All I remember is seeing research that it now costs a label $1 million for a hit song for an artist. This includes getting songwriters, marketing & promotion, pushing it to radio, etc.
That would be hard to recoup for the labels especially with mostly digital sales.
I found the article which was a few years ago based on pop music.
Now, I think the country format is probably not as bad for label costs. However, I'm assuming if you're working with the top country songwriters (Ex. Dallas Davidson) a lot I wouldn't be surprised like the article that they cost $10,000 or more each for their services. I wouldn't be surprised if it still costs a country label $500K to market, push to radio, pay for songwriters, etc. a hit song.
Sexist ‘tomato’ barb launches food fight on Music Row
The emails and social media posts began flying along Music Row on Wednesday when word began spreading about a radio consultant’s opinion that two songs by women shouldn’t be played consecutively on country radio.
In an interview with Country Aircheck, radio programmer Keith Hill cautioned radio stations against playing too many women, and they shouldn’t be played back to back, he said.
“If you want to make ratings in country radio, take females out,” he told Country Aircheck. “The reason is mainstream country radio generates more quarter hours from female listeners at the rate of 70 to 75%, and women like male artists.
“The expectation is we’re principally a male format with a smaller female component. I’ve got about 40 music databases in front of me and the percentage of females in the one with the most is 19%. Trust me, I play great female records and we’ve got some right now; they’re just not the lettuce in our salad. The lettuce is Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and artists like that. The tomatoes of our salad are the females.”
Well, at least he didn’t say we were cherries on top of the sundae.
As you might imagine, this is causing some women on Music Row to give voice to their anger.
For many, this is proof that female artists are being discriminated against at country radio. Only 20 percent — 10 of the Top 50 hits — are sung by female leads (whether solo or groups). Of the Top 50 songs that are 18 months or older, only 12 are sung by women — and nine of the 12 songs are by only three women.
In response, Jennifer Nettles tweeted, “Don’t worry babe. I see an opportunity here. I big ole vagina shaped opportunity.”
Martina McBride posted on her Facebook page, “Wow.....just wow. Just read this from a major country radio publication. How do you feel about this statement? I especially want to hear from the females. Do you not like to hear other women singing about what you are going through as women? I’m really curious. Because to me, country music is about relating. Someone relating to what you are really going through on a day to day basis in your life. Did you girls (core female listeners) know you were being “assessed” in this way? Is this how you really feel? Hmmm....”
Radio consultant Jaye Albright posted on Facebook, “…He is simply wrong. You could make a case that males sometimes don’t relate to specific songs put out by women and that does cause more releases by men to do better on average what the typical female hit does but I have never seen any evidence that women do not like songs by females!”
CMT senior vice president Leslie Fram, says, “I can tell you that working and programming radio for over 20 years, this is simply not true. Top 40 is primarily a female format and the majority of artists on their chart are women. This posting is taking us 20 steps backwards. It’s an insult to every female artist in the format.”
Artist manager and Rounder Records exec Tracy Gershon says, “Female artists are killing it in the pop format. A woman who listens to Katy Perry is just as likely to listen to Miranda Lambert.
“So how am I supposed to believe that women who don’t want to hear other women occurs only in the country format? Keith Hill’s comments are reckless and irresponsible.”
When Country Aircheck publisher Lon Helton edited the story that focused on radio programming, he didn’t blink an eye, he says, because everyone in radio knows this.
“Remember, since the 1960s, program directors have been telling people not to play two women back to back. It has nothing to do with sexism. It has to do with the fact that through the years, you have had very few hits by women, so you want to spread them out a little bit because there are fewer of them.”
It’s a matter of balance, he says. Of course, if radio played more songs by women, this wouldn’t be an issue.
Generally, he says, women account for about 15 percent of songs on country radio, and the 1990s, when women such as Shania Twain, Faith Hill, Trisha Yearwood, Patty Loveless and others dominated the airwaves, was an aberration.
The lack of women on country radio isn’t a sexist decision, Helton says, noting that female radio programmers make the same choices as their male counterparts, and they are based on what female listeners say they want to hear.
“When they vote about the music they want to hear on the radio, when asked when they hear the hooks, they seem to prefer the music from male artists. It is a fine difference to say whether they prefer men or women, but overwhelming they vote for songs by men.”
But Jeff Green, partner in Stone Door Media Lab, says that since the vast majority of songs are by males, those are the ones that are going to test well.
“When Taylor Swift is out of the format, and apart from Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert, how many strong female artists are there?” he says. “Where are the women artists to test? It is a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
So I had to ask Hill what he thought about those responses, and if he really thinks female artists are just salad toppings.
