To play or not to play: Why so many here hate the charts.
I talk about this every day. I deal with this every day. Trying to understand where to go with your single and what chart can be not only confusing, but emotional, taking a toll on both your wallet and on the concept of your music.
The game of the big charts (Mediabase, Billboard) in country music is not for the meek. It’s not for the small. It’s not for the frugal and it’s not for the casual player. In fact, unless your name is – let me try to get them all – Mike, Scott, Gary, John, Mike, Michael, Benny, David, Mark, possibly Terry and Jim, the radio game is not for you. It’s not for you. LISTEN TO ME, gang. IT’S NOT FOR YOU.
Last week I was on the phone with a hopeful player with the hopeful artist. Someone I like, enjoy, and want to help – someone I root for. His artist has released two full singles and he has spent close to (but not all the way to) the amount the big boys would have spent – which is like 10 times more than my friend should have spent. Yet he’s chasing, chasing something very simple and emotional for him: Mediabase adds.
“Not logical,” I say. “I can help you pick about 50 milestones to hit before you waste one dime on a Mediabase add.”
“Sounds great,” he says, then proceeds to talk and ignore and talk and convince himself all over again that he can only get moving with expensive playlist addition by playlist addition.
And he deflected all logic I could offer. Point by point he just could not find his way back from the woods. He could not come back to me from the Mediabase jungle, where so many have gone to light a meaningless fire with piles of investment dollars.
I said, “have you thought about where we (TTA team) went with Blackjack Billy? Are you looking at the early maneuvers on Cole Swindell or Kristian Bush?”
Crickets. He just wasn’t able to get on my page.
There are plenty of moves to make way before, closely before, during, after, and way after engaging in the expensive art of terrestrial radio. Reaching fans has never been easier or cleaner to the reality of your music. You can hit milestones, sell downloads, and gauge reactions. From SiriusXM to the great massage of YouTube to direct engagement with everything at country radio BUT the playlist, there are just so many options. It takes diligence and intelligence, but it doesn’t take a bunch of money.
At TTA we conquer this almost every day, and we like to think we do it with diligence and intelligence, making large and small decisions to push music forward without burning artists to bits in the thick atmosphere of monitored or indicator or secondary charts.
If you don’t have the big checkbook, don’t waste. If you DO have a big checkbook, there are myriad ways to make it last and last and come to bear toward true airplay and explosive fan collection.
So better to define and play your own game. Recognize the rungs on your own ladder and start climbing. Eventually, if you have the music, you’ll climb high enough that one of them – one of the Mike or Scott or John – will call YOU and they’ll come calling with the hundreds of thousands of dollars they know exactly how to spend.