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iGEN by Ted Volk
The Place Where Radio and Records come Together Without Talking

These days, there are so many different variables when it comes to how to judge a record at Modern Rock. We have the new request line: Shazam. We still have sales, though I’m not sure for how much longer. And we have the new phenomenon of streaming. In terms of Spotify and such, we haven’t yet seen a niched platform for individual formats, so it’s hard to judge things week-by-week, since Top 40 by far dominates the data that is readily available. It’s also obvious that the younger generation (which again is Top 40-dominated) rules the streaming world. It wasn’t long ago when you just hoped to get one of three things going—the three things being requests, sales and research. I don’t think that’s changed, but I imagine the process of discovering the data will be a whole lot of fun moving forward.  

What to look for from streaming? In the Alternative world, Spotify is the leader in the clubhouse. I’d say Spotify has about 70% of the marketshare when it comes to the alternative listener. The #1 record at the format, blink-182’s “Bored to Death” (BMG), was streamed 1.2m times this week. That’s a really good number, especially considering that it doesn’t include Top 40. It seems safe to say if you’re getting 1m streams a week without Top 40, you’re a blue-chip record for the format. The Lumineers’ “Ophelia” (Dualtone) earned 1.25m streams this week. Other winners include Bastille’s “Good Grief” (Virgin/CMG) with 840k streams and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Dark Necessities” (Warner Bros.) with approximately 830k. How about a couple of newer acts? If you can get to 500k as a new act, I’d say you’re looking pretty darn good. This week, Kaleo’s “Way Down We Go” got 697k and Bishop Briggs’ “River” (Teleport) pulled in a solid 500k. And what about a new track that’s working its way inside the Top 20 at Modern Rock? It appears, in that case, you’d want to be in the 250k range. A strong example is The Head & The Heart’s “All We Ever Knew” (Warner Bros.), which is now Top 15; that one pulled in 316k streams this week. Similarly, Phantogram’s “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore” (Republic) nabbed about 250k, as it hit #14.  

When you hear a Chili Peppers song on the radio you know who it is; why would you Shazam it?

How about Shazam? The Modern Rock station that leads with Shazams is KTCL Denver, hands down. I’d say, for the most part, Top 40, Rhythm and Urban get the most Shazams in each market. This is not the case in Denver, however; there, KTCL (that's PD Nerf at right) has 12 titles. Using Shazam, I jumped around a lot of markets and noticed that Alternative records are starting to pop up more. Generally speaking, if an Alternative station can get five to seven Shazams at a time, it’s impressive. Right now, there a few records that really stand out when it comes to interest from this platform. Kaleo’s “Way Down We Go” is Shazaming in 45 markets and Bishop Briggs’ “River” is in 34. I also thought, with 33, Beck’s “Wow” (Capitol) is garnering a lot of interest. On the other hand, it’s hard to tell if Shazam is a viable tool when it comes to well-known acts. For example, there’s Red Hot Chili Peppers. When you hear a RHCP song on the radio you know who it is; at least that seems like a safe assumption to me. If that’s the case, then why would you Shazam it? I guess if you were, say, my 14-year-old daughter, then I could see how you might not recognize the band. That said, “Dark Necessities” still got 14 Shazams this week.

For more iGen, go here.