Radio. It’s the one place where no matter how relevant or how big Strange Music becomes, everything still seems so foreign. A landscape where program director’s ultimately decide the fate of your single and whether or not you’ll see any success. That is assuming your record gets into their hands in the first place.
For well over a decade, Strange Music has survived with next to no radio airplay. The spins that Strange Music has received have been so far and few in between that it pretty much doesn’t even hit anyone’s radar.
In 2012 however, something has started to bubble over. Backed by brilliantly chosen production from Johnny Juliano, Stevie Stone’s “808 Bendin'” clobbered its way into listeners ears with deafening bass and a hook that can’t be denied. Add to that an animated verse from Strange Music’s general, Tech N9ne, and you have a lethal dose of music that makes for the perfect summer banger.
So what does any of this have to do with Strange Music and radio? Well, from the second Stevie Stone inked his deal with Strange Music, he’s been seen as one of the biggest opportunities to crossover into the urban market, something Tech N9ne knows Stevie Stone to be capable of:
“I think in the urban world, I’ve got high hopes for Stevie to really open that lane. Travis says we’ve been talking to other people and getting people on the team to work this album and I’m so excited because Stevie is a star.”
Stevie Stone’s appeal and ability to drop the heaviest bangers since DMX’s glory days place him in a unique position to achieve what even the Kansas City King hasn’t – conquer radio.
When Strange Music prepped Tech N9ne’s Absolute Power for national release, it spearheaded a radio campaign which saw Strange Music CEO Travis O’Guin dump millions of dollars of his own money into a venture that didn’t work nearly as great as expected. Since then, Strange Music’s approach to radio has been a cautious one and to this day, the independent label manages to stay on the incline without the help of program directors.
Still, there’s no denying the benefits and opportunities that radio brings and that’s exactly where Stevie Stone’s music seems to be finding a new audience. All across the country, fans are turning dials to stumble upon a familiar growl, “Bitch, I’m rollin’.” From local stations in Chicago to the heights of satellite radio, “808 Bendin'” has found a spot on playlists everywhere. Paired up with his recent placement on MTV2’s music video block, Stevie Stone is leading the way in what seems to be new ground for Strange Music.
There’s still much needed work when it comes to Strange Music’s breakthrough to the urban market, but with Stevie Stone, doors are opening. The question is, how far will it reach? Will Strange Music finally see the urban lane open up for all of its artists? Tech N9ne has yet to be completely embraced by that avenue, but Stevie Stone could be the answer and so the once restricted market of urban radio becomes a new tool for the label once thought to be too “different” for airplay.
Mainstream may have gone Tech N9ne, but radio is about to go Stevie Stone. Don’t touch that dial.
-Victor Sandoval, Assistant Blog Editor Strange Music