Vancouver has two CHRs and a very hot AC. All three play a lot of EDM, even by the standards of Mainstream Top 40 in the U.S., particularly because Canadian artists and DJs have been producing a steady stream of it. Sean Ross has just returned from a place where "Hello" by Martin Solveig & Dragonette never left the radio after its chart run and takes a "Fresh Listen."
Recently, we observed that listeners were less hung up on genre and format than ever. They still had groupings of music, but they didn't necessarily coincide with radio's formats. That led a reader to ask if chart formats were really just a matter of record label convenience. Well, not quite.
If PPM hates ballads, why do they compensate four out of the top five these days? Why has Radiohead now been name-checked in two hits, when the band has only had one of its own? And now that Icona Pop is a proven CHR hit, nearly a year after coming to the U.S., can we pick up the pace on Labrinth? Can Justin Bieber hurry up and help Serena Ryder? A few thoughts on the current state of top 40 product.
In explaining the decision to add Nelly to the recent Florida Georgia Line country hit "Cruise," Republic Nashville's Jimmy Harnen cited a "format-less" world. And we do have more proof that listeners are sincere about truly liking "a little bit of everything." So why does top 40, the format built on a little bit of everything, not play Florida Georgia Line until there's a Nelly remix? And "mood service," the initial impetus behind format fragmentation, has hardly gone away.
Every year, Ross On Radio takes a look at station show lineups to see which artists are making themselves the most available to radio. In spring 2013, it's definitely Carly Rae Jepsen, but she's followed closely by Cher Lloyd, Olly Murs, and other U.K. acts looking to prove their seriousness about breaking America.
"Open House Party" host/creator John Garabedian has always had an opinion about how to do top 40, as evidenced in his weekly newsletters on the format. Now he has a day-to-day outlet for the format, returning top 40 to Cape Cod on the new Y101. We take a First Listen.
For years, "adults know what they like and like what they know" has been an aphorism of adult formats. But the success of top 40 and its mother/daughter coalition is changing how and when adults know songs. It also means that adults might be as fickle as teens in certain ways.