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Chart Beat Podcast: How Capitol Continues to Rule Radio With Katy Perry, Niall Horan & Jon Bellion

Niall Horan, Katy Perry & Jon Bellion
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Niall Horan, Katy Perry & Jon Bellion

Capitol Records vp pop promotion Joe Rainey shares insights on the label's latest successes.

"This country is divided. One of out of two people you could potentially offend," says Joe Rainey, Capitol Records vp pop promotion, discussing Katy Perry's new single, the politically-tinged "Chained to the Rhythm," featuring Skip Marley. But, notes Rainey, an 18-year vet at the label, "I've known [Perry] a long time. She's not someone to keep her thoughts to herself, and I admire that."

Overall, Rainey says, "Rhythm" is, "oddly enough, a very inclusive song. If you can combine something real to say with a beat and a hook and fun, man, all the more power to you."

On the latest Billboard Chart Beat Podcast, Rainey chats with host and Billboard co-director of charts Gary Trust about Perry's latest hit, which debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 dated March 4, marking her 14th top 10 on the chart (all of which Rainey has promoted, dating to "I Kissed a Girl," her first of nine Hot 100 No. 1s, in 2008).

As for what else Perry is like? "She's one of the most remarkable people I've ever met," Rainey says. "She can play different roles, and it's still her. There are different lanes to her persona. She's very smart, she's got a work ethic like no one else, and she's also very sweet. But she's got an opinion. She's a strong woman."

Rainey also discusses two other current pop hits for Capitol: Niall Horan's "This Town" and Jon Bellion's "All Time Low," the latter of which reached the top 10 at last in its 25th week on the Pop Songs chart (dated March 11). As for the former, how did an acoustic ballad (granted, from a member of pop powerhouse One Direction) cut through at top 40 radio, which continues to be driven by tempo? In part, Rainey theorizes, alluding to such 1D songs as "Story of My Life" and "Night Changes," "The biggest hits from One Direction had this kind of a lean: just guitar and vocals."

Meanwhile, Bellion has broken through with his first big hit as an artist. "It was a matter of educating people," Rainey says. "Who is Jon Bellion? He wrote 'The Monster' by Rihanna and Eminem, and he wrote and produced 'Trumpets' by Jason Derulo. But there's so much more to him. 'All Time Low' isn't your most traditional male pop song, but that's what's unique, and special, about it."

Enjoy the entire latest Chart Beat Podcast and check back for more upcoming episodes with artists, label executives, radio programmers and personalities, songwriters, producers and more. And, to receive every episode automatically in your inbox, subscribe to (and rate) the Billboard Chart Beat Podcast on iTunes!

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