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NEAR TRUTHS: KABOOM

KABOOM: The youthquake revolution is now driving everything in the business—and that now includes radio. It wasn’t that long ago that Pop radio simply ignored what was streaming big, even if songs were blowing up at the DSPs. Tell a programmer a record was Top 5 at Spotify and they wouldn’t be able to compute what that meant—their metrics were Shazams, single sales and callout. Besides, they’d argue, those streaming kids aren’t our audience. Then they’d go back to upping spins on the latest single from a Pop diva who hadn’t had a hit in years.

As recently as last year, giant streaming cuts by Lil Tecca and DaBaby—the biggest of the big on the digital platforms—came up short at radio because programmers simply were still in denial, in the face of two formidable promo departments.

But that era seems to be over, the barriers are falling and records that blow up at streaming are going right on the air. It was Billie Eilish who knocked the door down, hitting critical mass while simultaneously defying the format and remaining understandable to gatekeepers. PDs balked at Lil Nas X until he was simply too huge to ignore. Now the dam has broken, and those same programmers who scoffed at Spotify numbers are now playing Arizona Zervas (who’s now inside the Top 10 at radio), Kemosabe/RCA’s Doja Cat, Alamo/Interscope’s blackbear and Trevor Daniel and RCA’s Brockhampton, among others that sprang up from the wilds of the DSPs and TikTok.

IT’S MASSIVE: TikTok has become the most important platform in music and is instrumental in launching new acts, which can subsequently earn ginormous streams and (if they aren’t signed already) lucrative deals. Just over the last year, we noted the sagas of Columbia’s Lil Nas X (whose “Road” to ubiquity began with cowboy-themed kiddie clips), his labelmate Zervas and Arista’s Saunders. More recently, in addition to the artists listed above, Republic’s Conan Gray and the supposedly unsigned Tokyo’s Revenge, among others, got a big bounce from TikTok. Even so, the process that led to these breakouts has been somewhat murky (particularly given the “wild west” environment in which the UGC-based site operates). Tweens and adolescents live on the app, and their tastes are the tail wagging the industry dog. With its audience of kids turning out mountains of viral content (including dance challenges and the like), how will the biz harness its seemingly boundless energy and monetize it?

HISTORIC $$$: A huge number of tours are going on sale during the first 90 days of 2020, representing an unprecedented volume of tickets flooding the marketplace and consumers’ attention. Can the market support thismany tours in this short a period? We’re talking about The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, Justin Bieber, Foreigner/Kansas, Pearl Jam, Bon Jovi, Jonas Brothers, Halsey, The Weeknd, Backstreet Boys, Tim McGraw, Sam Hunt, Luke Bryan, Steely Dan/Steve Winwood, Roger Waters, Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys, Dave Matthews Band and plenty more, as well as huge festivals like Coachella, New Orleans Jazz Fest, Ultra, etc. This Q1 slice is said by those who know to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 7m tickets. If the average ticket is $100, we’re talking about $700m. That’s a lotta cheddar.

Speaking of Coachella, sources close to the situation say the reason My Chemical Romance, who were initially touted as headliners of the festival, will not be appearing is that the late-breaking addition of Frank Ocean caused them to be bumped from the top line of the poster. Rumor is that the band will get full compensation, and that the producers are eating the $4-5m guarantee.

 

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