I write a lot of about this new single or that new single, and talk about the record label's strategy for using it, or MVY's reason to play it or not play it.
And I think, unintentionally, I present the single in the way that many people view it---as something picked by a corporation for maximum market value, to be forced upon radio stations and the listening public.
But the reality is, we don't have to use the single as the song we will play off any record. We could pick another tune. There are reasons to not do that, which is a thought for another post.
I did want to point out that choosing a single is often a more organic process that cynics may realize.
Take Vampire Weekend.
Their new record is the Number One album in the country, and their first single "Diane Young" is a Top Ten song on the chart that MVY reports to.
(You can see the chart here. Scroll down. MVY is part of the 2nd chart, called the "Triple A R&R/BDS Indicator Chart").
But we didn't play it, because, sonically, it wasn't a good fit for us.
There are somewhere around 50 stations on that chart, but only 37 are playing "Diane Young."
Some stations are probably the kind that would never play Vampire Weekend. And other stations are probably like MVY, who just found the first single to be a little hard-edged for what they do.
A handful of stations, now including MVY, are playing a different Vampire Weekend song, "Unbelievers."
Some are like MVY, who wanted to support the record, but not the single. Others were huge supporters of the first single, and have already played it so much that they didn't want to wait for a second single to keep going with the record.
Suddenly an organic groundswell of support appears for "Unbelievers," and the label takes notice.
Without having to pick it themselves, they can actually use this as a promotional pitch to other radio stations to encourage them to pick it up: "We didn't even put this out as a single. Stations just started playing it."
And so sometimes a second single is simply chosen by the people who are listening to the record.
Hear the song on Youtube.