major label, however they were built by college radio. In much the same way Black Keys or Tegan and sara were built by college radio.  At what point does that artist stop being for college radio.   It goes into a much larger discussion of what Is college radio for?  This debate won't be decided here. I am not even going to argue it as I have to work artists on both sides often times I am just wondering what you guys think out there. I think a lot of time its made up as you go along.  I remember earlier this year we were working on The Knife and a station told me, "I'm sorry that's too big for us"  This same station is currently charting the new Sebadoh Ep, a band that has far more mainstream popularity than the Knife has had up to this point.  It is a interesting question that I hope you guys will help me talk about.    I hope everyone has a great 4th of July break. Go get some Ice cream cake.

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