Anthony Hamilton’s “April Fool’s” Joke about Quitting Music Probably Not Funny for Other Frustrated Black Singers (video)


On April 1st, singer Anthony Hamilton announced he was leaving the music industry. Everything that he said in this video post (below) is the truth that we have heard from MANY artists about his frustration with the industry and limited exposure for new projects by seasoned artists. Everyone from Chrisette Michelle to Sylena Johnson responded, trying to encourage him.

I had several conversations with record industry people asking why he would have done an “April Fool’s” prank like that when so many Black artists are frustrated with their lack of airplay and attention from Radio stations.

While I could be wrong, I’d be willing to bet a quick-thinking member of Hamilton’s team convinced him to rescind that retirement statement because this is not the industry climate for an April Fool’s joke like this. It is like walking into your job, your only source of income in this economy, and quitting, then returning a couple of days later and saying it was an April Fool’s joke.

Hamilton announced over the weekend that he is retiring from the music industry. He stated, “The music game ain’t like it used to be, and I don’t love it anymore.” Nobody can argue that once you stop loving something you do, you should stop doing it and find something else, so KUDOS to him for that.

Initially, I thought from this perspective of working in the music industry that he was probably talking about how Radio has drastically changed and shifted over the last few years. Especially when he says he has a project that people don’t know about.

Radio Not What It Once Was

Black radio stations (especially) have very tight playlists and are determined only to play the hits as TSL (time spent listening) is paramount regarding ratings.

The most significant complaint and the peak frustration we consistently hear from pros who work records at radio stations around the country, primarily urban and black radio stations, is that many radio stations still use antiquated research to play records ON TOP of having super tight playlists. So only so many records, out of MANY, make the cut.

Why are Stations Still Using Antiquated Research?

The main complaint is that research doesn’t work anymore, and it’s usually people who are not from the black community doing the research, but Radio is married to this concept on the black side.

Many record professionals state that research has been dead for over 20 years. However, black radio stations are still married to using it as more and more advertisers head to more online concepts for point-and-click access and greater reach.

At one time, black radio stations were the cultural architect of the music industry by using their ears to hear a hit and then immediately putting it on the air. Those days are long gone, as well as the massive influence that Radio has had over the industry, with fans having a plethora of other options to hear new music like streaming, social media, and other outlets radio has nothing to do with.

Classic Artists Lost in the Shuffle

This means that an artist can come out with a song that can take forever to get played on the air. Still, for the song to chart, there must be some simultaneous effort from different radio stations playing the record around the country.

So this completely throws off the process again. Considering Hamilton also sings a lot of ballads. This can worsen the process as it takes much longer to develop a ballad.

These days the music industry is about hit records and quick records. Developing artists and albums are not usually on the agenda because the fans have short attention spans.
Long-game projects are not at the forefront of the industry anymore, so for an artist like Hamilton, that will profoundly affect him.

To make a “joke” like this when so many Black artists are struggling and wanting to get airplay but can’t get it is interesting, to say the least. Was he serious initially, with the added benefit of April 1st conveniently happening around the same time? To not answer the phone when friends expressed concern over his decision (as he states in the video) is also interesting. Whatever the case may be, we like Anthony Hamilton, and are glad he is not retiring, but if he were, we would certainly understand that too.

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