When I was a kid, my grandfather, who had a blues/jazz bar in Toronto, passed to me a photocopied sheet with the title Reasons Why Radio Won’t Play Your Song. It was probably one of the first pieces of viral I’ve ever seen – no author, no date, no source, nothing except for a funny list of about 20 reasons.
I never forgot about that list throughout my years of working in the music industry. With an exciting extroverted passion for music, Music Directors of radio stations are, no doubt, the gatekeepers to get your song heard on the radio. I’ve spent many a meetings talking to the fine men and women about their roles, and why they love songs, and why they don’t. There’s still only one reason why they would – because it’s great. But that would make for a very short post. I found an extended list at Music Biz Academy that extended the same list to about 60. And that got me thinking – in 2014, how much different would the list look like? What would be added? So, with the help of anonymous MDs, PDs and radio pluggers across North America (you know who you are) and that list to start it off all those years ago, here are now many more reasons why radio won’t play your song.
1. Not for us or our sound
2. No room
3. No label support
4. I want to give record the best shot, so we will have to wait till when we have more room
5. There are no local sales
6. There is national action
8. I’m watching and waiting
9. It’s the wrong image
10. It’s not modal
11. I need another copy
12. Poor reaction from test marketing it
13. The jocks don’t like it
14. No phone reaction
15. We played the import
16. We’re going to wait and see what the competition does
17. Will wait for the single
18. The record’s not in any kind of stores around here
19. Need approval from head office
20. I like it but the P.D. doesn’t
21. It was vetoed in the music meeting
22. Too hard
23. Too soft
24. It’s wimpy
25. Not as good as their last release
26. It needs to be re-listened to
27. It sounds too EDM-ish
28. It sounds too pop
29. We didn’t get the co-promotion
30. Trade #’s don’t merit airplay
31. Sounds like everything else
32. It’s not a good record
33. I don’t like it
34. The MP3 file wouldn’t play
35. The music file crashed my computer
36. We only play stuff that “rocks“
37. Saving room for when new releases get scheduled
38. Going into the library
39. We already have a female-fronted band on the playlist
40. We want to hear a hook
41. No tip sheet advertising
42. Nothing about it hits me
43. Don’t like the mix
44. Not enough guitar
45. Too many strings
48. Don’t like the band’s name
49. This song is not consistent with their last release
50. Our listeners won’t be able to relate
51. Too rhythm oriented
52. Send all our jocks copies
53. Can’t play too many singles
54. That music only works in the big markets
55. We’ll wait till more stations play it
56. Not our kind of music
57. Too alternative
58. Not alternative enough
59. Where’s the beat…the BEAT!
60. I’ve misplaced it, but its here somewhere, call me back
61. Our competition got on it first, we have to be different
62. I don’t like the cover
63. We didn’t get a co-presents on their last show
64. Too many vulgar words
65. We’re going for a younger demo
66. We’re going for an older demo
67. We don’t have an MD right now
68. We’re not the right station for this
69. The chorus comes in late
70. The intro is too quiet
71. We have too many song by the featured artist in rotation
72. There’s no release date
73. We missed the release date
74. No radio edit
75. I don’t like the radio edit
76. No campus radio promotion
77. Let’s talk when the tour starts
78. The .wav file was block because of the size
79. The YouSendIt file was blocked by my spam filters
80. There’s no story happening
81. They’re overexposed
82. I’m still waiting on feedback
83. Too much CanCon right now
84. Too much International right now
85. It sounds like something my mom would hate
86. We never received your submission
87. I don’t agree with the political view
88. We’ll play the song next week (they didn’t)
89. I’m watching the charts, it’s not very impressive
90. I’m waiting the charts, it’s pretty impressive
91. Their set at CMJ/SXSW/NXNE/CMW was way too long
92. It’s too country (from a country station)
93. It sounds like karaoke
94. We’re playing too many covers now
95. We love the song and band but have no room
96. The intro is too long
97. The chorus is too long
98. You know what? The whole song is too long (with Stairway To Heaven playing in background)
99. I’ll listen, but no promises
100. We should be playing this song but haven’t played the artist for years
101. I know this doesn’t help but your band has no relevance
102. I can’t take this band seriously until they sell 100,000
103. What are you going to do for ME?
104. Let’s face it, would you be working this song if you weren’t being paid?
105. We can’t play this. He’s/She’s way off-key in the chorus
106. Too much rap in the middle
107. The stations on BDS aren’t on it
108. There’s only one original member left
109. Didn’t the lead singer die?…oh…I thought they broke up
110. They’re only big in the east
111. They’re only big in the west
112. They’re only big in the north
113. I don’t care if they’re big down south
114. You sent us the wrong promo cds
115. We only play established acts
116. Why should I play a band that sounds LIKE Led Zeppelin when I can PLAY Led Zeppelin
117. Their website hasn’t been update in a year
118. It sounds like their last song
119. It sounds so different from their last song
120. We get no calls
