Top 40 radio programmers are in for some tough choices this week when it comes to adding records to their playlists, as Selena Gomez, ex-Fifth Harmony member Camila Cabello, Katy Perry, Liam Payne, Iggy Azalea, and Kygo all have new singles hitting virtually at the same time.
In the center of the action are Gomez and Cabello, seemingly going head-to-head for the same demographic with their latest, interpolation-laced singles, “Bad Liar,” and “Crying in the Club,” respectively. Both songs go for radio adds on May 19.
“It’s probably not the ideal scenario, but I believe the appetite for both is high,” says Erik Bradley, longtime MD for CBS Radio WBBM (B96) in Chicago, who also consults for Top 40 stations in Dallas and Detroit. Bradley insists he’ll be adding both.
The two will go also contend with “Swish Swish,” the third release from Katy Perry’s upcoming album “Witness” – after the soft showing of “Bon Appetite” — featuring Nicki Minaj; Iggy Azalea’s similarly titled “Switch,” touted as the “official release” from her upcoming album following the desultory debut of “Mo Bounce.” In addition, there are new entries from One Direction’s Liam Payne and Kygo, following up “It Ain’t Me,” his hit duet/single with Selena Gomez, with a new track, “First Time,” featuring Ellie Goulding — all of which might point to Spotify as the ultimate winner, thanks to its all-encompassing New Music Friday playlist.
Still, it is the face-off between Gomez and Cabello that has captured people’s attention, as both are following up big hits. Cabello, who famously left Fifth Harmony last December, has already chalked up a pair of successes in “Bad Things,” her collaboration with Machine Gun Kelly, and “Hey Me,” her Pitbull pairing from “The Fate of the Furious” soundtrack. Some 50 stations have already committed to adding “Crying in the Club,” according to Cabello’s label, Epic Records.
“This is going to be a big look for her,” says Bradley, who has booked Cabello on the B96 Summer Jam on June 24. “This song is an incredible lead choice for Camila.”
Cabello is expected to perform the song during her appearance on this Sunday’s Billboard Music Awards from Las Vegas, televised on ABC.
Ironically, both Gomez’s “Bad Liar” and Cabello’s “Crying in the Club” take off from existing songs. The former, written by frequent Gomez collaborators Justin Tranter and Julia Michaels, uses Tina Weymouth’s bass hook from the Talking Heads’ 1977 “Psycho Killer” as its foundation, while the latter riffs off the pre-chorus to Christina Aguilera’s “Genie in a Bottle,” with that song’s Pamela Sheyne, David Frank and Steve Kipner getting writing credits along with the song’s author, Sia, producer Benny Blanco and track contributors Cashmere Cat and Happy Perez.
“It’s going to be pretty intense,” adds Bradley about the competition for airplay on this week’s releases. “There’s going to be a lot coming in the next 24 hours. I can tell you, we’re going to happily add both of them. We have to, from a pop radio perspective. Those are diamonds for us, A-list superstars we have to be a part of. They have earned that respect and the right to be considered automatics.”