Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Hello friends, I hope all is well out there in radio land.  This week we have a new number one in DR DOG. I must say these are easier to right when I don't have a horse in the race.  But let me tell you how very satisfying getting a #1 record is.  It never gets old.   Every year there are just around 20 or so #1 records out of 50 something weeks of the year.  Getting #1 is hard.  Just look at some of the records that   peaked out at #2 or #3 that are  currently on the charts now: Superchunk,  Franz Ferdinand,  Chvrches, No Age and perhaps next week we might add Of Montreal to that list. But all are great records that had they gone at a different time of year could of been #1 records. Everything has to hit right for a record to go #1.  There has to be hype for sure, it could be the best record in the world but that matters so very little unless others are talking about it. Most of the time it needs to be a band on their second or third record. There are very few bands that go #1 on their first record.   You also need a good company behind the record.  ( well you need 2 of the three for sure )

 I often wonder what the charts would look like if there were no promoters.  You can take a look at those handful of stations that don't talk to anyone and get a glimpse and it is not pretty.  Lots of very VERY old releases. A stagnant CMJ if you will.   I debate whether the charts are better or worse off because of promoters. For the most part I have to say they are better.

So yeah this week feels really good.  We had the goal of #1 and we had this week circled as the week to make it happen ( actually I had last week circled but we came up short)  This week I was worried about Of Montreal a lot and of course you have to look out for the record that is already there, Arctic Monkeys.   I really thought that Arctic Monkeys would drop more than it did this week and would not be a factor the whole time but if you are at #1 why give it up so easily.  I thought Of Montreal would challenge having jumped up to #4 last week but I expected a lot more from Chvrches.  Perhaps they saw they had a long shot at #1 and decided to concentrate on something else, maybe Sleigh Bells as that did jump all the way from 16 to 7.  The jumps this time of year within the top 20 are way more difficult than they were in the summer so I view that as very impressive. For example if you look at The Dismemberment Plan they stayed exactly the same as last week despite gaining over 20 stations! 20 stations should be enough to move but when others around you gain more you end up running in place.

To be honest I expected more from Arcade Fire, as they had barely over half the reporting stations report it as an ADD and only came in at #58.   Pretty disappointing.  ... oh... whats that? Ahhh I see they did not even send out a digital until Monday and no one got it in until Monday at the earliest .. well damn thats pretty good..  I remember making ADD lists back in the summer time and even then my thought was we need to go for adds at least 3 weeks before Arcade Fire if we are to have a chance to go #1.   If we take a look at history the last 2 Arcade Fire records each went #1 the week after they went for adds.  I know there is a "chance" that Of Montreal could sneak in there or that DR DOG could hold on but I don't see that happening.  It could but my money is on Arcade Fire going #1 next week.   The last Arcade Fire record held #1 for 8 weeks I think it holds it for the rest of the year.

One of the issues brought up to me this week is that because the record got sent out late the fact that it got #1 most added makes ADDS somewhat of a joke.  I see the point of course but have never argued that ADDS are not silly. I tell stations all the time if you think ADDS are dumb then don't do ADDS but unless you are a big station that is going to get everything all the time it makes sense to play the game and do adds.  That is a lot of what ADDS are, a game. Is there any doubt that the biggest band at college radio is Arcade fire though? No there is no doubt so them getting #1 makes perfect sense.  The fact they did not send out the record early or "on time" makes no difference, if anything it reinforces that they are HUGE and will dominate no matter what. I mean if My Bloody Valentine can go top 30 without sending a single copy out then i would be willing to bet that Arcade Fire could go #1 without sending a record out.