121. Ever since they cut their hair….
122. I’m having trouble with DMDS
123. I can’t find my PD. Can you help me find my PD?
124. We’re a talk radio station
125. Sounds too ‘Active Rock’ for us
126. Sounds too Hot AC for us
127. Sounds too ‘Modern Rock’ for us (this, and the above 2 were all the same song!)
128. They don’t sound as good as they do live
129. They suck live
130. It sounds like something my mom would hate
131. Their video on YouTube doesn’t have enough views
132. Nobody’s listening to them on Spotify
133. Not enough Twitter followers
134. Not enough fans on Facebook
135. Didn’t they break up last week?
With thanks to all the MDs and PDs and labels who sent in their amazing stories. We couldn’t work in this business without each other. If you know the original source of the list, or have a great ‘reason’ yourself, please let me know!
On Twitter, Pixar storyboard artist Emma Coats shared some of the wonderful wisdom she’s received working for the animation studio over the years. Of course, never fail to make them cry several times during the movie is omitted.
#1: You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.
#2: You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be v. different.
#3: Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.
#4: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.
#5: Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
#6: What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?
#7: Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.
#8: Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.
#9: When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.
#10: Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.
#11: Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.
#12: Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.
#13: Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.
#14: Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.
#15: If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.
#16: What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.
#17: No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on – it’ll come back around to be useful later.
#18: You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.
#19: Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.
#20: Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How d’you rearrange them into what you DO like?
#21: You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ‘cool’. What would make YOU act that way?
#22: What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.
Launching the Dirt Campaign on Tuesday, Florida Georgia Line are looking to raise $100,000 for Habitat for Humanity, and in the meantime, generating a lot of press about their cause. How can you not love a song with lyrics like “Her blue-eyed summer time smile looks so good that it hurts/(Makes you wanna build a) 10 percent down/White picket fence house on this dirt.” Nice one, guys.
1 Dirt Florida Georgia Line
2 Stay With Me Sam Smith
3 Fancy (feat. Charli XCX) Iggy Azalea
4 Am I Wrong Nico & Vinz
5 Maps Maroon 5
6 Problem (feat. Iggy Azalea) Ariana Grande
7 Come With Me Now KONGOS
8 Chandelier Sia
9 Love Runs Out OneRepublic
10 Latch (feat. Sam Smith) Disclosure
Singer/songwriter Sia is aiming for her first No. 1 on next week’s Billboard 200 chart with her new album “1000 Forms of Fear.” Industry forecasters say the set, which was released on July 8, may sell around 50,000 copies by the end of the tracking week on July 13. Shania Twain makes a rare appearance on the chart, thanks to a record-breaking attendance performance during the Calgary Stampede.
1 1000 Forms of Fear Sia
2 x Ed Sheeran
3 In the Lonely Hour Sam Smith
4 Ultraviolence Lana Del Rey
5 Stolen Dance – EP Milky Chance
6 Ghost Stories Coldplay
7 Shania Twain: Greatest Hits Shania Twain
8 Native OneRepublic
9 Crash My Party Luke Bryan
10 Don’t Kill the Magic MAGIC!
Eric Hopkins, a percussionist with the Utah Symphony, recently wrote a post on the symphony’s website to explain why playing something that seems as simple as ringing a dinner bell could be so difficult. I mean, it’s no cowbell. I kid, of course, and like any instrument – when you play it, you have to make the music better, or else you’ll make it worse. You can listen to Eric’s interview with NPR here.
He writes: “Wow, you’ve got the best job in the world! I mean, how hard it can be to play the triangle?” Oh no you didn’t.
I would try to convince you that the triangle is an extremely challenging and complex percussion instrument, the intricacies of which can only be mastered after years of diligent practice. But I’m not. Because that is not exactly the truth.
The truth is that anyone can play the triangle. It is one of the most basic musical instruments. I mean, its name is the shape. You hit a triangle-shaped piece of metal with another piece of metal, and “Ding!” No worries about hitting a wrong note or playing out of tune. You don’t even have to bother with note length; just hit it and you’re done.
But that’s not exactly true either.
The truth is that the triangle is part of a collection of percussion instruments, that together, warrant a profession in which one strives to master the art of performance. Through manipulation of timbre (sound color) and articulation (length), one can start to convey the common musical elements of phrasing, clarity, texture, balance, and finesse, to name a few. This holds true from snare drum and xylophone to tambourine and triangle.
So what makes tasteful triangle playing, if there is such a thing?
