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FMQB Interview With Guy Zapoleon, President, Zapoleon Media Strategies
Surviving and succeeding in today's turbulent and challenging times is an ongoing exercise for many professionals in and around the radio and music industries. Changing financial times begets changing business models and paradigms, and many pros wind up outside the business through no fault of their own. It's simply a matter of attrition. But this intro is not meant to be a downer...conversely,... KEEP READING
Zapoleon Music Cycle-Extremes Doldrums Approaching
A lot of people are asking me what time is it in the Zapoleon Music Cycle. What time is it when Country songs like Lady Antebellum, and Country's Pop sweetheart Taylor Swift are becoming hits at Mainstream Top 40. What time is it when there are more Pop Rock potential hits that are now crossing to Mainstream Top 40 (even if programmers are slow to embrace them now)....Daughtry, Nickelback, Life... KEEP READING
Dixie Chicks: Country fans want 'em back
[from: USA Today, Listen Up] I haven't done an actual tally, but my impression of the hundreds of Dixie Chicks-related comments this blog has spawned would be that they run about 2-1 unfavorable toward the group, their political statements and their conduct in general.Country radio has not generally been eager to play new (or sometimes old) Chicks songs, and the group has not been actively embr... KEEP READING
Understanding what makes pop music popular
[from: ars technica] Back in the day, hits were tracked by record sales and predicted by how they sounded to music industry veterans. If you really wanted to test the waters, you could let Dick Clark play a soon-to-be-released single on American Bandstand and see if people moved to it. ("It's got a good beat and you can dance to it. I'll give it a 93, Dick.") Even today, the tastes of the recor... KEEP READING
A Hit is a Hit
It's widely talked about and written about these days... the new "promotion rules" placed on all record labels have supposedly leveled the playing field for independent labels. One of the greatest examples of what can happen when the "hit playing field" is evened out occurred during a similar set of circumstances in the industry in 1986. During this time all of a sudden a little record label r... KEEP READING
What does Jack mean for radio and especially Hot AC--Is Jack Tomorrow's Hot AC?
There is a new Jack station popping up in a market almost every day now...Why did it take so long for American radio to embrace this format when it was such a success across the Canadian border over two years ago? Mark Ramsey, of Mercury Research in the US, started showing that there was room for a wide variety music format centered in the 70s and 80s, however most research companies didnt show... KEEP READING
Callout: A Case of Domestic Abuse? (part 1)
A few weeks ago I promised in my MusicBiz column that I would seek out Todd Wallace. Todd?s the Godfather of radio music research. I wanted to get some insight into how he first developed callout. Todd and I have known each other for well over 25 years. We worked together as programmer and consultant on different projects many times, including my stint as PD at both KIIS Los Angeles and WXKS-FM... KEEP READING
Callout: A Case of Domestic Abuse? (part 2)
A Must-Read...Part II in a series of articles from Steve Rivers with Todd Wallace.Steve Rivers: At that time, it was well before any personal computers were available. I'm guessing that all the math was crunched by hand? How long did that take each week?Todd Wallace: You?re right, in those early day?s, computer technology was in its infancy. I was literally hand tallying the results and using a... KEEP READING
Callout: A Case of Domestic Abuse? (part 3)
A Must-Read...Part III in a series of articles from Steve Rivers with Todd Wallace.Steve Rivers: A few weeks back, the MusicBiz crew visited some record labels in New York. One of the hot button topics that came up was callout. How are programmers using it? Are they using it as excuse for not adding a song because it doesn?t test well? The frustration, I think, comes not from callout itself, bu... KEEP READING
Callout: A Case of Domestic Abuse? (part 4)
A Must-Read...Part IV in a series of articles from Steve Rivers with Todd Wallace.Steve Rivers: As we both know, when it comes to music research design, the screener has to be constructed properly to be effective. Otherwise, it?s garbage in, garbage out. What tips can you offer programmers in this area?Todd Wallace: I think, in our respective travels as trouble shooters, we?ve both witnessed so... KEEP READING
Spin factor - RADIO: Infinity, XM, Clear Channel, Sirius ... Is anybody ready to make radio cool again?
