The $64,000 question (II of II)

Why would a record company decide to kneecap a popular song whose popularity continues to grow by shifting attention to the next new thing? Hard to say, unless you’re the record exec making the call (of course, I always love to hear from record exec people - Susan Puckett over at Daywind, for instance, just makes my day when she decides to write - so feel free to write in anytime). But, again, there are several factors: first of all, various artists are probably all screaming at the label to get their new tunes out, so there’s the pressure - especially at labels representing a stable of big names - to try to keep everyone minimally happy rather than really pleasing one or two artists (conversely, if you’re the artist who did “Rising Star,” and “New Tune” was cut by an artist more popular than you, you’re likely to get sacrificed for the artist with more clout). And too, in sg, unlike ALL other music formats I’ve heard about, singles are sent out on compilation discs rather than cds with single-song cuts on them. So, if the BRL disc with “New Tune” on it (among many others) is ready to ship, BRL goes ahead and ships it instead of thinking through the strategies of each individual artist, mainly because there are a lot of company resources and investment bound up in a disc full of a label’s various artists - whereas, with a single-cut disc approach, there would presumably be less pressure to send the disc out, since there wouldn’t be as much riding on its success (tangentially related question whose answer must be deferred to another time: why use the compilation approach?). Finally, it’s likely that record companies see a radio single not as a vehicle for chart topping as artists are more likely to see it (a history of No. 1 tunes builds reputation power over time), but as a promotion for sales of the larger project from which the radio-cut was culled. After all, from BRL’s perspective, if a song has gotten to the low-end of the Top 10, it’s probably already burned through the biggest part of its sales potential. That is, after a certain difficult-to-define but very real point in the move up to higher and higher single-digit chart positions, there is an inversely proportional relationship between chart position and project sales. Still, I gotta say, the logic of releasing “New Tune” while “Rising Star” continues rising baffles me: if “Rising Star” is rising quickly, building up play-points and reaching more and more stations as its chart position and point-count go up, it looks like it would be in everyone’s interest to give “Rising Star” the handful of weeks it would take the song to peak of its volition or hit No. 1 (and if “New Tune” is by the same artist as “Rising Star,” then a No. 1 showing from “Rising Star” will greatly increase the likelihood that “New Tune” will hit the Top 5 as well). The publicity and the increased longevity that a number one song generates seems like it ought to be obviously worth the wait.

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