Thursday, May 21, 2009

FootColumn: Part 4 in an analysis of past singles and what that could mean for this new album

“This Is Home”

“It’s a new day, it’s a new time.” Switchfoot had now become independent, and had also formed their own record label called lowercase people records. Jon Foreman was releasing solo EP’s and working with Credential Recordings to put them out mainly to, but not exclusively, the Christian scene.

But there was one thing that came along, rather unexpectedly, as the band was getting ready to spread its wings and fly into uncharted indie territory. Disney came calling, looking for a song to lead the soundtrack to their latest Narnia movie. Switchfoot submitted several songs, and what resulted was the pop rock anthem, “This Is Home,” which was chosen to be the lead single for the soundtrack of the movie.

At the time, it was said that Switchfoot’s management company, Red Light Management would be partnering with Disney’s Hollywood Records to promote the single to Triple-A radio formats. Hollywood Records had recently produced a monster mainstream smash hit, the Plain White T’s “Hey There Delilah.” They were also the label that were in charge of the Jonas Brothers’ record releases. They were no strangers to the mainstream radio biz.

But what happened next was utterly disappointing. The single flopped miserably, with very few stations even remotely showing interest in the single. Again, Switchfoot’s “foundation format” (as I like to call it), Modern Rock, showed absolutely no interest, and only three stations on the Hot AC format span it for any period of time. Top 40 didn’t even acknowledge its existence. This simply terrible effort from one of today’s largest, most successful record labels, is almost inexcusable. Disney did a terrible promotional job across the board for their Narnia film, and the movie itself flopped miserably both domestically and internationally. The single got another impact to radio later in the year, with Sony releasing it to Triple-A in anticipation of Switchfoot’s greatest hits record, The Best Yet. But we’ve all seen how pointless that all was.

In my opinion, this band deserves to be one of the biggest bands in the world. They have written some remarkable songs that would’ve propelled them to superstar status, or at least a recognizable name across the industry. Instead, poor label decisions and laziness have left them as a smaller, independent band – and it couldn’t have turned out better. The band is happier than ever in making music, and they’re able to do whatever they want, including releasing FOUR ALBUMS of material, one after the other. These are great times for the band, and I think they are entering a new period of even greater success than they have even achieved up to this point.

In the next segment, we’ll discuss what I personally hope happens with the next single and the album Hello Hurricane as a whole. Or maybe I should re-phrase that. We’ll discuss what I WOULD do if I was in charge at ATO Records/Red Light Management. Should be fun. ;)

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