Music radio, once a radical force in shaping popular culture, has become all but irrelevant -- or hadn't you noticed? The medium that brought us bell-bottoms, Jimi Hendrix and closer to each other through the acquaintance of mutual friends (DJs) has been turned into computerized wallpaper, a programmable backdrop whose cards are punched by format consultants.Is it any wonder that the record ind... KEEP READING
When The Going Gets Weird...
"When The Going Gets Weird, The Weird Turn Pro". - Hunter S. ThompsonWell, it certainly has gotten weird out there. The Hillary Clinton spin machine has been reactivated ... Cats now have a TV show just for them on cable ... There's a dictator in North Korea that looks like a member of The Talking Heads and his hand is on the big red button just itching for a fight. Chicago Cubs homerun powerho... KEEP READING
MUSIC BY THE SLICE: The single, written off as a dead format, is starting to make a comeback -- thanks to the DVD
Music singles put the pop in popular music.Ever since that fateful day when Bill Haley rocked around that clock at 45 revolutions-per-minute, singles provided the pulse of the music industry. The hallowed single -- once a seven-inch vinyl 45-rpm record with a big hole in the middle, later on cassette and then CD -- summed up a summer, a new love, the shedding of an ex.Spin forward and the music... KEEP READING
Promo Squad: It's Not A Jingle Package - It's Hit Music Radar!
In a galaxy far, far away and a long time ago ... before there was BDS and MediaBase, programmers like me would do competitive SWAT. It was a competitive playlist analysis using primitive means like cassette radio recorders with timers set to go off every two minutes. Basically it would record snippets of songs. These snippets then be typed into lists, with all the plays calculated for spins an... KEEP READING
Guy Zapoleon: Phone Callout vs. Online Callout
There was a time 15 years ago when callout wasn't a programmer's standard tool and final tool of the Hits! Back then most programmers didnt haven't have a comfort zone with callout and instead still relied on at national charts single sales and requests to determine rotations...A handful of programmers in the know rode callout scores and library music testing to big successes...We found that on... KEEP READING
Can You Spend Too Much on Marketing?
We're in a time where broadcasters with the top five stations in a market are finding themselves on an ever-evening playing field where tenths of a point make the difference between being top five and out of the top 10. At a time when satellite radio and downloading are immediate threats to radio's audience, why do broadcasters refuse to continue to pour the money that they once put into radio... KEEP READING
National Charts Or The Twilight Zone
This week I heard something disturbing and I wanted to share my thoughts with you. Here's the deal.... In a major radio group programmers are using MediaBase and BDS to construct their rotations without using any local callout. This is due to budget cuts I'm sure, but it's frightening. Imagine how many other program directors across the country are using national spins to put together their po... KEEP READING
NBC Scents Victory as Vivendi Board Meets
PARIS (Reuters) - Television network NBC looked set to win Vivendi Universal's multibillion dollar show business auction on Tuesday as the French media giant's board prepared to end months of agonizing over its Hollywood future.After eleventh-hour talks with two top contenders, Vivendi held a special board meeting in Paris to vote on eliminating a consortium led by Edgar Bronfman Jr. and approv... KEEP READING
In the seven months since it debuted in Airplay Monitor, HitPredictor has given programmers an early warning on some not so obvious hits: Evanescence's "Bring Me To Life," Uncle Kracker's "Drift Away," Stacie Orrico's "Stuck," and, most recently, Trapt's "Headstrong" at mainstream top 40. In that time, HitPredictor has also identified some songs as having top 10 callout potential that never bec... KEEP READING
Radio's Dilemma -- The Solution (Part 2)
How do we get out of the current state of the industry and create truly compelling radio once again? Take your excellent brain trust and interpret the research for the station looking for custom solutions, not rehashed ideas that have been used in a thousand markets. Wipe the slate clean and see if you can come up with something fresh and creative.So, how are we going to save what once was a g... KEEP READING
HitPredictor - The Year In Review (A Handful Of Predictions From The Past Year)
