Russ' "New" Single & The Art of Working a Record

Sometimes the new big thing is not necessarily new at all.
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Sometimes the new big thing is not necessarily new at all.

February 27 is the urban radio "impact date" for Russ' "new" single "Losin Control".... which was originally released on November 9, 2015.

Confused? Allow me to explain further.

Later this month, Russ' label, Columbia Records, will push "Losing Control," the follow-up to his Gold-certified "What They Want," to urban radio stations across the country.

While "Losin Control" is certainly not new—to date, it has accumulated 13.8 million streams on SoundCloud, 26 million streams on Spotify and 15.8 million views on YouTube—when Russ signed a 50/50 profit split deal with Columbia in 2016, he knew then that with the label's resources and ability to work a record to radio, the single—much like "What They Want"—would have a great chance to "hit" with listeners not already familiar with his music.

"The second I partnered with them, I said, 'Take "What They Want" and "Losin Control" to radio because they're hits,'" Russ explained via e-mail. "While my fanbase has heard them, the radio audience hasn't."

Contrast that sentiment with someone like Young Thug, another artist known for prolific output.

Although both artists record and release an incredible amount of material—Russ has uploaded 27 new songs to his SoundCloud over the past 12 months, while Thug has released three retail projects over the same time period—you won't find Thugger going back to previously-released material in search of a potential hit record.

In fact, last year, after Thugger was chastised by former 300 head honcho Lyor Cohen for "recording so many songs and leaving them like orphans," instead of working records from his I'm Up or Slime Season 3 mixtapes, he opted to release a third full-length project (Jeffery).

"I didn't take songs to radio for my fan base because my fans already know the songs," Russ continued. "I took them to radio to reach new fans to get plaques for songs that I feel deserve the spotlight."

In 2017, during a day and age when the attention span of entertainment consumers is as short as its ever been, many artists are subscribing to a churn and burn release strategy, releasing song after song and project after project, never working backward and only looking forward to whatever they create next. 

While Russ has shown a propensity for unleashing new songs at a rapid pace, there is a method behind his madness. On top of writing, producing, mixing, mastering and engineering all of his own records, Russ is also his own A&R. Every time someone presses play, likes or reposts one of his songs on SoundCloud, he is able to collect free market research data to help him determine what songs have a greater likelihood of hitting on a larger, mainstream level.

As a result, when Columbia asks Russ, "What song should we push to radio next?" all the Atlanta native has to do is look at his SoundCloud analytics. (For those wondering, the stats say "Psycho Pt. 2" will be his next big record.)

It's easy for artists to forget or ignore well-received, previously-released material, often because records feel expired when they're directly tied to a sonic wave that has since crashed, but if they review and process the data that is at their disposal while aiming to manufacture records that are timeless, they'll learn it's never too late for an "old" record to be reborn as brand new.


By Z, who loves to argue with you on Twitter.

Photo Credit: Facebook