Airplay 101 - Maximizing Your Billboard Airplay Charting, part 2 of 2
New for 2015: Now let's look at what you need to do, based upon the number of weekly listens you want, or the charting levels you are targeting. We'll use the same example chart from Part 1, but this time we have a saved copy so you can always refer to it. Let's start with the easier one, the Indicator chart, dated 9/26/15; look at the bottom of it here:
The lowest promotional charting level, is a "blip" charting attempt on this "Mainstream Top 40 Indicator Chart". With this, you are only trying to chart for one single week, at the bottom (that's why it's called a "blip", like a blip on a radar); you can then save the chart, print it out, and show it to others who you need to impress. And if you tell these people during the same week that you chart (or even better, the week before), they can use their own Billboard tracking (or they can buy their own tracking), and log in and see it for themselves, thereby eliminating any possibility that you are providing a fake chart or fake tracking to them like most promoters and streaming sites do.
In the above saved Indicator chart (issue date 9/26/2015), to get on the bottom of it, you need to do what "GREAT BIG WORLD" did: Get 494 plays in one week (number of listens in one week: 0.684 million = 684,000). In December, it might take 700 plays (maybe 1,000,000 listens) in one week to get the same chart position, and in January it might take 300 plays (maybe 200,000 listens) in one week to get the same chart position. Nevertheless, this example week in September it would be safer to target 600 plays because the entire chart moves up and down weekly, and you don't want to be bumped off. Note that "GREAT BIG WORLD" has been on this chart only 1 week, and may or may not be on it next week; but if you were them it would not matter, because you made your goal! A blip on the chart!
So to get the 600 plays in one week on this example saved Indicator chart, it would take 60 stations at 10 plays each (per week), or 10 stations at 60 plays each. Both of these are extremes; the better bet is to go for a scattering so that the total is 600; this could be something like:
10 stations at 10 plays each/wk, plus
10 stations at 30 plays each/wk, plus
4 stations at 50 plays each/wk
The build-up to this level will take maybe 6 weeks, so you start your setup a month before this. And even though you are only doing a low-level "blip" campaign, you might still sell stuff in the 4 markets where you are getting 50 plays a week, because the average listener there is hearing you 10 times a week or so. And you might also get some calls from venues in those four towns, because you'd probably be the only independent on those stations. But the real value of a "blip" campaign is to be able to prove to others that you are charting "with the majors", and you did it on your own! (And most important, anyone can buy their own Billboard password and log on that week, to see it for themselves and see that you are not faking it).
Next level up, beyond a "blip" campaign, you might want to try an upper 20 position on this Indicator chart. In this saved Indicator chart (issue date 9/26/2015), to get position #20, you need to do what "MACKLEMORE" did: Get 1807 plays in one week (number of listens in one week: 1.359 million). Note that this position #20 is greater than what "MACKLEMORE" had before; the previous position was #27. And, their number of weeks on this chart is: 2 weeks. That's a quick build-up, the result of a strong initial promotion.
So to get 1807 plays in one week on these Indicator chart-reporting stations, you might go for 180 stations at 10 plays each; or 20 stations at 90 plays each. But again these are extremes and not likely, especially because there are only about 70 total Indicator chart-reporting stations. What you actually should do is take them as they come, which as stated before will be a scattering, something like:
7 stations at 10 plays each/wk, plus
16 stations at 25 plays each/wk, plus
15 stations at 40 plays each/wk, plus
10 stations at 55 plays each/wk, plus
2 stations at 90 plays each/wk
Total: 1800 plays/week = 1,359,000 listens/week
The build-up to this level will take maybe 8 weeks, and your setup will need prep time, so add in another month before that. So you should plan on beginning 12 weeks in advance to make sure you get your peak charting when you want it. Also, most of your music and ticket sales will come from those markets playing 50+ plays a week, which in this example is 12 towns (good for a mini-tour). And those two stations playing you 90 times a week (meaning you are probably #1 most played on those stations) will probably sell more music and tickets than all the rest put together. You will almost certainly get contacted by many venues in those two towns, with bigger offers than you've seen yet, and probably also get contacted by the other ten markets playing 50+. The rest of the list, playing 10, 20 or 30 plays a week, is not really enough to be heard enough times by enough listeners per week to make anything happen. But those markets DO count towards your charting, because remember, these Billboard charts are ranked by PLAYS, not LISTENS. Well now, you've certainly gone beyond a "blip" !
Now let's get serious: Shoot for TOP 5 on this Indicator chart! In addition to the increased number of towns and listens, this is big-time for another reason: You can say you are near the "top of the chart". In this save Indicator chart example (issue date 9/26/15), to get position #5 you need to do what "ED SHEERAN" did: Get 3979 plays in one week (number of listens in one week: 2.828 million). Here's how that might happen:
5 stations at 15 plays each/wk, plus
7 stations at 25 plays each/wk, plus
10 stations at 40 plays each/wk, plus
21 stations at 55 plays each/wk, plus
15 stations at 65 plays each/wk, plus
10 stations at 75 plays each/wk, plus
5 stations at 90 plays each/wk
Total: 3980 plays/week = 2,828,000 listens/week
Most of your music and ticket sales, as stated above, will come from those markets playing 50+ plays a week, which in this example is 51 towns. Think about it: there are 51 towns that you are now a major name in the minds of those pop music lovers. This is now a nice-sized tour! Since you are now being talked about by at least 51 pop program directors, and who knows how many venues in these towns, and who knows how many other people that just see the chart, you will certainly get contacted by many venues, agencies, labels and what not. And this is all without even trying the harder Monitored Chart.
So decide and make proper plans for your marketing year; get the right people involved, and start getting those listens!
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