So what will we discuss the next few weeks as Arcade Fire dominates? I might do a more in depth look at the charts. If Arcade Fire goes as I think it will we might have to start talking about who has the best chance to over take them.   We could also talk about what record are going for #2.  Or we can talk about whatever you want to talk about.  I am always here to talk @theanimalarrg  So lets talk

thank you for reading!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

CMJ RECAP ISSUE 1318 --Week 41

Can you believe there are only 7 more ADD weeks after the one we just had.  Kind of crazy right?  Everyone will be rushing to get their records out before the end of the year although at this point I would rather just wait until closer to the end of the year. With Arcade Fire going for adds next week could we have our first ever record to debut at #1 on the ADD week??? ( no we won't but it is fun to think about )  Speaking of, how many weeks will it take to get there and how many will it stay there?  I think it goes to #1 the week after ADDS and stays there for 6 weeks so until the end of the year.  I hope I am wrong for the sake of my records but who isn't going to play this record?

We have a lot we can talk about today.

Lets start with the CMJ music festival.  While some ( Consequence of Sound  ) thought the festival was on the downturn and not worth much I thought it was great.  It is a festival with many goals and depending on who you are it may or may not of satisfied those goals. If you are a New yorker looking to just checkout new bands I don't think it is really worth it as "bigger" bands come in the week before or the week after.  If you are looking to connect with the people that make college radio run across the country then well it was a huge success. Three or four years ago was one of the worst CMJ's I can remember. Very few MD's everyone kind of saying is this worth it?  Then something happened CMJ started giving Badges to subscribers of the magazine and sure enough more people from schools came. This year I met more new music directors than I have had in a long time. An awards ceremony that was once mostly empty was packed. It felt really good ( we will talk more about that in a bit)  So yeah overall I disagree with the statement that the festival is in its decline.  

The same might not be said for CMJ overall.  On the Wed of CMJ we were all a BUZZ of the news that CMJ was being sued for A million dollars.  Story here over at Pitchfork  I wont pretend to know what this means for the future of college radio. I have been here for a while and seen CMJ at some pretty weak moments that I thought for sure would end its long run as the trade magazine for college radio.  Through every one they have somehow made it through. This one seems worse.  There was a lot of talk about what we would do next year when CMJ did not exist.  Half Jokingly half serious we really have no idea what could happen.  The overall attitude was that something else would step up.  For the most part college radio is a tight knit group and we all want to see college radio succeed and all think it is an important part in the growth of a band and I think most would want to see that continue.  There are alternatives out there and we have talked about them here before but the problem with them is they lack a legitimacy that CMJ, for whatever reason, continues to have.   So I have no answers but I think this could be bad. Only time will tell.

I hesitate to talk about the CMJ awards even though many of you have asked me what I am going to say about them. I remember when I won the first 4 CMJ promoter of the year awards. It felt real good to win the first few and then it felt silly. I felt bad for winning.   I wanted to give others a chance and so I told my stations please do not nominate me but to nominate someone else.  I have not won since and I am fine with that.  I have heard a lot of things about this years CMJ awards from a lot of people and some people were pissed even some stations expressed to me their disappointment that it looks rigged.  Rigged is a strong word and I don't think it is rigged I think The Syn did a great job making sure they won every category.   I am not going to complain or be bitter though but rather hope that in the future there is a level playing field.

So we had our first charts in 2 weeks this week and the numbers were pretty much the same as two weeks ago. Thats a great sign I think for the next few weeks to come.  Another week above 300 reporters is a great thing to have.  Arctic Monkeys took the #1 spot for the 2nd week but charging up to #2 was DR DOG jumping over CHVRCHES.  The big move though has to be Of Montreal coming in at #4!!! Granted last week would of been its add week but man that is aggressive.   We also see some nice moves from Yuck, Best Coast, Haim, Fuzz, and Dismemberment Plan. All of these records have a goal to get to #1 and by my calculations they have a week to do it!

This weeks #1 most added was Cass McCombs powered behind a few indies working it to both AAA and College took the #1 spot by 2 adds over the Head and the Heart with Cults coming in third. All having over 100 adds. Seeing a lot of weeks with a bunch of records having over 100 adds. Lots of big records, and many more to come over the next few weeks.  

Thank you for reading. Lets talk more about all of this on the twitter hit me up @theanimalarrg


Wednesday, October 09, 2013


Thank you friends for stopping by this weeks CMJ recap.  Having grabbed #1 last week with Neko Case we were faced with a 2 part challenge.

