Earlier this year, the "Ross On Radio" column noted that retro-flavored songs were helping end a dry spell for R&B crossovers at top 40. Six weeks later, Pharrell Williams' "Happy" and John Legend's "All Of Me" are phenomenal hits, while Kid Ink's more contemporary "Show Me" got only as far as the top 25 at Mainstream Top 40. It's part of a larger trend toward the retro-flavored throughout pop music. And now Sean Ross wonders, why has every day become Throwback Thursday?
For the last six years, the Song of Summer has been pure pop ("Call Me Maybe"), rhythmic pop ("Party Rock Anthem," "Blurred Lines") or somewhere in between ("California Gurls"). This summer, there's a decent chance that at least one or two of the contenders will be a rock song, based on the product climbing the alternative and triple-A charts. This week's Ross On Radio looks at some of the possible candidates, and why the conditions are right.
Broadcasters are increasingly creating more products that go beyond their AM/FM signals, but they have often left the job of creating more radio to Sirius XM. They also haven't addressed in a significant way the big difference in spotload between their broadcast properties and their pureplay rivals.
For three days, the Bay Area's #Nelly105.7 captivated social media and the usually jaded consumer press with the type of format stunt that hardly gets noticed anymore, even in radio circles. The new "Hot 105.7" that emerged is a fairly straightforward rhythmic top 40, using a once-successful template that hasn't been quite as common recently. The Ross On Radio column takes a First Listen.
A month ago, a Ross On Radio reader wrote to suggest that the worst period for R&B crossovers since the disco backlash finally seemed to be coming to an end, thanks to a handful of phenomenal singles, including Pharrell Williams' "Happy." But even with a handful of phenomenal records, we may have actually only attained parody with that not-so-great period for music. How we've gotten this far has a lot to do with foreign territories, Beyonce's December surprise, and a label willingness to pursue crossovers again.
Two years ago, Edison Research's Infinite Dial study found that 44% of listeners would be very disappointed to lose their favorite broadcast station. Earlier this month, another researcher reported a similar finding, something the trade press seized on as an indicator of radio's strength.
For four decades, one of the hardest transitions has been from teen pop act to viable adult artist. Only a few, like Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Rick Springfield, and now Miley Cyrus have pulled it off. With "Story Of My Life" at No. 6 this week and still gaining, One Direction seems to have pulled off their "song for people who don't like One Direction." And here are some thoughts on how.