Don Henley on radio

Mark Laurence
Sat Feb 21 14:36:49 EST 2004

Steve Ordinetz wrote:

> Is there a possibility that it really didn't fit? 

That was definitely the situation with the "Oh Brother Where Art Thou" album.  The movie helped bring it attention, and it won a big Grammy award in 2001.  That created a lot of extra sales, some from a curiosity factor, and some who really liked the bluegrass music in the movie.  But bluegrass didn't fit in any format that's commercially successful.

Did people suddenly embrace bluegrass music and start buying all kinds of banjo CD's?  Um, no.  Was there evidence that people wanted to have their favorite stations play bluegrass in the middle of the other hits?  I'm sure some songs from "Oh Brother" got into a music test, but the audience didn't respond favorably.

A CD can become number one with a few hundred thousand buyers around the country.  But a successful major market radio station has to please a cume of around a half million people in one city, every week.  That's why album sales are only a small part of the research that goes into discovering what music people want to hear.  

If there was a big outcry for bluegrass music, don't you think radio stations from coast to coast would start playing it?  Clear Channel and Infinity would join in just as fast as the smaller owners.  There's no conspiracy, except to win ratings and make money.

Mark Laurence

More information about the Boston-Radio-Interest mailing list