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For an artist to even be considered by a Program Director at one of these stations, a tremendous amount of other activity must be going on.For instance, the artist may have had tremendous (and I do mean ) success at one of those lower formats (AAA or College); or the artist might have had their music used in a TV commercial or film; or (and this is rare) the artist could be blowing up (selling out live shows, etc.) in a local market, and one of these Big Time stations “tests” their music during one of their “specialty” shows (i.e.Rather, they work more like an intermediary to pass the label’s money to the radio station. One could argue, in fact, that due to the ineffectiveness of other means of promotion, Payola has become even more frenzied and high-stakes.
A major label (and that’s an important distinction) signs an artist, spends a bunch of money to make a record, and then get that artist’s music on the radio in order to have any chance of success.And, arguably, they lost control of publicity once artists began using social media to connect directly with their constituent group. Why has radio remained in tact when all the other elements in the industry have changed?To answer that question, it’s first important to understand how a song gets played on “Big Time” radio.By “Big Time” radio, I’m referring to formats like Adult Contemporary (AC), Hot Adult Contemporary (Hot AC), Contemporary Hits Radio (CHR), Active Rock, Pop, and Urban.There are other formats — college, Adult Album Alternative (AAA) — but, because their impact is smaller (read: less money can be made from them), they operate more in line with the way one would think radio operates: program directors try to pick music that the listeners of their stations will like, and if the listeners respond (calling in to request the song; calling in to ask what the song was, etc.), the song gets played more and more.
If there’s little or no response, the song doesn’t get played for very long.