[Dumping Country Radio Edition] The Ultimate Pulse of Country Music (Sept. 22)

  1. Kane Brown
  2. Luke Combs
  3. Florida Georgia Line
  4. Dan + Shay
  5. Jason Aldean
  6. Chris Stapleton
  7. Brett Young
  8. Thomas Rhett
  9. Bebe Rexha
  10. Carrie Underwood
  11. Luke Bryan
  12. Mitchell Tenpenny
  13. Sam Hunt
  14. Kenny Chesney
  15. Miranda Lambert
  16. Upchurch
  17. Cole Swindell
  18. Lauren Alaina
  19. Jon Pardi
  20. Old Dominion
  21. Jake Owen
  22. Eric Church
  23. Zac Brown Band
  24. Dierks Bentley
  25. Brothers Osborne

So this is what The Ultimate Pulse of Country Music looks like when you take away airplay. I’ve decided I’m removing the airplay component to my chart. Why? Because I’m tired of acting like it matters. Maybe it matters to industry insiders and labels. They want it to matter because it’s easily manipulative. It’s much, much easier to go convince some radio guy to play your artist than convince the average country listener to truly care about your artist. As someone who has reviewed music for years, I know this more than anyone. Convincing people to care and listen to music, especially new music is like trying to pull freaking teeth. It’s extremely difficult and it’s why I spend as little time as possible reviewing music. And when I do review music, I have to really be excited about it to write about it. Welcome to the era of streaming music, where good isn’t good enough in the land of a thousand choices.

I feel like everyone has forgotten what the point of radio is in the first place. Playing songs on the radio when boiled down to what it’s true purpose is: it’s just advertising. A song on the radio is no different from those terrible car ads or a McDonald’s commercial. The sole purpose is to get you to buy into what they’re selling, which in the case of the song is getting you to buy the song/stream it and furthermore buy into the artist/act singing it. That’s it! It’s nothing more than advertising. Yet there’s still these great celebrations over artists topping the airplay charts and reaching the top five/ten/fifteen. I hate using all caps, but let me say this loud and clear: AIRPLAY MEANS NOTHING IF IT DOESN’T CONVERT TO MEANINGFUL SALES AND STREAMING. 

I look at the majority of those receiving airplay not being able to convert it into sales and airplay. This tells me that airplay is not effective for most in 2018. So why continue to acknowledge it? I’m not. I no longer want to be a part of this charade and The Ultimate Pulse of Country Music will no longer acknowledge the flawed and failing country radio.

3 thoughts on “[Dumping Country Radio Edition] The Ultimate Pulse of Country Music (Sept. 22)

  1. Zack September 21, 2018 / 8:07 pm

    My thesis is on dumping country radio, so largely a big part of it all is examining the history of it.

    Country owes its existence to radio. From WSM to the Opry, the two have been intertwined. It’s ironic that it’s the one tradition they hang on to in country music now. During the ’70s appropriately, FM Radio became the alternative to Top 40. Now FM radio as we know it today is Top 40. What’s the alternative now? Streaming. From what I can gather, country radio is fine … for now. However, if the industry insists on continously targeting a younger market, they have to look at streaming for the future. Pretty soon cars won’t have those FM dials for people to tune in to.

    For country, the 1996 Telecommunications Act is the turning point that doesn’t get enough attention. I wrote a piece on it when I discussed the Dixie Chicks:

    https://swampopera.wordpress.com/2018/07/26/why-were-the-dixie-chicks-banned-from-country-radio/

    Basically, everything had to sound the same. No song’s “textures” could be too different from another. That’s what’s we’ve experienced the last 20 years in country. It’s the answer to asking why the “Where Art Thou?” soundtrack couldn’t get airplay or even why Chris freaking Stapleton struggles in that department. It’s time to dump radio …

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh September 21, 2018 / 11:36 pm

      Great stuff Zack! I definitely encourage everyone read the Dixie Chicks piece. I’m actually familiar with the 1996 Telecommunications Act, but never really thought about how much of an impact it could have on the content on country radio. But it makes total sense. It can also explain why the subject matter in songs have become less rural in some listeners eyes. At the end of the day it’s about appealing to large, broad audiences. Variety would be the anti-thesis to this. Thank you for sharing this!

      Liked by 1 person

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