Today's spotlight falls on the second single from an album that arrived on March 2nd. The official video, and a new acoustic version, just came out last week. The fact it's a second single got me thinking...
Sometimes the first track - now, often, tracks - released from an album won't catch your attention. We in radio sometimes chide record companies for "picking the wrong first track" on an album project. But it's not an exact science, no matter how many metrics they bring in, with streaming spins, Shazams, shares, and such all now tabulated and collated and studied like numerical tea leaves - marketing magick attempting to predict listening. Doesn't always work. Surprise.
I love the inexactitude of music, its inability to be entirely accounted for by quantitative measurements. Sure, you can - and they do - research music. You can identify through auditorium testing what 200 old rock tunes you should play to keep 25 to 54 year old men listening to your classic rock radio station. For example. It's easy - and safe - to determine and play what people have liked.
Much harder to predict what people will like, in the future. That's the risk with new music, as seen from the bean counters' viewpoint - you can't test and predict consumer behavior toward the music product when it's new music - too many unknowns! Harumph! Once a tune starts spinning, you can gauge reaction, but how do you decide what to play in the first place? Can't really test for that. If you've ever wondered why more stations don't play more unknown or new music, that's why - the bean counters demand a mitigation of the risk - play safe songs that keep them listening.
But I digress... the reason I got into all of that in the first place was that I didn't "hear" the first track from Jonathan Wilson's new album Rare Birds. I mean, probably listened to it - try to check out as much new music as possible - but it didn't "stick" - didn't register. But the Laurel Canyon-meets-George Harrison-esque "There's A Light" grabbed me first listen! It has a deliberately positive message, and brings Light and hope for the future, even if the Light is only spotlights now, and not the brightness we might all desire. Check it out:
Do I know if you'll like this song? Heck no. But I know that I do, and I hear a certain something in it that makes me think others might, too. And that's how I pick new music to play - I listen for that certain something. What is that? Don't know. That is about as specific as I can get! Don't know how to define it, and I don't think I can or maybe should even try to... much as the bean counters might want it dissected, quantified and stickered with a price tag. Too bad for them.
Better for us!
And again, please let me know if you like these Spotlights - should I keep posting them? Please let me know. Thanks! - Mike