Even in the age of music streaming, radio airplay remains an essential source of exposure and career development for artists at indie and major music companies alike. The five promotion executives here, who each work at music companies chosen for Billboard’s Indie Power Players list, are at the top of their game, using their powers of persuasion with programmers to gain airplay for their priority singles.
Each discussed an artist and track that achieved noteworthy airplay in the past year thanks to their efforts.
Nick Attaway, 48
VP Radio Promotion, BMG
In May, Godsmack’s “Bulletproof,” the lead single from the band’s album When Legends Rise, became the group’s first No. 1 in four years on the Mainstream Rock Airplay chart. “But the goal wasn’t to just go No. 1,” says Attaway, explaining the artist-development strategy behind the track. “It was to make sure this song would be so successful that it would be played for years to come.” In addition to hitting No. 1, “Bulletproof” has remained on Mainstream Rock Airplay for 25 weeks and counting, assuring BMG had achieved its goal.
Lindsay Berberich, 28
National Radio Promotion, S-Curve Records
“One thing everyone here is really good about is artist development, figuring out [the format] to place an artist, where they belong,” says Berberich. “That’s what happened with AJR.” The trio of brothers had achieved two modest hits on the Pop Songs chart before S-Curve decided that “Sober Up,” featuring Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo, had a better shot at getting played on alternative radio. The song hit No. 1 on Alternative Songs in March. Despite that early pop success, says Berberich, “having the record break through at [alternative], a format they weren’t traditionally known for, was exciting.”
Senior VP Promotion, Caroline/Capitol Music Group
Rapper NF had “built his own brand for a few years within the streaming and touring space,” says Halpern. “When his third album, Perception, debuted No. 1 on the Billboard 200, we decided to take his first single, “Let You Down,” to radio. It not only went to No. 1 at top 40 but is now triple-platinum. This was the first time in four or five years that an independent label with a team of five people achieved that goal, so I’m very proud.”
Nick Petropoulos, 39
Head of Promotion, Glassnote Entertainment Group
“When you first sign an artist and work together, you always have high expectations and hope that the band meets or exceeds them. And I feel CHVRCHES exceeded expectations” with their song “Miracles,” says Petropoulos. “I believe it’s the single that will go all the way and be their big hit.” The song is No. 16 on the Alternative Songs chart. “It takes longer than ever for a record to go all the way, and you just have to stay steadfast and believe in it every single day. You can’t give up too early.”
Jill Weindorf, 43
Senior VP Promotion and Marketing, Concord Music
Ghost, whose song “Rats” was No. 1 on the Mainstream Rock chart for seven weeks, “had [released] several records before coming to Concord, but had never been played on the radio,” says Weindorf. “We were fortunate to [achieve], in the promotion universe, a best-case scenario,” a series of chart successes preceding a smash. The band had notched a top five track on Mainstream Rock in 2016, another song peak at No. 1 for two weeks in 2017 and a multiweek sweep in 2018 with “Ghost.” Adds Weindorf: “It has been a real artist-development achievement for us.”