Sardar traveled to the Dane County Fair to perform for radio station WJQM 93.1 FM with Chiddy Bang. While in Madison, we were told by the radio station that in terms of their research for this song, he consistently tested well (always in the 4 or 5 out of 5 range) with listeners. They do their research via text. This is especially encouraging because Party Life is VERY pop and this is a rhythmic station, not a pop station, AND they have only spun it 60 or 70 times to date. Usually a record needs to spin at least 100 times for research to be effective.
Sardar “Party Life”
Top 40 Update - Week 7/16
Mediabase Top 40 Pop Chart: 82*
Mediabase “All Stations U.S” Pop Chart: 80*
BDS Top 40 Pop Chart: 105*
Mediabase Top 40 Pop Independent Label/Artist: #6
New This Week
KHHM/Sacramento, CA Mediabase/RR Top 40
KHTH/Santa Rosa, CA Mediabase/RR Top 40
KHTE/Little Rock, AR Mediabase/RR Top 40
KZBD/Spokane, WA Mediabase/RR Top 40
WXYK/Biloxi, MS Mediabase/RR Top 40
New Spins This Week
Pop Stations On/To Date
KVLY/McAllen, TX Mediabase/RR Top 40
KFRH/Las Vegas, NV Mediabase/RR Top 40
KREV/San Francisco, CA Mediabase/RR Top 40
KKPN/Corpus Christi, TX Mediabase/RR Top 40
KRCK/Palm Springs, CA Mediabase Top 40
KLJT/Tyler, TX Mediabase Top 40
WAYV/Atlantic City, NJ Mediabase/RR Top 40
KSAS/Boise, ID Mediabase/RR Top 40
Pop Features/Syndicated/Mix (To Date)
MTV Radio Network/Buzzworthy Song
WHTS/Grand Rapids, MI
WHTS/Grand Rapids, MI
KLAL/Little Rock, AR
KLTG/Corpus Christi, TX (HAC)
KKPN/Corpus Christi, TX
The Rough Draft of The Video For Party Life
Two monumental things happened two weeks ago….we switched (naturally) from Rhythmic radio to pop radio, and we shot the video for Party Life in Los Angeles.
We entered the Top 40 charts at #123, immediately got 13 adds in those two weeks, and are now at #82 on the Top 40 Media Base Chart. As an indie, we are hugely proud of our radio team. We have 2 indie radio promoters quarterbacking the project together, and about 7 indies from around the country participating in securing spins.
Yesterday, Sardar traveled to Madison, WI to perform at the Dane County Fair. Very exciting!! On his way, he passed through Chicago and spent some time at B96 and hung out with the JumpSmokers who did the remix for Party Life that’s getting so much love in Chicago.
We’re watching our social media numbers slowly increase and are very excited that everything is coming together so nicely. It hasn’t been smooth, as we’ve had staffing issues, personality issues, egos and more contributing to our project….but it has been moving along nicely and I’m proud of our entire team!
I parked the single, the remix, and the ringtone on iTunes back in February. I was really just waiting til we decided on a release date, and then we’d begin driving fans to the site to download Sardar’s singles.
But the darnedest thing happened!! People began to seek out the song and download it. It’s less than 1,000, but the point is that it’s fans SEEKING out the song. We didn’t tell anyone it was there yet, nor do we have a link to the iTunes page anywhere yet (except possibly here on this site, and you know you industry folks ain’t buying shit).
Anyway, I ranked the sales by zipcode and plotted them on a map. I then put circles around the stations where we are getting radio play. Almost every sale fell into a radio marketplace. What this means is that fans are hearing the song and then buying the single. And THAT is why we do what we do…
We haven’t shot the video for Party Life yet, so we need more images of Sardar out there with the music. His designer has such a great sense of humor and has been creating Memes for Sardar for weeks now (they are archived on his Facebook page, which is Facebook.com/ItsSardar). So last night, I made a quick YouTube montage for the radio guys so they’d have a slide show of the Memes to the JumpSmoker’s Remix. Upon uploading, I also noticed some folks had also made their own montages for the song….coooool….
Someone asked me to elaborate on radio, so I will attempt to do that here. The thing about being an independent record label, is that today you are competing with major labels in every respect at radio. That’s especially difficult because the majors have deeper pockets and they have more records to offer on a regular basis.
