There's nothing new about "whoa-ay-oh." But a few years ago, Usher's "OMG" and a string of subsequent hits helped make it ubiquitous. Now "the chant" has taken over from internal repetition as the unavoidable thing on the radio -- often something encountered in four out of five consecutive songs, even in Belgium, or Tasmania! We trace the chant's history in "Top 40's Tale Of Whoa-Ay-Oh."
As a teenager, I didn't care about hearing "good radio," just new music--wherever I could most easily find it. Then I began to understand radio programming, and suddenly I was more interested in what was between the records. Recently, however, I've found it nearly impossible to sit through music I don't want to hear, whether it's 30-year-old Classic Rock or 30-week-old CHR hits. Is that because of a PPM-era compression of playlists and format choices? Or is it because there's less between the records?
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.