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COLUMBIA PROMO'S
PERFECT GAME

This week saw the completion of the most incredible promotion achievement in the history of the Top 40 panel. 

Columbia Records chief promotion gunslinger Peter Gray and his team, headed by SVP Brady Bedard, SVP Matt Stevens and VP Samantha Brenner, have just completed 20 consecutive weeks with the #1 song in America on the Mediabase Top 40 chart, the ultimate radio airplay achievement in the life of a record, an artist and a promotion department. 

There is simply nothing that compares to the ultimate coronation of a project that began as a radio embryo and ended a week’s struggle at the top of the charts. Team Gray completed 2020 with chart-toppers for 19 non-consecutive weeks at #1, and they repeated the achievement with 19 weeks again in 2021; they have begun 2022 with three more weeks at the top. What’s more, the last 17 were consecutive from last year and continued into the first three of 2022—and the total of 20 straight is an unprecedented record for the industry. Peter has created and masterminded a team that’s now performing at peak efficiency, giving the great music delivered to him by label head Ron Perry and team the most perfect conceivable ride. 

Peter, Brady, Matt, Samantha and their entire team should be applauded for giving their greatest artists the greatest ride of their lives. They did it as a now-seasoned team at the pinnacle of their power. 

Promotion is a funny thing. It’s inscrutable to most, like an enigma wrapped in a riddle. To those of us who have done it and observed it for decades, it’s an ever-challenging game—one that resets itself weekly and has clear and obvious rules.

Promotion, first of all, is always about the record.

In this 20-week stretch it's about The Kid LAROI and Lil Nas X and most definitely about Adele. Then, one mixes in a lifetime of relationships and spices them up with strategy and, most especially, timing. Promotion departments are capable of maximizing less-than-adequate records and might occasionally not be able to bring hit records to their potential. But the obvious real win is to maximize the wonders of the hits that have that magic factor and enable them to reach as high as the sky. 

Today’s major-label promotion execs are experienced professionals who strive every day to reach the peak of their powers. They care deeply about their craft and live and die by their artists’ fates 24/7. They are used to being judged daily, and even from moment to moment, based on the technological marvel known as Mediabase Realtime. For those of you who are unaware of Realtime, let’s just call it a live, running scoreboard of every spin and chart placement a record is receiving and achieving in each and every format panel in which it is contending. Promotion execs on all levels are constantly on the watch for the slightest ebb and flow of spin counts at hundreds of reporting stations in the largest and smallest of reporting markets. The pressure is constant, and the kudos are few and far between. 

An email, text, tweet, Insta post or whatever congratulating them is always appreciated. This column is my recognition of Peter and his team, as well as all the stellar promo professionals performing this difficult task.
 

TOP 20: HOUSE
ON A HILL
Harry is popular. (5/26a)
SONG REVENUE: HIGHFLIERS
A combined 30 of 50 (5/26a)
NEAR TRUTHS:
SAFE KEEPING
What's the big deal? I.B. Bad has the answers. (5/26a)
STRINGER TOUTS SONY MUSIC TO SHAREHOLDERS
Rob lays out the company strategy (5/26a)
EVP STRIPES FOR UMe'S MURTHY
A total pro gets her due. We bow down. (5/26a)
SUPERSTAR RELEASES
Who's next?
MUSIC BIZ SPECIAL
It's Comic-Con for numbers geeks.
THE BIG CHEESE
Theories of evolution from 30,000 feet.
THE NEXT GIANT DEAL
A&R in overdrive.
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