For most of the readers of Airplay Monitor, 2003 brought their introduction to HitPredictor. In February, our predictions began appearing in these pages. Now, nearly one year later, we're taking a look back to see how we did and what it all means.Although the HitPredictor chart was new this year, the system that tests and assesses the songs was already well-defined before the first results were... KEEP READING
People Aren't Spending Any Time Giving Songs A Chance
With label promotion resources under pressure, it is more crucial than ever for labels to spend radio promotion dollars wisely. To that end, Rick Bisceglia and Guy Zapoleon launched PromoSquad in 2002 as an online research tool to help labels, managers and artists measure the potential success of a song.Bisceglia is a veteran record promoter. Zapoleon is a longtime radio professional who now co... KEEP READING
HitPredictor Now Testing Country Titles
In our ongoing effort to provide programmers with the most accurate charts, breaking industry news and informed analysis of gathering trends, Airplay Monitor is pleased to introduce the popular HitPredictor feature to country readers (see graph, page 38).Already successfully identifying positive consumer reaction to new music for the R&B/hip-hop, modern rock, AC and top 40 formats, Nashville's... KEEP READING
Country HitPredictor: Some Observations
Since launching the country HitPredictor chart in Airplay Monitor in February, several interesting trends have emerged in the numbers. These trends say as much about country music as they do about the chart.Like the format in general, the country HitPredictor dances to the beat of a different drummer than that of other formats.Country scores overall have fallen into a pattern similar to those o... KEEP READING
The A-B-C Research Method
Unfamiliarity=Tuneout. At last weeks NAB, Arbitron presented statistics from its study using People Meter in Philadelphia. It revealed something that we experienced programming veterans have known for years. Unfamiliar music is a tune out. Case in point; on Top 40 Q102, Outkast's "Hey Ya", in its first few weeks of exposure blew off 26% of Q102's cume. Should Q102 have not played this song? Of... KEEP READING
Music services jump on iTunes bandwagon
In a rush to market that's reminiscent of the dot-com bubble's headiest days, a stampede of companies is following Apple Computer pell-mell into the online music sales business. Napster's new owner, Roxio, is scheduled to launch a legal version of the service by Christmas. Musicmatch said Monday that it will soon sell songs through its jukebox application. RealNetworks, America Online, Amazon.c... KEEP READING
Press Releases Radio's Secret Weapon
NEW YORK, April 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Radio stations across the nation are utilizing a remarkable tool when deciding what songs to play; specifically a company called HitPredictor. HitPredictor has become the undisputed #1 brand of predictive music research in the nation, with charts featured in Billboard magazine and Radio and Records. HitPredictor performs online predictive music research with... KEEP READING
Promosquad HitPredictor and Crossfade: Music Industry's Secret Weapon Strikes Gold
NEW YORK, Feb. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- As record labels struggle to pull out of one of the worst slumps in their history by better relating to consumers and by cost-effectively releasing their strongest product, one company has quietly turned to the fans' opinions for the ultimate solution ... .and is succeeding in guiding labels and artists in choosing their strongest music and biggest hits. The c... KEEP READING
Dear Radio Industry Bigwigs: We like music. You like music. That's one thing we agree on. We're not playing the blame game. After all, there was some excellent music on the radio in '04 - Green Day, U2, and anything with Kanye West on it. Much Respect. But here's the hammer: You're sleepin' dudes! There are a ton of great hit singles waiting to happen that never made headway on the radio.Duri... KEEP READING
'Cold' Track Heats Up Act - FG/Columbia Band Crossfade Scores With New Name, Single
Crossfade is finding its new name much luckier than its old moniker of Sugardaddy Superstar. As Crossfade, the Columbia, S.C.-based quartet has seen its self-titled FG/Columbia debut earn its sixth week atop the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart.The album's success is fueled primarily by the first single, "Cold," which reached No. 1 on Billboard Radio Monitor's Active Rock chart and is No. 5 on... KEEP READING