Madonna and US radio
What follows is an interesting article by
Michael Paoletta about the difficult relationship between Madonna and US radio submitted by our friend Maverick at www.tomcruiseonline.com
Madonna is in the midst of a sold-out North American trek that may end up being the top-grossing tour ever by a female artist. But this on-the-road success is not carrying over to American radio, which largely snubbed the first three singles from her latest album.
“Hung Up” got middling airplay on mainstream top 40 outlets, “Sorry” was barely played, and “Get Together” has been all but ignored by pop stations. (Her album, “Confessions on a Dance Floor,” has sold a healthy 1.5 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.)
Naturally, the disconnect has left executives at her Warner Bros. label, and more than a few fans, wondering, what gives?
More than 3,300 fans have signed an appeal at http://www.petitiononline.com. The “End the Madonna on U.S. Radio Boycott” petition is addressed to Clear Channel Communications CEO Mark P. Mays. Message boards at Entertainment Weekly and VH1, among others, are rife with everything from support for Madonna to conspiracy theories about why she can’t crack the radio dial.
Warner Bros. was aware that the songs on “Confessions” could present challenges at mainstream top 40 radio, acknowledges Tom Biery, the label’s senior VP of promotions. “Top 40 radio is so hip-hop-driven,” he says. “We were coming in with a global pop star who made a dance record.”
Click on the Full Article link below to continue reading this story from Reuters/Billboard/Yahoo! News.
Guy Zapoleon, president of radio consulting firm Zapoleon Media Strategies, calls it an “interesting dilemma for the woman who certainly held the ‘Queen of Pop’ title for almost 15 years.” Madonna’s ability to redefine herself is well-documented, and Zapoleon says that this has helped her keep a “leading edge” to the new group of pop music fans that comes along every three to five years.
But this time, Madonna may have turned left while the pop climate was turning right. Other pop chameleons such as
Nelly Furtado and
Mariah Carey reinvented themselves with recent rhythmic/hip-hop-leaning singles. Madonna opted instead to return to her dance-pop roots.
According to Dom Theodore, regional VP of programming for Clear Channel and program director of top 40 WKQI Detroit, today’s programmers consider each Madonna song on a case-by-case basis to determine if it fits mainstream top 40, adult top 40 or both. Or neither.
For Theodore, the sound of “Confessions on a Dance Floor” skews more retro-adult top 40 than mainstream top 40, while recent club tracks like Rihanna’s “SOS” have “more hip-hop credibility.” The Rihanna jam may reference an early-’80s dance hit (Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love”) but Theodore believes it does not have the same “retro ’70s feel” as the Madonna tracks.
Madonna has had no such problems internationally. Since its release last November, “Confessions on a Dance Floor” has topped the charts in 29 countries and sold more than 8 million copies worldwide, according to Warner Bros.
George Ergatoudis, head of music at BBC Radio 1 in the United Kingdom, says that while U.S. mainstream top 40 radio may be driven by urban, rock and straight-ahead pop, dance records — house music, in particular — are very much part of the top 40 radio culture in the United Kingdom and Europe.
Except for dance radio outlets like KNGY San Francisco, KNRJ Phoenix and KNHC Seattle, Madonna is missing from the terrestrial radio landscape in the United States.
As Warner Bros. gears up for the release of the album’s fourth single, “Jump,” Biery remains optimistic, especially since the song was heard in TV and radio spots for the hit film “The Devil Wears Prada.”
Source: Reuters/Billboard/Yahoo! News