Sunday 7 September 2014 saw the launch of Dan P Carter's Radio 1 Rock Show in its new (and brilliantly positioned) Sunday night slot on BBC Radio 1. It's a big statement, and one that should be congratulated, from the most important media outlet for new music in the UK.
I talked a bit in my last piece for Huffington Post about fans of artists and that not all fans are alike. We fall into that trap sometimes. The trap of believing that all fans are the same and that a million of them is always great. It's not.
So, here's a question: What's worth more than a million people streaming your song? Answer: 100,000 people streaming your 12-track album.
We've got more data available now on fans' listening habits than ever before. In the pre-digital age we'd know if an artist was successful by how many records they sold. But what that didn't tell us was how many times that record was listened to. Did the person who bought it take it home, play it once and then move on or did they fall in love with that artist? The financial transaction was over at that point. The label, the artist and whoever else split up the $9.99 that the album was purchased for and that was that.
But, repeat listens is where the money's at now. The age of selling albums is coming to an end - the age of artists with highly engaged fanbases that stream songs and albums again-and-again is now.
You see streaming services like Spotify pay per play - and that begs the question of which group of fans play tracks and albums over and over again generating revenue every time they do? What genre of music has the most passionate fans?
The answer. Heavy metal.
And you may scoff. You may look at me like a madman. But you'd be wrong. The data exists. Paul Lamere from, the now Spotify owned, music intelligence platform The Echo Nest talks about the Passion Index as a musical metric. Paul was talking at Berlin Music Week this month about the Passion Index. The most passionate fans? Heavy metal.
It's a pretty simple equation. You take the number of music streams per artist and divide that by the number of individual listeners. The higher the resulting number, the more engaged that band's listeners are (because each fan is contributing more plays).
Depending on the specifics, a fanbase of 100,000 incredibly engaged fans is quite probably now worth more than 1 million who don't give much a cr*p. So, it's of the utmost importance that the top 20 on the Passion Index here contains no less than 13 'heavy' bands - thirteen! If you include Paramore and Brand New then that number becomes 15 of the top 20.
This passion for heavier music doesn't exist in a bubble on streaming services. It exists when a fan of heavy music is in a record store, or deciding which festivals to go to, when they're deciding whether to buy a band's t-shirt, and it exists when they're deciding whether to listen to the radio, and if so, to which show.
It's difficult to create a 'moment' at media these days. A destination-show on TV or radio that people make a beeline to tune into. For the most part we're grazers, we flit between radio stations and TV channels. Except sometimes we don't.
So, congratulations and hats off to Radio 1 and Dan P Carter. It was a bold move to take the Rock Show from late-night to prime-time but it seems to me to make all the sense in the world.Suggest a correction