US Radio’s Attempt To Destroy Madonna (Or How To Become Irrelevent)

The killer app on the internet has always been mp3s.

It’s the reason kids got on the net in the first place (napster) and it’s the quiet little engine that drives MySpace, TagWorld, and other social networks.

The music business adds to the bottomline of coffee sellers (Starbucks), movie makers and even clothing manufacturers.

It’s also the most corrupt business on the planet.

But this post is not about that.

It’s about Madonna.

And how US radio has tried to destroy her. Really.

Madonna is a superstar.

She has core fans around the world. She sells records. Millions of them.

Now here’s how US radio stations are supposed to work.

They play songs people want to hear and then make money by selling advertisements between the songs. That’s the deal in a nutshell.

They run tests on new songs, check requests, and also use record sales as their main guides. (There’s more, but it’s not important to this story.)

Madonna released an album late last year.

It has sold approximately 2 million copies here in the United States. (That kids, is a lot of CDs)

Now here’s how Billboard’s Hot 100 works. It’s a combination of radio airplay, digital sales and physical sales. Usually if you’re doing well in sales you are also going to do well in radio airplay.

Playing what people want to hear is radio’s job.

Madonna’s first single was “Hung Up”. A number one record around the world. In the US it was number one in sales. But peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 because radio wouldn’t play it.

Her second single was “Sorry”. Again, number one around the world. Number 1 in sales. But radio isn’t playing it.

…Since its release last November, “Confessions on a Dance Floor” has topped the charts in 29 countries and sold more than 8 million copies worldwide, according to Warner Bros. For the week ending July 15, the album’s third single, “Get Together,” had a radio audience of fewer than 1 million listeners in the United States (aggregate, based on market size and station share). Conversely, in the United Kingdom, where all three singles have been A-listed by BBC Radio 1, the single had 38.4 million listeners.

“Confessions” has been healthy at retail: It has moved 1.5 million copies, already double that of its predecessor, 2003’s “American Life,” which has sold 666,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan. File-sharing stats from BigChampagne and support from MTV’s “TRL” are also solid.

But radio won’t touch it.


Theories range from radio programmers thinking she’s irrelevant to her complaints against the Bush administration.

Fans are so upset in her hometown of Detroit (which doesn’t have one radio station that plays her records) that they are protesting.

I think maybe radio is irrelevant.

Explore posts in the same categories: Billboard, Bush Administration, Conspiracy Theories, corrupt, Detroit, DUMB, fans, irrelevent, Madonna, mp3s, new media, old media, protestors, radio

15 Comments on “US Radio’s Attempt To Destroy Madonna (Or How To Become Irrelevent)”

  1. Liz Strauss Says:

    I think you’re right about radio being or at least becoming irrelevant. I don’t get my music from them. No do I listen to their opinion. I’m my own (wo)man. They’re to inconsistent and biased. Also I can’t count on them to be there tomorrow. Every time I find a station that I get to like . . . soon enough it’s sold and has a new format.

    No thanks I make better music mixes myself anyway. Some websites and blogs are better listens. Take this one for instance.

  2. TerryC Says:

    The mainstream radio’s attempt to discredit the relevency of Madonna is obvious. It’s no secret that some of the ‘powers that be’ can’t stand her. But like a cockroach she emerges from the ashes of whatever music form is ‘happening’ at the moment.

    Just ask some of the Clear Channel executives what they think about Madonna.

  3. Aaron Weber Says:

    Alternately, she’s not willing to pay “independent promoters” (indies) to bribe radio stations to play her. Radio play is advertising for record sales; she sells enough records without it, so there’s no reason for her to buy radio time.

  4. Brian Says:

    If XM ends up imploding, I will cry.

  5. Brian,

    Hope you have a hanky. XM and Sirius will both go out of business. National Wi-FI will be the culprit.

  6. chartreuse Says:

    I like Sirrius but you have a point Loren. National Wi-Fi would kill radio.

  7. meettravis Says:

    ad cell phone carriers to that death list with National Wi-FI

  8. Brian Says:

    I think you’re right Loren. But content would still rock in that scenario, don’t you think?

  9. range Says:

    I used to DJ on a few radio stations.


    In the new arena, traditional radio and TV are becoming irrelevant.

    Even now, I listen only to CBC Radio One for discussions. Not music.

    Madonna is a world class superstar, and any media outlet denying this is kidding themselves. In Canada, I’m pretty sure she got a lot of air time.

  10. Brian
    The content always rocks. How it’s distributed is the question and the answer is it doesn’t matter what form distribution takes. Content will always be king.

  11. Brian Says:

    No, actually, I think it’s quite clear that Clear Channel distribution does NOT rock. But we agree on the future.

  12. I meant the type of distribution, not the companies behind them. Meaning Radio, TV, Web whatever.

  13. Rico Says:

    Im glad Madonna is not begging to get aired here! Cuzz around the world she still is ruling.. Thats how good she still is.. Clear Chanel knows it!! So how can we get rid of her ? Umm oh Lets not air her music.. Dam All this nasty plaid OUT hiP Hop. US needs DANCE MuSIC..

  14. Jason Says:

    Hung up was no1 for 15 weeks in the united world chart(and it would stay longer,but it came Sorry) and Sorry was 7weeks the best song in the world. During the second week of March 2006, in the united world chart Sorry was in no1 and Hung up in number 2 at the same time!! It’s the first time that somebody did this!!! Madonna is the music leader in the world!!!!!!!!!!

  15. collin Says:

    madonna i love you

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