Why The Official Radio Airplay Charts Only Matter If You Are a Major Label Artist

We are seeing a tendency where community, specialist and college radio stations play lots of independent and experimental music, while public national and large commercial stations, mainly play music by national and international major label artists.

So why is this?Is it because the major labels sign the best artists, who make the best and most popular music, or is it because of the very difficult process of getting added to rotation on the biggest national and commercial radios where the major labels have the golden key to get heard?

This is an important question, as these types of radio stations count the most when the national radio airplay charts are generated. But how is the weighing of a particular radio station counted on the chart? That’s hard to figure out, and the information is not necessarily available.

This is how the domination looks, according to the official IFPI radio airplay charts of week 3 - 2019, based on direct major releases as well as sub-label licenses (to the best of my knowledge), the domination looks like this.

What is the reason for having charts, and how do these national radio airplay charts assist the ecosystem in the music industry?

Charts are, in my opinion, an “achievement tool” that artists, managers, and labels can use to show what they have achieved, similar to an award or other great results. This again can be used as a “proof of concept” to markets, fans, record labels and promoters in other countries.

Unfortunately, based on the current structure of the national charts, these only help major artists or, maybe even more, the local major label executives who can use the “achievements” to deliver positive news back to their HQ’s and global offices.

Unfortunately, these charts do not help the ones who need them the most: the upcoming and emerging bands and record labels who do not get access to A rotation on the national and commercial radio stations.

We need a lot more varied and alternative charts from radios that can assist, in particular, the independent and upcoming communities of artists and record labels. This could be genre based charts, student/university charts, trending/emerging charts as well as charts covering bigger territories.

Why are we only looking at local radio airplay charts when music is instantly globally available? I believe it’s time to fundamentally rethink the way radio airplay charts are structured so they more accurately and fairly reflect the increasingly diverse and globalized nature of the music industry, so it’s not only showing international major hits, charting.

Jesper SkibsbyCEO & FounderWARM (World Airplay Radio Monitor)

Learn More About The Team