Here are some highlights from our conversation:
“My job is to trick people to listen longer. You know how I do that? I never give them onion, onion, onion. I never give them carrot, carrot, carrot. I never give them a half hour of lettuce, lettuce, lettuce. And guess what? I never give them tomato, tomato, either. It’s just a strategically measured mixing.”
“The producers of country music all want to sell a lot of records. They don’t want to sell just a few. And they aren’t personally motivated by wanting to get women back on the air or wanting to get the banjo back on the radio. They’d would make Balinese gong records backwards if they sold the most.”
“I don’t know why people want to gargle glass and eat razor blades when there’s donuts and salad.”
“I guarantee, if you play a country station at parity, females to males, I’ll want to be across the street programming the other radio station.”
“What you need to do, Alison, is start a crowdfund and raise money to purchase a little pipsqueak radio station in Nebraska or Iowa, and you program it with mostly women. I guarantee it would not be successful.”
“If all the sudden the whole world woke up and wanted syrupy ballads, we’d take all the tempo off the air. If they wanted jug bands and folk (music) by new artists, that’s what radio stations would play.”
“People may think I’m a misogynistic sexist asshole. I’ve got the tweets to prove that. But the fact of the matter is: I stand on a hot day selling cold bottles of water. And the salty snacks people are saying, ‘What do you have against me?’”
“Florida Georgia Line stretched the rubber band in one very particular way. Aren’t they the most downloaded band now? I think somebody likes them.”
“I haven’t used Twitter in years, and the first tweet I got in four years was, ‘Douchebag.’”
“I’ve been in radio for 42 years, and I’ve made money out of figuring out what makes radio ratings go up. I make a very good living. I’m just sharing what I’ve uncovered.”
And what did he have to say about Nettles’ comment?
“I understand where she’s at. She’s one of the best female vocalists there is,” Hill tod me. “If she sees it as an opportunity, that’s fine.”
I don't think the ratio of male-female on radio is any worse than it ever has been (except for maybe a few year). Oldie times there were never female artist. I guess Kitty Wells was the first big one. (I hated her whiny, nasal voice). Patsy Cline was a star, then Loretta took over when Patsy died. Anyway, right or wrong, that's how it has always been. It seems for females to get played, their song must be extraordinary and not just good or cutesy, catchy, etc. I'm generally not a lover of most women's voices. Those that sing in the lower register are more pleasing to me. I like Kasey Musgraves voice. I don't buy her music and never listen to it much, but it is pleasing. Some of her subjects aren't good, but her voice is not screechy, screamy, or nasal. That's a good thing. What it all boils down to, that guy is probably right. He just went too far.
We went to see Kenny Chesney with his openers Chase Rice (didn't expect much from him) and Jake Owen. I love Kenny's early music ... But they had turned the few early songs into rock music!!! We all commented we felt like we were at a rock concert ?? Actually Jake Owen was the best of the three! I was very disappointed.
Why Kellie Pickler isn't a radio mainstay like Miranda and Carrie I'll never understand. She is one of the best females to record Country music in this new century! If she would have been around in the 90s she would have had many #1s and platinum albums!
Just a reminder to K.T. Oslin fans, her first album in 14 years "Simply" is out today at all retail and on ITunes. It's brand new very different versions of 8 older songs of hers and 1 brand new one. itunes.apple.com/us/album/simply/id996788651
K.T. could never happen today. Imagine a 46 year old female getting signed and then top 10 singles into her early 50s. I guess that would be a very ripe tomato?
In tribute to one of country's greatest, Conway Twitty. Conway died on June 5, 1993 at the age of 59.
I only saw Conway once. The thing that struck me most was how absolutely wonderfully he dominated that stage and held the audience in the palm of his hand. Scotty has the same effect on the audience when he steps on the stage.
Quick report on seeing Jamey Johnson Friday night! WOW! He (and his band) laid down some seriously good music. He did his stuff - 'In Color', 'the Dollar', etc.
He did some things he had a hand in writing. Was surprised (and pleased) to learn that he had co-written George Strait's 'Give It Away'. Was equally surprised (and disappointed ) to find out he had written 'Honky Tonk Badonkadonk' with Dallas Davidson and others). He had the good sense to sing Throw it Away and forego singing Badonkadonk. LOL.
What was absolutely wonderful was hearing him and his band do some of the older country stuff like 'I Fall To Pieces', 'Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes', etc. Basically, I was in country music heaven.
Now here's the thing that struck me most. I was seriously about the oldest person there. All other attendees were maybe early 20's to mid 40's. The floor was packed with fans. They knew ALL the songs and sang along with about every one of them!
Now, my question to the record labels is how can they say there is not market for real country - for the older sounds with steels and fiddles and banjos, and music played in three-quarter time! Watching that crowd, it was so obvious there is a hunger out there for what has been lost on mainstream radio - and a market!
