HITS Daily Double

By Karen Glauber

Bishop Briggs

It’s the second-to-last Friday of the discombobulated summer of ’18. I’m wearing a J. Crew T-shirt that says “Summer Fridays,” which suggests a certain joie de vivre that I just don’t have. For the sake of irony, if that’s something still worth pursuing, I could wear the shirt on, say, Tuesday, when the success (or lack thereof) of the songs I’m working weighs on me like a ton of bricks. A Tuesday call from a PD with an add on one of my records is the report card by which I judge my worth. This week, following a harrowing week where my blood pressure spiked to 210/105 (Happy summer Friday!), the call from Lisa and Harms with a Flora Cash add, followed by a text from Garett with an AJR add, put a bounce back in my step. My sense of “YOU’VE GOT THIS” lasted for a few minutes, and then it was back to business as usual.

Lately, conversations with programmers have been mostly show-based. If they don’t want your band for their show, you might as well talk about the Manafort indictment. So much for being “in it” for the love of the music. Our bosses don’t think the format matters (except when it does) and can’t understand why stations play two-year-old songs in Power, not to mention nonstop RHCP, Nirvana, Green Day, Imagine Dragons, Weezer, etc. How is this Alternative or Modern? It’s “Classic Alternative,” is what it is, with a 10% smattering of “new” music. I call it wallpaper, but I understand that we’re living in a PPM, M-Score, callout environment, even when the pace of new music reacting in the marketplace has exploded with streaming.

Ted’s kids knew about Billie Eilish’s “You Should See Me in a Crown” (33m Spotify streams) and Rex Orange County’s “Loving Is Easy” (48m Spotify streams) more than 18 months ago, while you’ll spend the next few months overthinking whether or not these artists deserve a shot. The heavy lifting is being done for you by the streaming services—rarely will a label take a song to radio without first establishing a presence on Spotify, Apple, Amazon, etc.

Once the radio campaign commences, having SiriusXM’s Alt Nation on the song is critical, because their audience is active and the station, quite frankly, is one of the few that move the needle sales-wise. Jeff Regan’s support of King Princess (125m Spotify streams) and LSD’s “Genius” (52m Spotify streams) provided the empirical evidence that these songs could/should work on terrestrial radio...

With Troy Hanson at Cumulus, Michael Martin at Entercom and Lisa Worden at iHeart, the blueprint for breaking new artists is infinitely clearer than it’s ever been. Other gatekeepers—like John Allers, Nerf, Lazlo, Mase, Jim Fox, Andy Hawk, Kevin and Miles at KROQ, Michelle at WLUM, Aaron, Mark Hamilton at KNRK and Jeff Morad at WEQX—can tell you if a song is a hit before it even charts. I’ve always said that I trust the metrics of WEQX, KRBZ and WWCD as a true barometer of a song’s potential. Yes, they play more currents than you do, but only one song can be #1 callout in a given week. Riddle me this: Why is Arctic Monkeys’ “Four Out of Five” #1 callout at KNDD and KNRK and Top 10 at 91X, yet you won’t touch it? What do they know that you don’t?...

I’m so excited about the new Jade Bird single “Uh Huh,” out now on Glassnote. I fell head over heels in love with her at SXSW, and this is the song that fulfills the promise of her incredible live show. Another song I adore is “Magic” by Half the Animal, who will be opening for lovelytheband on their fall tour. This one sounds like an unmitigated smash…

Congratulations to Brett Greenberg for his impending Top 10 with The Interrupters single! iHeart’s “On the Verge” support has been an important catalyst for the song’s success…

Last, but certainly not least, congratulations to Ted and my “work son,” David Jacobs, on his promotion to West Coast GM for Mom+Pop Records! We’re kvelling… Song to hear: Bishop Briggs’ “Baby” (swoon!)

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