Bonnie Raitt’s ‘Just Like That’ Heads to Radio After Grammy Win — With a Hands-Off Approach
Raitt's team is not aggressively pitching the song of the year winner, but some programmers are looking to boost airplay anyway.
After Bonnie Raitt’s “Just Like That” won the Grammy Award for song of the year, her team put out a shorter radio edit of the tear-jerking ballad — and then proceeded to do almost no further radio advertising or promotion.
“I’m afraid the song is not something we feel an aggressive marketing approach fits,” Kathy Kane, Raitt’s manager, says by email. “We didn’t put it forth as a single with a specific [radio] impact date aggressively going for ads. We are simply here to support those interested in the song.”
The lack of a radio strategy around “Just Like That” is distinct from the strategy around the album, which has the same title. A year ago, before Raitt put out the album on her own label, Redwing Records, she attended a Zoom video call with programmers as part of a marketing campaign to extend the rock, pop and blues star’s long history of radio hits. The strategy worked: Just Like That made its debut last May at No. 1 on several Billboard charts, including Top Current Album Sales, and hit No. 6 on Top Rock Albums.
But when “Just Like That” won song of the year, Raitt’s team opted for a low-key promotional effort for the country-leaning ballad about a woman who loses her son and falls in love with the man who received his heart. While the song topped Billboard’s Rock Digital Song Sales chart and hit No. 6 on Digital Song Sales the week after the Grammys, radio spins increased from just 27 to 41 over the past week.
That said, some influential radio programmers are working to boost the airplay.
“Hopefully, I can be the station that breaks these records so other stations can follow,” says Dan Mathews, program director for Top 40 stations Rhythm 105.9 in Sacramento, Calif., Jamz 99.3 FM in Salina, Kan., and Hitz 90.5 in Edgar, Neb. “Our listenership has gone up just playing that record.”
The low-key approach has had sporadic success elsewhere. Dennis Constantine, a longtime adult album alternative programmer, added two or three “Just Like That” spins per day to 92.5 the River in Boston and The Point in Burlington, Vt. (They play the original version, not the shorter radio edit.) “We were playing other tracks off the album, and when that won best song of the year, we started playing it everywhere,” says Constantine, program director for the two stations and a consultant for another in Flagstaff, Ariz. “It makes sense. She’s a legend in our format.”