1) keeping Neko Case #1 and 2) Putting Dr. Dog in a position to get #1.
There was a lot of debate about the best way to go about it.  I felt pretty strongly that there was very little possibility in getting Dr. Dog ( last week #13) all the way to #1 considering Arctic Monkeys were going to continue pushing for #1 and we were still a good 60+ stations behind.  I thought we had a chance to keep Neko #1 but we had to be sure we did not sacrifice Dr. Dog to do so.   Also the week after getting #1 I feel you cant put the same amount of pressure on stations that you did the previous week.   I mean you can but it all begins to fall apart if EVERY WEEK IS THE BIGGEST WEEK EVER FOR EVERY RECORD  YOU EVER WORK. (same way some promoters think every record they work is the best record ever )  I just don't think thats a smart way to do it.  So I pick my battles.

Early on we had the same gap we had last week between Neko and Arctic Monkeys but every time I checked the gap was wider than the previous week. By the end of the day Monday I started really trying to lay the groundwork for a big Dr. Dog push that will come in the next few weeks.  In the end though Arctic Monkeys ( congrats to them since I am sure they thought they should of had it last week ) took the #1 spot. Neko Case fell to #2 and setting up the next few weeks Chvrches and Dr. Dog took #3 and #4.  

What happens now is a good question especially with a week off due to CMJ. Some stations will combine two weeks of charts. Others will put out a chart next week and a different one the week after and some will just freeze their charts because they are too hungover from being in NYC all week.   So I go into the weird 2 week period pretending there is a chart next week and my goal is to get Dr. Dog into the top 3.  When I have convinced myself I have then going for #1 in 2 weeks seems pretty easy.

As for ADDS this week...  I did not see that coming. The last Of Montreal record was the poorest performer of their career at CMJ and normally when you have a slip on the charts it caries over to the next record ( as we have discussed before) So I just naturally thought they would do worse than they did before and maybe be a top 5 most added band. I really thought it would come down to Sleigh Bells, Dismemberment Plan and Best Coast. But it was not even close. Of Montreal ran away with it.   Sleigh Bells was a surprise as well but talking to a few stations it seemed like the mailing was a bit late.  More importantly we had three records with over 100 adds something we have not seen in quite a long time.

So what happens to these adds after the CMJ break?  Lets take a look at last year at this time to see if that can give us any indication. Last year we also saw three records get 100+ adds with Tame Impala taking #1,  Ty Segall taking #2 and Mountain Goats at #3.

The top five records the week before CMJ were

Grizzly Bear
The XX
Animal Collective
Dum Dum Girls

The Week after the CMJ break ( issue 1270 )

We have a new number one
The XX
Grizzly Bear
Tame Impala
Dum Dum Girls
Flying Lotus

( Ty Segall came in at #7 and Mountain Goats #13)

That is sort of what I expect to happen this time around.  Either Chvrches or Dr. Dog should be able to take the #1 spot on the charts in the next chart while we should see the top 3 adds from this week jump up near the top 10.

Last year at this time we saw a rapid fire switch over at #1 over those last few weeks as well. I expect the same.  

With there only being 8 reporting weeks left I think we will see 4 more #1 records. The 4th being Arcade Fire as it will walk over everything in its path when that comes out. So my goals now are to get #1 before that record comes out.  

If you are going to CMJ lets meet up!  And please come by the Pirate! party on WED at Fontanas.  and if you are not yet lets continue the conversation over on twitter @theanimalarrg

Wednesday, October 02, 2013


Tuesday morning began pretty rough. I looked at the numbers and we were down 20.  I slammed my fist on my desk with every disheartening chart I got in knowing my window was closing on me. I talked to the Boston Pirate office telling them they were fired and were awful at their jobs and we should close down if we can't get Neko Case #1.  

To catch you up, going into this week I knew it would be a battle.  You had the feeling that Ty Segall had run his course and would drop off a bit ( he did going from #1 to #7)  It would come down to 3 records Neko Case ( #2 the last 2 weeks) Arctic Monkeys ( charging up the charts)  and Franz Ferdinand hanging around in the #3 spot.

