CMJ Songwriters: Radio More Important Now


cmj09College Music Journal (CMJ) recently held its annual shindig in New York City, the CMJ Music Marathon and Film Festival.  It’s a well-known event that usually focuses on new and breaking music and industry developments. This year, it seems that radio is getting some well deserved recognition.

There was a panel at the event called “The Path of a Hit Song.” While all sorts of promotional vehicles were mentioned ranging from MySpace, viral marketing, online video and television commercials there was a consensus among panelists that the way to have a hit is to “get it on the radio.”

Glenn Gamboa at Newsday brings us the skinny (bolded emphasis is my own, FYI):

Songwriter Nina Ossoff, who has worked on songs for Daughtry and Phil Stacey, says because declining sales have hurt everyone in the industry, she now has to “deal in volume,” trying to get as many songs placed wherever she can to make up for lower sales and a lack of radio exposure. […]

“Radio’s become more important because of what has happened,” said David Katz, half of the production-songwriting team S*A*M and Sluggo, responsible for recent hits from Boys Like Girls, The Academy Is . . . , and Metro Station. “The hit song’s become a more important medium because no one buys albums any more.”

Mr. Katz’s comment really made me sit up and think. I still tend to buy complete albums/CDs when purchasing music, but then again, I also still have a huge stack of vinyl LPs along with my overflowing hard drive full of digitized tunes. Many these days do not. It’s easy to hop on Amazon or iTunes and buy just the one track that appeals to you and call it a day. Viewed from that perspective, their assertion that radio is even more important now makes perfect sense.

Radio is still one of the most universally accessible media types, crossing all socio-economic boundaries, all racial and ethnic divides, and penetrating all levels and aspects of society. Radio is the “hit maker,” even in this age of social media. It reaches those without Internet access as easily as those online, and the only learning needed to use it is the ability to hit the “on” switch and fiddle with the tuner.

Did you go to CMJ this year? Did you attend the panel? If so, leave us a comment here; we would love to know your thoughts!

Image: CMJ 09 Logo / Public Domain: Reporting


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