Spins vs. Adds

In Best Practices, Know This, Music, Music Business, Musician, nashville, Networking, Songwriting, You HAVE to on December 15, 2009 at 5:00 am

What better day than a Tuesday to throw some industry definitions and “know-how” your way…

Spin(s):  the number of times that a song is played on the radio.  If you are currently hearing a song on the radio, that is a Spin that would count for the stats.

Adds:  When a song goes for adds, basically it means it is being “officially” released for stations to add the song.  The promo CD is usually sent out a little before or around the adds date as well.  Also, just because a station spins a song doesn’t mean it’s been added, it has to be added to their playlist and spun regularly throughout the week, not just one or two spins here and there.  Adds dates don’t really affect major artists since their music is bound to take off anyways, but an adds date possibly gives it a little boost, reminding programmers that a song is going for adds that week.

Spins and adds are both independent of each other yet fundamentally dependent on the other.  Songs can have spins but they won’t be counted or major until the “added” date that pushes them into the category of officially “spin-able”.  The timeline goes like this –

unofficial spin… adds… press/hype… official spin…

start counting your way to the top of the charts!

Here are the ADDS and Spins for last week.  You will notice both male and female artists, multiple record labels, and jumps in numbers.  For example Carrie Underwood officially added Temporary Home this week.  It will not have made it’s climb up the Top 40 chart yet based off of its number of spins because it is new.  Most people are only releasing one song at a time – so their song will be on one chart or the other – new (adds) or climbing (spins).

Mediabase ADDS (week of 12/7)

CARRIE UNDERWOOD/Temporary Home (19/Arista) 31
KEITH URBAN/Til Summer Comes Around (Capitol) 21
ZAC BROWN BAND/Highway 20 Ride (Atlantic/Home Grown/Bigger Picture) 16
LOVE AND THEFT/Dancing In Circles (Carolwood/Lyric Street) 14
BLAKE SHELTON w/TRACE ADKINS/Hillbilly Bone (Warner Bros.) 9
CHRIS YOUNG/The Man I Want To Be (RCA) 8
CLAY WALKER/She Won’t Be Lonely Long (Curb) 8
JOE NICHOLS/Gimmie That Girl (Universal South) 8
MONTGOMERY GENTRY/Oughta Be More Songs About… (Columbia) 8
BAND PERRY/Hip To My Heart (Republic Nashville) 8
ALAN JACKSON/It’s Just That Way (Arista) 7
BRAD PAISLEY/American Saturday Night (Arista) 7
ERIC CHURCH/Hell On The Heart (Capitol) 7
GLORIANA/How Far Do You Wanna Go? (Emblem/Warner Bros./Bigger Picture) 7
JONATHAN SINGLETON & THE GROVE/Look Who’s Back In Love (Universal South) 7
RODNEY CARRINGTON/Camoflage And Christmas Lights (Capitol) 7
TOBY KEITH/Cryin’ For Me (Wayman’s Song) (Show Dog) 7
COUNTRY (see full list and hear samples, click country)                                                TW = This week;  LW = Last week
TW LW ARTIST Song Title Record Label Radio SPINS
1 1 LADY ANTEBELLUM Need You Now Capitol Nashville 5310
2 LUKE BRYAN Do I Capitol Nashville 5203
3 REBA Consider Me Gone Starstruck/Valory 5006
5 CRAIG MORGAN Bonfire BNA 4488
7 DIERKS BENTLEY I Wanna Make You Close Your… Capitol Nashville 4031
9 DAVID NAIL Red Light MCA 3885
7 6 TAYLOR SWIFT Fifteen Big Machine/Uni Republic 3605
10 TIM MCGRAW Southern Voice Curb 3436
11 MIRANDA LAMBERT White Liar Columbia Nashville 3385
12 DARIUS RUCKER History In The Making Capitol Nashville 3138

Whether you are a songwriter, artist, publicist, publisher, producer, musician, or record executive – these charts share insights that are worth analyzing.  Here are just a few examples of how these charts can deepen the knowledge and performance of a music industry professional.

Songwriters need to stay in touch with current hooks and popular songs.  If you wrote a song called “White Liar” and think it is amazing but no one is picking up on it – it might just be because Miranda Lambert is hitting the radio strong with a song just like it right now.

All these terms and charts seem to make a career in music way too complicated. Don't worry - over time, you will grow to understand what information to take in and what it means to your musical path.

Artists benefit from this chart because they don’t have to reinvent the wheel.  They can study the numbers of adds vs. spins and take into consideration how what type of radio/live tour, press, or tv spots the artists do to push their song up the charts.

Producers can tune in with current sounds.  They can keep an ear to the radio dial while still making their music sound innovative.  When working with artists – a bad production of a good song and even a great singer could make or break them.  A producer needs to watch the spins and adds to stay relevant.

For casual listeners and even die-hard fans – spins, adds, who cares.  But for people in the music industry actions, numbers, and charts matter.  You can track rises and falls, look for causes, reactions, buzz, etc…  Adds make spins official and chart-able; spins equal exposure; exposure drives sales; sales lead to happy artists and record labels.  It is always good to know which people are driving the town you want to drive in, what songwriters are cranking out the hits, and even how much money is going into the recipe for success.

As you follow the charts, you begin to see trends of the average time spent on a list, what songs are successful, what times of year do you promote the slow songs, when do you release so there isn’t too much competition.  Although music by nature is a free, poetic entity – the business of music is calculated and analytical.  Charts and lists don’t have the why or who, but the who and what paint a numeric picture that is easier to pull quantifiable data from.

What do these charts say to you?  Share your thoughts here!
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