I consistently listen to most of the singles going for airplay at radio to keep up with what music and artists are out there in the trenches. Each time I do I shake my head in disbelief. There are typically a number of releases that are simply not good quality songs (my opinion of course). It makes me wonder who is making the decision to release this stuff and saying “That’s a hit!” Or is it more of a strategy to simply bring awareness to radio for a particular artist and their music? In either case it doesn’t make a difference if the music doesn’t cut it.
On the other hand, being excellent doesn’t necessarily guarantee anything at radio. I hear those singles as well – incredible songs and vocals that deserve to be heard by a larger audience. Some will be embraced by radio and others will fall through the cracks for a variety of reasons that seem to make no sense. It happens to both major and indie label artists, but more often to the latter. They find a tougher time getting traction beyond CMT Pure, GAC, or secondary radio, but it can be accomplished if the song is undeniable.
That’s why, if you’re an artist, it’s so important to connect directly to an energetic fan base and engaging them through social media, a focused marketing plan, by establishing a tour presence and showing everyone how exceptional you are at what you do. If radio comes to the party, great, go with it! If they ultimately do not then you can be in an advantageous position to carry on and have a career without them. There are other ways to move forward. It’s not easy and takes a lot of hard work, but the bottom line is you still must have outstanding, compelling music to deliver.
Excellent music usually finds it’s way to the audience one way or another, but may not always make it on mainstream radio or top the charts. But it always wins.