Imagine yourself as the professional triangle player you’ve dreamt of being. To get you started, I’ll lend you my triangle collection. This gives you six triangles to choose from, clips to suspend them from, five pairs of graduated steel beaters, and three pairs of graduated brass beaters.
Now we’ll put you in the orchestra. Since I play with the Utah Symphony, and I happen to be playing triangle on Mahler’s Fifth Symphony this week, that’s what you get to play.
Your To-Do list…
- Youtube, Spotify, or tape-deck some recordings of the music and start to get an idea of the tempos, rhythmic challenges, style, and volume of the piece.
- Translate the German musical indications that you do not understand.
- Listen again, specifically for when to let the triangle ring and when to muffle. Quick muffle, taper muffle, or let vibrate? Make up a short-hand notation for this and mark it in your part.
- Decide what triangle(s) to use. Do you want a clear-toned, pristine sounding triangle, or a more shimmery triangle with a bigger overtone spectrum? Or somewhere in between? Articulation or smoothness?
- Decide what beaters to use. Stainless steel or the more malleable brass? Heavy or light, and to what degree?
- Decide where on the triangle you want to hit, depending on the desired timbre. Dark sound or light sound?
- Decide if you want to play that tricky passage in the fifth movement with one hand as normal, or to mount the triangle on a special stand, freeing both hands.
- Vibrato or no vibrato?
- Now practice along with your favorite recording, then with five others. Do your sounds blend with the orchestra in context, or do you need to make adjustments?
- Get to know the part well enough so that nothing can throw you off (nerves, curve balls from the conductor, etc.).
- Practice counting the rests. You don’t play all the time, but you need to know when to play if the music says “Tacet until you play,” which it does in this piece.
- Practice your triangle roll. It’s unlike any other percussion instrument technique, and it will be really obvious to the audience if there are hiccups and gaps in that clangy metal noise.
- Practice your soft playing. Thierry Fischer, our music director, really likes to exploit soft playing, so make sure you can make that metal-on-metal steel alloy triangle sound really soft and delicate, even under pressure.
- Remember, don’t whiff it, or the conductor may stop the orchestra and make you feel really dumb for messing up something as easy as the triangle.
- Practice hitting the triangle three times in a row and getting the same sound. Good luck!
- Don’t forget to start practicing for next week’s triangle repertoire.
- Don’t mess up!
From Prescription PR:
Yes, there are some die-hard fans who will go to those 1970s-style lengths to discover, buy and enjoy new music but sadly these days they are in the minority. Those dastardly short attention spans make it very unlikely that a potential fan will complete any of the above steps to listening bliss (they might get as far as WH Smiths, but odds are they’ll buy a saucy magazine instead – and one in which there is, surprisingly, no room for album reviews). But don’t despair: there are still ways to get people to listen to your music, but you have to bear the fact that we are living in an era of information overload in mind when you go about promoting it. Here are some tips for dealing with music fans who don’t have time for anything…
- Don’t assume that everybody wants to listen to an album’s worth of material. Allow – and encourage – people to stream or download individual tracks. That might be all they have time for.
- Offer your music in a variety of formats: streams, downloads, videos, acoustic versions, CD, vinyl…this ensures that you are catering for everybody (and every device).
- Don’t just rely on promoting your music in print publications. Although some magazines and newspapers publish their features and reviews online, not all do. Increasingly, people are consuming content they used to enjoy in print publications via a Facebook feed (which Mark Zuckerburg is now using to manipulate your emotions, it would seem). So remember that online music promo is now as important – if not more so – than traditional press.
Continue reading the rest of the story here.
From Christian Science Monitor:
Before his suicide in 2008, David Foster Wallace authored three novels, including ‘Infinite Jest’ which Time magazine named among the All-Time 100 Greatest Novels (1923-2006). Wallace is praised for his short story collections and philosophical essays, such as ‘This is Water,’ given as a memorable commencement address at the Kenyon College graduation in 2005. What did Wallace himself like to read? Prior to his death, he contributed a list of his 10 favorite books to J. Peder Zane’s compilation “The Top Ten: Writer’s Pick Their Favorite Books.” His choices – ranging from spiritual to spine-tingling – might surprise you.
1. The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis
2. The Stand, by Stephen King
3. Red Dragon, by Thomas Harris
4. The Thin Red Line, by James Jones
5. Fear of Flying, by Erica Jong
6. The Silence of the Lambs, by Thomas Harris
7. Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert A. Heinlein
8. Fuzz, by Ed McBain
9. Alligator, by Shelley Katz
10. The Sum of All Fears, by Tom Clancy
You want to talk about an ubusual hobby? How about recreating album covers in pastry. The Twitter account Album Pies posts home-baked pies with record album cover designs in the top crust. If music be the food of love, indeed.