Looking at this from the perspective of a radio station, if you are going to add a record into rotation at your station, do you do so for an independent label where it may just be a one time project? Or do you do so for a major label with multiple releases every month that offers income to your station on a regular basis?
This industry is based on relationships. In fact, it’s all about relationships. So if you, as a radio program director, have a relationship with someone in the radio promotion department of a major label, you are going to want to play their record before you play the record brought to you by a stranger or even someone you don’t do business with regularly. So even if you don’t factor in the deeper pocket issue, you can’t ignore the importance of relationships and repeat business.
Radio stations exist to play music. Their goal is to attract listeners because listeners bring in ad revenue. The more listeners a radio station has, the more money they can charge for their commercials. Commercial revenue is the basis of existence for any radio station. Therefore, all they care about is keeping the listeners tuned in and happy. The way to keep listeners tuned in and happy is to play music that they like and that is familiar to their ears.
And then along comes an indie label and they want the radio station to play their unknown artist and they want to compete with the major labels. So when the radio station only has just a few slots available to fill, they are looking to play Drake or Jay Z or Rihanna or Usher, not an unknown independent artist that could risk a listener changing the radio station. A known and established artist is a better risk, even against a catchy unknown song.
So with Sardar, we are asking radio stations to not only play an artist they’ve never heard of before, but we’re asking them to believe in Party Life the way that we do and to take away a slot from an established artist like Usher or like Rihanna, and give it to our unknown artist. We are asking an awful lot. And we’re doing so with less money to offer, less of a track record, less of a relationship, and a weaker connection. This is why it’s so difficult for an independent record label to compete with a major record label at radio. We REALLY have to stand out far more than an established artist, in order to succeed.
We’re beginning to feel, and see, people embrace Party Life. A few radio stations are seeing a response at social media and are getting natural requests for the song. The Facebook “likes” are growing. Sales are increasing at iTunes, and we have nothing currently driving fans to buy the record—they are seeking out the download on their own.
We e-blasted the song to a few thousand DJs in both the original form and the JumpSmoker’s remix. I chose legitimate, time-proven eblast services. The remix is spreading as fast as the original song, which is nice. I’m starting to get calls about Sardar. I set up a Cali cell phone (310 area code) just for this project so I could track who was calling about him versus who was calling because they know me. I feel a bit like a d boy carrying multiple phones, but it’s worth the effort.
We had to work this record backwards. Normally, I’d hit clubs and streets for 4 to 6 months and then go for radio when the song was buzzing and radio DJs began to ask for it. Because of the investor and our situation, I didn’t have that luxury. If I couldn’t show movement at radio immediately, we’d have lost our funding. So I went for radio and clubs and streets simultaneously. I’m no stranger to hard work and being the underdog. And neither is my team. We have such a strong and dedicated team, all working together to build Sardar’s success. I just need to tweak it a tiny little bit…
Because Sardar is unknown and we don’t have a famous feature on this record, it’s been extra hard to break, but it’s starting to gain some movement on its own now. It’s gratifying. But it’s still a lot of hurry up and wait—part of me wishes I could just go to sleep now and wake up in about 2 months. hahahhahahahaha
Pop music is fun.
It’s a comfortable mix of new techniques (internet, non-traditional marketing and promotion, social networking) and traditional (building it at clubs, focusing on radio in smaller markets and building it to bigger markets once it has legs). The best part, for me, is that I have the skills and connections but the people are somewhat new to me.
In rap, many of the radio guys and promoters all want to take meetings at strip clubs—their goal is to game the indie label out of drinks and an order of chicken wings because their vision is short term rather than long term. It’s less professional in the rap world. I do a lot of waiting on late folks to show up, and it’s all about what’s in it for THEM at the end of the day….and they are obvious about that. The pop world is far more professional, and it’s about building talent and breaking records, the way rap was back in the late 80s and 90s.
Now I get to take meetings in office buildings with folks who have staffs and actual business work schedules… it’s very refreshing. Yep, pop music is a whole other world.
Clubs matter. Streets matter. Malls and kids matter. College campuses matter. And radio still matters. Additionally, image matters. Videos matter. Style and charisma matter. Kids reactions matter. Opinion matters. Social media and interaction matters. Building fans one by one matters. Fan absorption and participation matter. In fact, more than anything…
Word of mouth builds success. Your job is to offer enough ammunition to get folks talking about your artist.