Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Last week I had a good conversation with another promoter about the charts.  

We were talking about who would go #1 this week.  I still thought there was no way Modest Mouse would miss out. They thought that the window for Modest Mouse was already closing and that Courtney Barnet was on such a tear that it was inevitable.  I argued, yes but Modest Mouse.  And yet this week, CourtneyBarnet made that jump to #1.  Congrats to the Planetary team on that one, their first #1 in 2 years ( Portugal. The man) 

I have said it countless times but getting a #1 record is HARD. You look at the charts sometimes and think oh week 2 we are #5 no way we don't get there. Then all of a sudden  you realize you are not Arcade Fire and there is an Arcade Fire record.  When the expectations are #1 getting top 5 can feel like such a disappointment but later you can look back and feel good about it, until someone else works the next record because you failed.  

But what defines the expectations on a record? Lots of things. Past performance I would say is a major component.  Bands like Modest Mouse, Dan Deacon, Sufjan Stevens have all had #1 records before so the expectation is that you should be able to get there again.  Those expectations can change though as reviews come out and people start forming opinions on the record before they even hear it. It is also the promoters job to communicate the expectations to the label.  The reason I wanted to talk about expectations is because they can change throughout a campaign and us looking in from the outside we might really know how a record is doing in regards to their inside plan. 

I wanted to talk more about this Courtney Barnett #1 record because I never saw it coming.  Even when it made that HUGE jump last week I thought, well thats the peak.  

1137MODEST MOUSEStrangers To OurselvesEpic
297COURTNEY BARNETTSometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just SitMom And Pop
There is a pretty sizable gap there in adds, nothing that makes you think Courtney is going to be the stronger of the 2 records. Thats 40 adds. Thats huge.  I remember when this record was announced I saw a non of chatter from the Planetary people and really thought nothing of it. Part of getting a record to #1 is believing in that record. Our job is convince people to listen to it, and if you love a record it really can come through when you are talking to people, it is almost contagious the love for a record. 

That was the add week above.  As for charting Modest Mouse had the head start with the single 

358459357MODEST MOUSEStrangers To OurselvesEpic
and was in prime position to move up quickly. 

94--941COURTNEY BARNETTSometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just SitMom And Pop
a 94 debut in the ADD week is no slouch though. 

For example this weeks #1 add Mountain Goats comes in at #143 and you remember last week we had 3 of the top added records all debut in the 100's so maybe that high of a debut tells us something? 
Might be worth looking into down the road. 

The next week: 

5358458MODEST MOUSEStrangers To OurselvesEpic
How can you not think thats going number one the very next week?
If I were working it that would be my thought. 

994-92COURTNEY BARNETTSometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just SitMom And Pop
But that move for Courtney might be more impressive.  But the next week is when it got really amazing. 

299423COURTNEY BARNETTSometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just SitMom And Pop
353539MODEST MOUSEStrangers To OurselvesEpic
If you are a sports fan like I am you always hear when a team is losing that the other team wanted it more. I think that is a load of crap, these are all professionals and everyone wants to win. When It comes to the world of college radio though maybe there is something to it. Maybe the Courtney Barnett team wanted it more. You put all your energy and resources into a record you believe in and you can do amazing things with it. I don't think you can do this with every record. Like if I decided to put out a record tomorrow I could only do so much with it. You need press and buzz and history to really do anything at college radio. 

Speaking of history, if you are curious the last Courtney Barnett record peaked at #40 on the top 200 at the same time Arcade Fire was making their epic Reflektor run. The more I look at what Courtney Barnett just did the more impressed I become. 

So the question then turns to what does this mean. Is Courtney a one and done? 
It is still so new that I could see it sticking around. The problem is the number of records that could push her out. A lot of time you will have a battle between 2 records. Sometimes 3. Right now that battlefield extends pretty deep.   Let's include Courtney as trying to hold onto that spot. Then you have Modest Mouse in what could be the last chance for them, then Sufjan Stevens all three are legit contenders. Do we include Mountain Goats?  What about Death cab for Cutie, they are up to #5. If you were to ask me a few weeks ago I would say no way. Has anything changed?  Toro Y Moi have a shot?  Waxahatchee? 

What are your thoughts? 

Share them below or on twitter. Thank you for reading! 

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