There was a nice piece in this Sunday morning's Parade magazine titled, "This Is What Country Looks Like." It was about the popularity of country music in the US and its growing popularity internationally. According to Billboard it is America's most popular genre. Some of the reasons are that it's a big-tent genre (they cite "a jumble of rock-ready guitars and hip-hop flourishes") and the music means something - every song has a story in country music.
They mention the upcoming CMA Fest. They also talk about country music having the best fans and the special relationship between fans and artists that is really unique to country. It also said in the past 10 years country music consumers age 12 and over have grown 31%, from 80.9M to 106.6M, fans from 12-17 have increased 42% since 2004, and those 18-24 have grown 56% in 10 years. They specified South America, UK, Australia and Japan as international areas where country music is popular enough to hold festivals.
A link in the above article takes you to definitions of the sub-genres of country music:
Who Does What in Country Music
From sparkly, pop star Taylor Swift to quintessential cowboy George Strait, all country music does not hit the same notes. Some artists “cross over;” they start as traditional and move into another style, think Shania Twain or Dolly Parton. Here’s a cheat sheet to help you keep track.
Americana A little to the left of the mainstream. Jason Isbell, Buddy Miller
Bluegrass Bountiful with banjos and fiddles. Bill Monroe, Alison Krauss
Bro Country Guys’ night out party tunes. Girls welcome too. Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton
Country Rock (Southern Rock) Up-tempo, guitar-infused jams. Charlie Daniels, Zac Brown Band
Hat Acts Cowboy hat wearers. Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks
Cap Acts Baseball cap-donning artists. Eric Church, Thomas Rhett
Honky Tonk Hardcore twang best served with a beer. George Jones, Johnny Paycheck
Outlaw Bucking the system in the ‘70s and beyond. Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson
Pop Country Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood
Traditional (or New Traditional) Playing it straight and old school. Randy Travis, George Strait, Reba McEntire
Western Swing Countrified swing music. Asleep at the Wheel, Bob Wills
Saving Country Music article about artists following trends gives some good advice. It would be nice if more artists took it.
June 11, 2015 So How Are All of Those Trend Chasing Country Songs Doing Anyway?
"As bad as critics may say they are, the reason Sam Hunt and Florida Georgia Line are perennials at the top of the charts at the moment is not because they are chasing trends, it is because they are making them. Instead of following, older and up-and-coming artists should either trying sticking to what they do best, or trying to make some trends of their own."
Radio Disney announced today (June 12) that it is launching Radio Disney Country. The 24/7 network will feature "chart-bound young artists and today's biggest country hits including Florida Georgia Line, Hunter Hayes, Maddie & Tae, The Band Perry, Kelsea Ballerini, Thomas Rhett and RaeLynn," according to a press release.
"Country music continues to grow in popularity among tweens and teens. As a trusted name in family entertainment, Radio Disney is delighted to introduce a new music outlet dedicated to country music and expand upon the engaging content we successfully deliver through Radio Disney's multi-platform network," Phil Guerini, Vice President, Programming and General Manager, Radio Disney, said in a release.
"I am so excited about Radio Disney launching a country channel," said Ballerini. "It's so cool to get a new generation and a new group of ears on my music…and all of the awesome music coming out of Nashville. I think it will be great for the format, it's been great for me, and I'm hopeful to do more with them in the future."
The channel will launch in November and will live on the Radio Disney App as well as other third party digital platforms.
This could be a great thing for Scotty's old music and his new music since he has a lot of fans who are kids and teens! Just another way to spread the Scotty word. Hopefully this station plays a lot of his music. But...they will promote FL-GA line...to kids? "Sippin' on Fire" and "Sun Daze" doesn't need to be anywhere near children!
Jonathan: Hi everyone that still checks this page!
Aug 9, 2019 15:48:20 GMT
mary_beaton: "Seasons Change" debuted as Billboard #1 Country Album. Congratulations Scotty!!
Mar 26, 2018 20:37:23 GMT
mary_beaton: Five More Minutes is #1 Country Song this week! Both at Mediabase and Billboard!! Congratulations Scotty! So deserving.
Feb 26, 2018 15:59:01 GMT
mary_beaton: Scotty's new album "Seasons Change" will be released March 16, 2018! You can pre-order Seasons Change at iTunes and Amazon beginning Jan. 12, 2018. You can also pre-order Seasons Change bundled with exclusive merchandise options at ScottyMcCreery.com
Dec 18, 2017 17:05:32 GMT
mary_beaton: Scotty's new single, "Five More Minutes," will be released May 5th to iTunes, Amazon and streaming services like Spotify. Be sure to download and stream this great new song!
May 4, 2017 15:27:59 GMT