HITS Daily Double

By Karen Glauber

On Nov. 10, 1975, Patti Smith released her debut album Horses, which is still, 45 years later, one of the five albums that “define” me. Should there be any question of her ongoing relevance, one of the most-shared social-media posts from Election Day was a video of Patti and her longtime guitarist Lenny Kaye performing “People Have the Power” on a street corner in NYC. My son overheard the song as I was watching the video, loved it and added it to his Spotify playlist. Thus, the legacy of one of the most important artists of my lifetime continues.

Will your audience be as passionate about Machine Gun Kelly as they are now in 20 years? How about in a year from now? Maybe not, but who cares? I hope that every artist I work with has a sustainable, influential career—whether it’s The Lumineers, AJR or beabadoobee, to name a few, I am confident that their art is impactful on the Alternative audience. Apple Music just made beabadoobee its “Up Next” artist, which will involve a late-night TV look next week.

Still, the balance of art and commerce is spectacularly off-kilter in the midst of the pandemic. Without commerce, there is no opportunity to expose art to the masses. The #1 goal of the Alternative format should be to stay on the air. The #1 goal of my radio and label friends (and myself) is to keep our jobs. We lost WFUZ in Wilkes-Barre this week, although we gained a new station, WNWV, located in my old stomping grounds of Elyria, Ohio. Alternative radio ratings are all over the place, and my ongoing belief that we should be developing artists for the “future” is a luxury at this stage of the game. You’ve heard me quote Lenny’s adage “There are still 10 records in the Top 10” a million times.

Alternative radio has become a reflection of culture, rather than the influencer of culture, and that’s how it needs to be right now. Still, for every streaming or TikTok record that bounds up the chart, there are hits emerging from the passion of programmers—Cannons’ “Fire for You” was signed by Columbia because Andy Hawk added it after hearing it used on the Netflix show Never Have I Ever and it showed up in Shazam after the first spin. Now, the song is nearing Top 5, and the metrics continue to demonstrate that it’s a smash.

Besides Cannons, the Top 10 has first-time Alt hits from Wallows, Peach Tree Rascals, Day Glow, Royal & the Serpent and Juice WRLD. This week, Lisa Worden added Island artist Remi Wolf’s “Hello Hello Hello” (Polo & Pan Remix), which is featured in Apple’s massive iPhone12 campaign and is already #2 on Shazam’s Discovery chart. How exciting! Also noteworthy is the new Bakar single, “1st Time,” pulling in 15 adds before impact week. Christine Chiappetta and Epic’s Rick Sackheim are leading the charge.

My son and I watched Foo Fighters on SNL this past weekend, and we loved it. Admittedly, I lost his attention while I was explaining how the new single “Shame Shame” was influenced by David Bowie’s “Fame,” since he is teetering on thinking that everything I have to offer is boring. And he’s the only other human I see these days—what fun! Anyway, a new Foo Fighters single deserves a shot at Alternative radio, and I expect “Shame Shame,” like every other Foo Fighters single, will go to #1, especially since the most-played artists at the format in 2020 include Green Day, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Weezer, blink-182, Linkin Park, and yes, Foo Fighters and Nirvana.

Nerf at KTCL added Saint Nomad’s “Nothing to Lose” on Curb this week. I have a strong sense that this song could be a hit.

My favorite new song of the week is “Change” by Pale Waves, whose sophomore record on Dirty Hit will be out in February.

While we ride the wave of insanity until our newly elected President is acknowledged as such, let’s support each other, keep ourselves healthy and hope that a night of interrupted sleep is in our near future.

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