Genre Fatigue

by Peter Don and Andy Beaubien, BPR


Are your listeners experiencing “genre fatigue”?  What is it? Pop music goes in cycles.  As a new style enters the mainstream it soon becomes over supplied, over represented and over saturated on radio and other media. Too many artists with similar sounding songs leave listeners tired and bored. This leads to the common complaint of lack of music variety.  We see this phenomenon in several ways…

  • Songs test with low passion … relatively few pop-based montages produce more than 20% “like a lot” scores …  the music is still ‘liked’ but do listeners choose their station simply because they like the songs that they hear?


  • The exception in the current pop environment is pop-based dance music … this has broad female appeal across most age groups and is one of the few pop-based styles with male appeal…. an interesting side effect of this is that the few pop- rock songs that make it through to the mainstream continue to test well and become durable hits.


  • Genre fatigue is a symptom of over supply and the desire to follow the current trend … while individual songs test well the audience as a whole complains the songs “sound the same…”



  • Examine a typical hour of your music scheduler and ask yourself if too many of the songs sound similar. Individual songs may test very well but the collective effect of hearing too many of them in a short period may have a negative effect on your audience.


  • Highlight songs that introduce an element of variety in your program. The sense of variety comes in many different forms.  Avoid too many titles in a row by male or female artists.  When possible allow for variation in tempo and energy level.


  • Do not be afraid to move a current hit to a lower rotation category such as “hot recurrent” even if the song is still testing very well after months of airplay.


  • When a style or trend appears to have reached a saturation point, look for the next trend that may be just starting to emerge. It may be found in a single song.


  • Highlight trendy songs before they become ubiquitous and can be heard everywhere in your market. The station that introduces a new trend or hit will often get the credit for having brought it to the listener’s attention.



Join the discussion