With the year half over, the soundtrack to Disney’s “Frozen” and Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” lead as the year’s biggest-selling album and digital song in the U.S., respectively, selling 2.7 million and 5.6 million according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Through the sales week that ended on June 29, the mid-way point of SoundScan’s tracking year, “Frozen” is the only album to have sold more than a million copies. The next biggest seller is Beyonce’s self-titled set, with 702,000.
A year ago at this point, the top-selling album was Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience,” with 2.04 million. 2014 is only the third year — and third in a row — in SoundScan’s history (dating back to 1991), where only one album has sold more than a million at the year’s mid-way point.
The last time a soundtrack led the mid-year album sales chart was in 2006, when another Disney album, “High School Musical,” had sold 2.6 million. It ended up as that year’s top-selling album, with 3.7 million.
It used to be you had to wait until November or so to start seeing the best of music lists for the year. No more! We’re kind at the halfway-ish, sorta point of the year, so let’s go deep into the web and find the best songs and albums of the year, so far, as chosen by some of your fave outlets. I’ll be updating this daily.
The 405′s Best Albums Of The Year So Far
411mania’s Top 8 Albums of 2014 (So Far)
Alphabet Pony’s Best 15 Music Videos Of 2014 So Far
Amoeba Music’s Best Albums of 2014…So Far
Beats Music’s 18 Best Songs of 2014 So Far
Clash Magazine’s 7 Of The Best: Albums Of 2014 So Far
CMJ’s Best Albums Of 2014 So Far
CMJ’s 30 Best Songs Of 2014 So Far
Complex Magazine’s Best Albums of 2014
Dallas Observer’s Best North Texas Albums of 2014 So Far
Dazed Magazine’s best tracks of 2014 so far
Drowned In Sound team revealed their personal favourite albums of the year so far
Filtered Lens’ Best Music of 2014 (So Far!)
Flavorwire’s 25 Best Songs Of 2014 So Far
Fringe Music Fix’s Best Music Videos Of 2014 So Far
Gigwise’s Best Of 2014 So Far
Idolator’s 20 Best Albums, EPs & Singles Of 2014
Indie Vision Music’s Best Releases From The First Half Of 2014
Nialler9′s best albums of 2014 so far
KCUR’s Best Music of 2014
Mic’s The 26 Best Songs of 2014 (So Far)
MOJO Magazine’s 20 Best Albums of 2014 so far
NPR’s 50 Favorite Songs Of 2014 So Far
Noise Trade’s Best Albums Of 2014 So Far
Paste Magazine’s 27 Best Songs Of 2014
Paste Magazine’s 25 Best Albums Of 2014 So Far
Pretty Much Amazing’s 50 Best Albums of 2014 So Far
Reader’s Digest Best Of 2014 so far
Red Eye Chicago’s 2014′s best music so far
Rob Sheffield’s Top 25 Songs of 2014 So Far
Rolling Stone Magazine’s 45 Best Albums Of 2014 So Far
Rolling Stone’s Best Reissues of 2014 So Far
Spin’s 57 Best Songs of 2014 (So Far)
SPIN’s Best Music of 2014 So Far
StarPulse’s 25 Best Albums Of 2014 So Far
Stuff’s Best Albums On Spotify In 2014 So Far
Taste Of Country’s The Best of Country Music 2014 (So Far)
The Guardian’s readers pick 10 best albums of 2014 (so far)
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart Best Albums of 2014 so far
Time Magazine’s Here Are the 25 Best Songs of 2014 (So Far)
This morning was one of those bucket list Take 5s for Australia’s Tripe J radio station. Mike D, one third of Beastie Boys and born and bred New Yorker, came in to Take 5 with the soundtrack to his city.
Five songs for five boroughs was the theme we gave him, and he knocked it outta the park.
LISTEN: + WINDOWS + FLASH
From Biggie’s Brooklyn tales to the rock ‘n’ roll lights of Manhattan, we heard Queens represented by one of the greatest debut albums of all time and got our funk on in the Bronx with ESG. I’d wondered what the sleepiest borough would bring, forgetting that one of the greatest hip-hop crews of all time came from there. Enter the Wu-Tang.
Along the way we crossed time and geography, and found out what Mike D’s musical plans were for the future. This morning’s Take 5 was all time. Did you miss it? No probs, it’s streaming in full, right above this. And if you wanna get inside the mind of Mike D even more, check out #43 of Monster Children which he’s guest edited. It’ll make you wanna be Mike D.
Here’s what he played:
1. Notorious B.I.G. – ‘Juicy’ (Brooklyn)
2. The Strokes – ’12:51′ (Manhattan)
3. Nas – ‘N.Y. State of Mind’ (Queens)
4. ESG – ‘Moody’ (Bronx)
5. Wu Tang Clan – ‘C.R.E.A.M.’ (Staten Island)
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