All three had a legit shot at #1. Franz is the only one of the three with 2 indies on it and that could be enough to take it over the edge. Arctic Monkeys seems to have the most hype of the three and as I mentioned has been charging up the charts. Neko Case has been owning the AAA charts the last 2 weeks and that is usually a sign of larger station dominance.    I checked the charts every hour starting at 8 am on Monday morning.

Here is Monday. PST I stopped checking regularly at 5 but did check one more time before calling it a night.

Neko -----15------16------17-------23--------29------29-----38-----43-----45-----55------72

So not exactly what I was going for when we set off to get #1 with Neko Case. In a perfect world we would be tied or have a lead. Being down so many sucked but the thing with monitoring stations this way is it does not tell you the whole story. For all I know these could be all the very small stations have have very little impact on the actual charts or they could be all the big ones and I could be screwed.

When I woke up on Tuesday I thought I was screwed.

Overnight Arctic had jumped to 105 stations while Neko had only jumped to 87. Ty was starting to show he would not be a factor and Franz, like Franz does, was sticking around with 89 stations.

The next time I checked Neko case was down 124 to 109  but she had passed Franz. It was at this point that I fired everyone.    We had 2 and a half hours until the charts closed. You can't really give up at this point but I really thought we were done for. I started to look at the numbers for something to hold on to and noticed we were ahead on some of the bigger stations and some I had just talked to said we were great on their charts so I thought we could have a chance and for the next few hours I stopped going after new stations and focused on those stations that had already been reporting trying to get a little forward movement.  I was feeling good until I saw KCRW report and thought the dream was over. They had Arctic Monkeys on there but no Neko Case.  I was crushed.  My whole plan of attack the last few hours was to narrow the gap, keep it within 10 and hopefully pull out a miracle with the larger core stations. Seeing KCRW I was certain I had failed.

Just as certain as I was earlier this year when I thought 100% that Vampire Weekend was going to be #1. I had never wanted to be wrong more in my life I tweeted.  Sure there was a chance. We had more CORE stations but it is so hard to know how much you need to make up the difference of volume.

When the charts came out and Neko Case was #1 I really did not know what to think. On one hand I was overjoyed that we got to #1 on the other hand how the hell did that just happen. Do I keep on underestimating the power of core stations? The difference between one level of core and another is something else I don't ever really grasp but I know this time it was enough.

Of course there were other things that happened on the charts this week.  I did not have a horse in the top ADDS race this week but Thought it would come down to Yuck or Moby and in the end Yuck took #1 most added and Moby #2.  I hear next week is shaping up to be a crazy week as well, thats to be expected the week before CMJ everyone wants a big record out.

On the charts aside from the race to #1 we have returned to over 300 stations reporting! Give yourself a round of applause. Pretty great to see. I hope we continue more reporters as the CMJ charts are better with the more people reporting.

Lets look at some of the bigger movers.  MGMT comes in at #8 from #16, The last record went to #2 but they seem to have faded from being the next it CMJ band but should have a nice chance at top 5 still I think.   Chvrches comes in at #9 after being #2 most added last week and jumping up from #78 this is one of the next contenders for #1 for sure.  Last weeks #1 most added Dr. Dog comes in at #13 and these two should battle for #1 in a few weeks I think.  They are currently only 10 stations apart so the gap is pretty small.  I would be surprised if both jumped into the top 5 next week but each should be on the cusp for sure.

The number one debut of the week comes in from Those Darlins at #41 we had 35 debuts this week a pretty high number. Still feel there are a lot of people coming back and would expect that to mean records that were big over the summer to hang out for a bit longer.  Taking a look there are, not counting the current #1, 8 former #1s on the chart. Most seem to be maintaining pretty well with a few even moving back up on the charts.

What are you guys looking forward to seeing at CMJ? What are you listening to lately?  Let me know! If you want to have a discussion about this lets do it on twitter @theanimalarrg


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