Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” became a hit because of what seems to be a modern day version of payola. Instead of record companies paying a station to play their artist’s music, Clear Channel, the largest radio outlet in the country, required all of its stations to play her music.

According to the Washington Post, Clear Channel’s “On the Verge” program, is an initiative created to give artists greater exposure.  But how exactly are these artists chosen and by whom? Brand managers at Clear Channel select songs from different genres and have program directors vote on which songs they believe their listeners will enjoy the most.

I can only imagine the demographics behind the brand managers.

From Washington Post:

It all starts with the brand managers at the top of the Clear Channel chain, who listen to hundreds of songs and filter them down to about five or six favorites from various formats (top 40, urban, country, adult contemporary, etc.) and send those selections to program directors across the country.

From there, the program directors vote on which ones they think their listeners will like the most. “It’s purely a gut feeling what they think our listeners will react to,” Tom Poleman, Clear Channel Radio’s president for national programming platforms explained. That’s another thing that sets “On the Verge” apart, he added: “It’s really driven from our programmers and what they’re passionate about.”

After a song is chosen, the 840 stations ran by Clear Channel has to play the song at least 150 times! Iggy appeared “On the Verge” artist via “Fancy” on April 3. Shortly thereafter, her song has broken Billboard records, and then Forbes said she was running Hip-Hop.

Must be nice. You have to wonder if Clear Channel received any record label kickbacks?

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