Thursday, November 14, 2013

Amos Lee "Chill In The Air"

Every year around this time, I complain/note that record releases slow down.

Years ago, this would mean that the labels would effectively shut down for the couple of weeks around Christmas.

As the Christmas-sprawl spread earlier and earlier into the season (instead of just being the week or two before Christmas), so did the spread of Christmas music taking over the airwaves.  It got harder to get a new record going after Thanksgiving.  So the labels pretty much stopped releasing things then.

November became a place where only "safe" releases would be put out.  "Best Of" albums, or records by artists so famous that the record didn't have to win over a listening audience because it would sell on name alone.

Now the Christmas season pretty much starts the day after Thanksgiving, so releasing anything in November, even marquee-act records, is pretty much a mistake.  Paul Simon's new boxed set came out in October, for instance.

This movement has made the MVY playlist (and I'm sure this is true at other stations) hard to manage.  Normally, songs run their course, and there are new songs to replace them.  But in recent years, as tracks have burnt out in December or early January, there have been slim pickings in terms of new songs to replace the old ones.

In recent years, indie labels have had some success by releasing strong records in this gap.  So last year there were a few new great albums from artists like Calexico, Bettye Lavette and David Wax to help us in the "off"-season.

This year, whether by luck or by strategy, November and December and into January should go a little more smoothly.

A number of really strong albums were released at the end of the summer, timed in such a way that the first single is peaking now, and the second single is ready to roll out.

Much easier than trying to bring attention to a new release, the folks who promote records are able to pick up the phone, call guys like me and say "The first Paul McCartney single had a great run on your station.  Are you ready to switch tracks to 'Queenie Eye'?"

Other recent adds include second single from Frank Turner and Valerie June and third singles from The Lone Bellow and Bonnie Raitt.

When we got this new Amos Lee song in, I didn't have to think too hard about it.  We'd already been listening to the album, I had heard the song a number of times already, the record had already been well received by critics and by our audience.  So it's an easy add, and a strong song that can help anchor the station's playlist through until new releases start picking up again in mid-January.

Hear the song on Youtube.

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