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'In Between' & In Top 10, At Last: Scotty McCreery's Latest Hits Country Airplay Top 10 in 56th Week

Scotty McCreery
Jeff Ray

Scotty McCreery

Plus, Travis Denning's 'After a Few' sets a new record.

Scotty McCreery's "In Between" hits the top 10 of Billboard's Country Airplay chart (dated May 9) in its 56th week on the ranking, rising 11-10. In the frame ending May 3, it gained by 13% to 18.4 million audience impressions, according to Nielsen Music/MRC data.

"In Between" marks McCreery's fifth Country Airplay top 10 and directly follows his first two No. 1s: "Five More Minutes" (one week, March 2018) and "This Is It" (two weeks, February 2019).

As "In Between" enters the top 10 in its 56th week on Country Airplay, it completes the second-longest trek to the tier, after Travis Denning's "After a Few" reached the region in its 57th frame on April 18. (The latter climbs 7-6 in its record-breaking 60th week on the latest list, up 18% to 29 million in reach, as it wins Most Increased Audience honors; it passes Jimmie Allen's March 7 No. 1 "Make Me Want To," which logged 59 weeks.)

Three other tracks have taken at least 50 weeks each to hit the Country Airplay top 10, with all having entered the bracket in the last two-and-a-half years: Dylan Scott's "Hooked," which needed 51 frames to do so in August 2018; Easton Corbin's "A Girl Like You" (50, January 2018); and Aaron Watson's "Outta Style" (50, December 2017).

Although Triple Tigers has been promoting "In Between" for over a year, "It isn't really as daunting as it might seem," says the label's senior vp of promotion, Kevin Herring. "Say this track already hit No. 1: then we'd be talking to radio about Scotty's next song. So, you're just continuing the conversation about this one title. I compare it to the tortoise and the hare: slow and steady wins the race. Plus, we now have lots of success stories from radio to keep pushing. It's really kicking in at the perfect time."

KJKE Oklahoma City program director Kevin Christopher was one of the programmers that added "In Between" early; the station has played the song over 1,500 times to-date. "Scotty just staged a Facebook Live event for our station, and it was a major success," he says. "I just got new research on 'In Between'; it's doing great. I must add, however, that it's frustrating to see hit songs take this long to climb the chart."

To that last point, WSM-FM Nashville pd and Cumulus Media vp Charlie Cook says it's case-by-case as to how long it takes songs to develop (with multiple programmers also noting that playing familiar hits with which audiences are comfortable is more key at the moment amid the uncertainty and anxiety of the coronavirus pandemic).

"We are seeing songs zoom to the top of the chart without enough spins to justify a No. 1, or even top five," he muses, citing a reliance on research. "Then, we see songs like Scotty's and Travis' build a really good foundation, get 1,000 spins and become fan favorites over almost a year. Essentially, our philosophy is to follow the listener."

Entercom vp/country programming and WYCD Detroit pd Tim Roberts concurs, saying, "I think some songs just take longer to develop because of lyrics, star level of the artist, consumption levels and other factors. In general, a lot of songs have been like this: slow in developing, slow to become familiar in research. The good news is that usually when songs take a long time to develop, they continue to get airplay as familiar, well-researching hits."

'A FEW' MORE As noted above, Travis Denning's "After a Few" continues climbing the Country Airplay chart. It also enters the top 10 of the airplay-, streaming- and sales-based Hot Country Songs chart, as it rises 11-10. In addition to its airplay, it drew 5.8 million U.S. streams (up 2%) and sold 2,000 downloads (up 21%) in the tracking week.

Denning achieves his first Hot Country Songs top 10. His debut single, "David Ashley Parker From Powder Springs," reached No. 37 in September 2018.

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