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Why Radio Can’t Accommodate Today’s Hit Music


Historically, traditional music radio didn’t worry about how to manage multiple songs by hot artists. The record companies would release a single, if the stations’ programming directors thought those songs were hits, they’d play them until that song ran through its popularity lifecycle; then the record company would release the artist’s next single. It was a comfortable process – one that followed a process and it worked.

On-demand streaming has changed all that.

My company, Bridge Ratings Media Research, has been providing on-demand streaming data to radio stations, internet radio and record labels for over four years. During that time we’ve learned much about music consumption and how radio can properly reflect audience tastes.

After an analysis of four major radio formats (Top 40, Country, Urban, Rock) in 143 markets, it is clear that radio is not reflecting the streaming consumption patterns of its listeners.

But when labels and/or artists drop multiple tracks within a short period of time, radio struggles to properly expose that music to keep up with the audience consumption of those songs.

Drake, Taylor Swift, Big Sean, Kendrick Lamar, Imagine Dragons, Thomas Rhett and many other artists have several songs from new releases all over our streaming charts.

And radio can’t manage the volume.

As of the writing of this article, Taylor Swift released two songs from her forthcoming November 2017 release, “Reputation”.  “…Ready for It?” and “Look What You Made Me Do” were released within a week of each other and they are already ranked #1 and #2 on our Top 40 and Adult Contemporary streaming charts. When the full album is released in November, multiple tracks will fill the top chart positions on multiple charts. This information reflects actual listener consumption.

Meanwhile, radio’s antiquated exposure systems cannot accommodate such overload.



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