Where'd Snoop go?
February 21, 2011 5:40 PM   Subscribe

Why do radio station eventually stop playing versions of songs that feature two singers in favor of those that feature only one?

So I might be imagining this, but it applies to a few songs that were initially released in a form that had one primary artist with another singer credited as "featuring so and so." Specifically, I'm thinking of songs like Katy Perry's "California Gurls." When I first heard it on the radio, I usually heard the version with Snoop Dogg; now, it's always just Katy Perry. I remember thinking that this had happened with a few other songs, although I can't remember what songs they were right now.

Is there a reason radio stations might make this switch? Does it cost less for some reason?
posted by Bulgaroktonos to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Well, having Snoop on CG made it more attractive - edgy, hip hop, more adult perhaps. Siince the initial launch, the song has now worked its way into a hot and no longer needs Snoop on it. Let's also assume the Snoop version is longer, thus taking up airtime. Also Katy and her peeps probably don't have to give Snoop a cut when the non-Snoop version plays, so her management/record company probably worked a deal that the Katy only version would be played after a certain point.
posted by k8t at 5:46 PM on February 21, 2011

Hot is hit
posted by k8t at 5:47 PM on February 21, 2011

Also, time. The snoop version is longer because his part is in the middle. People want more of the new pop music, so any way to squeeze one more song in there happens. That part gets cut for the sake of other music.
posted by deezil at 5:52 PM on February 21, 2011

In this case, California Gurls isn't Katy Perry's newest single anymore and pop radio stations probably want to give the most time to the newest songs. As they get older, these songs become filler in between the newest songs that people haven't heard quite as often. At this point, the fourth single from Teenage Dream has been released, so California Gurls is a relic of summer 2010 :).
posted by MadamM at 6:03 PM on February 21, 2011

It gets cut for time and there is also another reason and, well. I would like to be absolutely up front about this: I don't agree with this decision and I don't love what it says about our country, I am only reporting the logic that goes into it. With that said...

It depends what station you hear it on. Now and again there'll be a song which stands a decent chance of crossing over into other demos - a good example is Waterfalls, by TLC.

Even when it was the biggest single going, if you listened to it on the right (or wrong, perhaps) radio station - the sort of station you might hear in the waiting room for your dentist - Left Eye's rap at the end would be cut out.

Unfortunately there is a decent-sized part of some demographics which will not listen to rap and in fact will get quite upset if it's played.

Just saying.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 6:08 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's mostly for time. As a song goes from being "fresh" to being a new classic, the station wants to get "credit" with the listener for having played the song. But if you can cram in two 3 minute songs instead of one 6 minute song, the station sounds more dynamic. "Hey, I just heard two songs relevant to my life! Yay!" Instead of "Jeez, this song does go on forever, doesn't it?" The market for listeners' ears in these new PeopleMeter times is cutthroat.

I have no idea if this is done or not, but it might come from the artist- I can see where an artist might put out the word that they prefer one version over another for marketing reasons.
posted by gjc at 7:52 PM on February 21, 2011

famous monster is right, 92.3 (FRESHSTALE!) and LiteFM in the NYC area both play the hits but always remove the rap verse. the demo they go for is white women in minivans w/ kids, and waiting rooms; places that don't want aggressive rapping to be heard.
posted by Mach5 at 8:44 PM on February 21, 2011

Unfortunately there is a decent-sized part of some demographics which will not listen to rap and in fact will get quite upset if it's played.

I remember this happening on certain radio stations years ago, particularly with the Moulin Rouge version of Lady Marmalade. It was a pop hit, but had that rap verse in the middle, and the "No rap, no metal!" station would always play the version without the rap. I noticed the same thing with TLC's Waterfalls.
posted by lexicakes at 8:57 PM on February 21, 2011

theres a good wikipedia article on radio edits. not sure how things work now, but a few years back a CD single in some genres would have lots of versions+remixes, when it was popular, some DJs would play other versions (maybe just to preserve their sanity, since they were playing a metric ton of the song), and as soon as it wasn't new anymore, they would just default to playing the vanilla radio edit of the song, I assumed they just didn't keep those singles around and consolidated things.

i seem to recall a few stories of non-radio edits ending up the default versions of songs, but it seems impossible to google for, there are a whole lot of completely different song B sides that became hits, especially during the 7-inch era.
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 7:23 AM on February 22, 2011

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