Eurovision 2014 Was Dazzling

ESC 2014 Arena

In pure pop terms, this was a remarkably good Eurovision Song Contest, but the staging still, well… upstaged nearly everyone. It was nothing short of phenomenal.  A huge tip of the hat to the Danes and the European Broadcasting Union for an excellent show, thanks in part to the most versatile video venue yet.

Now, I’m a techie, so I love the dazzle, and pop music is in my blood, so ESC is a double helping, but early on it became apparent that there’s a burnout factor with too much flash in a row. An order determined by random draw can put a string of acts that really use the video wall back to back.  The Common Linnets performance was a heartfelt, intimate performance of a great song, and by the time it came to their performance, third song from the end, the mostly static, black and white staging was beautifully simple by contrast. It made them stand out even more.

The video above is the complete playlist of the Finals performances from Eurovision’s YouTube channel. It starts with the best, the Common Linnets (despite what the voting said), so dropping the whole playlist here serves to also let you check out the performances (and the stage), if you missed it.

Oh, Conchita Wurst (the winner) won in total diva style by nailing her performance of The Best Bond Song Never Recorded, “Rise Like a Phoenix.” (Thx to Jon Steele for that perfect summation.) The novelty past, it is plummeting down the charts. The Linnets’ song “Calm after the Storm” peaked at #14, but is still in the top quarter of the charts.

Oh, in case you’d like to watch the entire telecast start to end to see how it ran, you can do that on the Eurovision Site.

The Whirled Hits RadioLab

This station is an experiment in world hit radio. When you’re dealing with “The Hits” you have a fairly rigid palette, but within that, an entire world of past and present hits offers a huge range of musical colors. Mixing them together is the domain of formatics, the core of radio programming.

There are so many ways to mix such a large palette that there’s no ‘right way’ to do it, so while we mix it up looking for a format that works consistently, discussion is welcome.

This is the place for it.

Kind of Like Musical Chairs


The main problem with trying to cover the hits of the entire world is time.  There’s so much music, and only so much time in a day.  And not only is there so much new music, there’s a whole world of classic hits, too.

There are a near-infinite number of ways to stack the same music, but what works best? What’s the right mix of regions, of new to old, and current to recurrent to classic? The best way to know is to try them out for a while, and as we roll through variants of the format, the sound is going to dance around the center on a regular basis. At its core, this is currently a world hits radio experiment.  But we’re happy for you to listen in.

In fact, join in.  The RadioLab is for discussions of the format of the station. For reference, the current variation will be listed in the Station Status to the left.

The Wizard of Whirled

WorldRadioMan_avatarStepping from behind the curtain for a moment, let me introduce myself. I’m Jeremy (WorldRadioMan online). I’ve been following the hits of the world ever since I could, and I’ve always believed it would be possible to do a cohesive radio show showcasing the hit music of the world.

On my fourth try the internet had matured enough for it to work.  For the past seven years I’ve been hammering the concept into shape on a weekly radio show, Whirled Hits, on Ozcat Radio in Vallejo (San Francisco Bay Area).

Whirled Hits, the streaming radio station, stems from my continued belief in the concept, and it’s gratifying to see the station slowly picking up an audience scattered around the world. In the past week we’ve had listeners tuned in for over an hour from Japan, Switzerland, Mexico City, Finland, Kansas, Cozumel, Seattle, Bulgaria, Chicago, Taiwan, Brazil and Germany. Oh, and here. It’s good to see it’s not just me.

While laying in the music and tinkering with the dynamics of the cloud automation, I’ve had to lay aside many aspects of the live radio show, but that’s temporary.  The music is why I’m doing this, so it’s the first priority.

Thanks for listening.

Chart Resources We Use

The thing that makes real-time music charting possible is instant communication, and the internet has given that to the people of the world for the first time in our history. We use that access to follow a lot of resources. Here’s a linked list of the principle charts we use. If you find something great, let us know.

(We’ve left out the various blogs and YouTube channels, download charts and the like—except as reflected in the major charts.  Suggestions are always welcome.)

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Eurovision Followups

It’s always interesting to see how the winners in pop song competitions do in the “real world” and Eurovision is no different. All in all, there’s no magic bullet in it, and winning doesn’t change national music tastes enough to make the winner a sure Euro-wide hit.

That said, Emmelie’s “Only Teardrops” has Major Hit written all over it, coming as it does from the same musical vein as other hot worldwide hits like Mumford & Sons and Of Monsters and Men.

September 1 update:

As of this date, “Only Teardrops” has spent 211 days on the European charts, spread over 17 different charts.

Eurovision 2013 is History

Long before the drawn-out voting reveal was finished in Malmö, Sweden, Denmark’s Emmelie de Forest had relegated the rest of the vote count to a decision on the runners-up, Ukrainian artist Zlata Ognevich and Azerbaijan’s Farid Mammadov, thanks to a buoyant performance of “Only Teardrops,” her upbeat and catchy winning song, which we’ve moved into our top rotation. It was perhaps given an unfair advantage by the luck of the draw—it fell in the midst of a long stretch of ballads, making it sparkle all the more—but the song really didn’t need the help.  Without the usual bloc voting by the Eastern Europeans, it would have been a rout.

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