Jason Mraz Listens To His Fans In Picking 'I'm Yours' As A Hit Single

from the not-the-muckety-mucks dept

We just wrote about the rather insane process by which major record labels go through to pick which songs will be the "single" they promote off of an album. We focused on all the "protections" the labels try to build in to keep the songs from leaking while the execs make this wise decision -- but there's a separate issue as well: why is it that these execs are really the best at picking the hit single? The folks behind the "New Rockstar Philosophy" book point us to an article talking about Jason Mraz's hit song "I'm Yours," which you've almost certainly heard unless you live on a deserted island (if not, it's on YouTube of course). It's pretty catchy -- but the key point raised by the link above is that Mraz apparently didn't keep the song hidden and locked up until some bright execs could figure out the hit single (though, yes, he's been on a major label for years...). The article notes that he performed the song live for audiences for years before putting it on an album, and it was the audience response that made him realize it was a perfect hit single:
"The song was really born into the crowd. ... I noticed almost an immediate response to it and people really celebrated in a different way during that song," he said in a phone interview. "And then by having those three years to jam to the song, it gave us the opportunity to do something simple, yet spirited" in the studio.
And the song is doing quite well. The whole point of the article is to note that the song has the longest ever run on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Apparently sales of the song weren't "hurt" by the fact that people could hear it long before it was chosen as a single. In fact, it seemed to do just fine. So why do execs try to lock up that decision making process so much?

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    Thomas (profile), Sep 2nd, 2009 @ 6:34pm

    No No No!!

    Lock it up! Control it! Control who hears it! And how! and when! And how much they pay for it! And how they can hear it! And for how long! And in what format! And how they can use it!(They can't!) And who they can share it with! (Nobody!) The song is property! Our property! We decide!! We decide what you want!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    Matt (profile), Sep 2nd, 2009 @ 6:36pm

    The most successful rock acts freely permit to record music and sell bootlegs of concerts. They rejoice in fans spreading word of mouth.

    Mraz is sort of the anti-KISS, no?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Jake, Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 2:15am

    I'm starting to think the whole concept of the 'single' is getting a little outdated, particularly since downloads have been included in at least some Top 40s; at least one local station around here just uses the Most Downloaded list from iTunes.

    Besides, only releasing one track as a single just leads to it being played over and over and over until everybody's heartily sick of it, and never wants to buy or listen to anything by that artist ever again.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 4:46am

    YAY! MY NAME IS MIKE AND I AM RIGHT! SUCK IT EVERYONE WHO DISAGREES WITH ME. Considering the fact that song is getting a ton of sync licenses it makes sense.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 5:15am

    Apparently I live on a deserted island.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Big Al, Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 5:43am

    Re: No No No!!

    I could just see the spittle spraying during that rant :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 6:11am

    I got the answer

    So why do execs try to lock up that decision making process so much?

    Maybe I am just being cynical but I am sure it is something along the lines of oppressing the artists that they claim to represent so that they can continue to extort as much money out of them as possible.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 6:29am

    Re: Re: No No No!!

    Similar rant from a month ago ....

    Link to it

    Does he think he will ever become a featured act with out us, following this path of foolishness!! Free doesnt work!! Nothing but our business model will ever exist!! we will black list him!! We will crush him and any that follow him!! we will never give him any of the money ASCAP or RIAA collect on his behalf! Who does this fool think he is bucking the trend .... we can have him arrested for "Felony Interferance in a Business Model" if he doesnt stop.....

    ....ROFLMFAO ....

    can you picture the random record execs viens in his neck and forehead standing out, red in the face, spitting, as he spews out that rant ....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    LostSailor (profile), Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 7:56am

    There's a Difference

    The article notes that he performed the song live for audiences for years before putting it on an album

    Just wanted to point out that there is a difference between performing a song for years in front of live audiences before recording it and releasing it free on the internet to gauge interest. Concert goers have, usually, paid to hear the song by buying a concert ticket.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    mertz, Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 11:39am

    why execs pms over decision making process

    because people in suits suck.

    i heard that i'm yours song before it was released as a single because jason was trying out new songs for a possible upcoming album. he would talk about this song, and fans would call up the radio station requesting it, to the beffudlement of the radio dj's. the only way we would be able to listen to this song and learn about it's progress was from jason himself, his website blog, attend shows, and youtube. yet still people went and supported him and bought the record despite the fact that they already knew all the words to this song. if something is good it will sell. prereleasing it shouldn't have that much impact on the bottom line. i mean although the song is as catchy as hell...who's to say it would have even made the new record or released as a single if jason mraz fans hadn't been supportive of him and his music.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Gene Cavanaugh, Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 11:48am

    Why lock up releases?

    As a former exec, I really can't understand why you can't understand.
    In any decision making process, if people know what you are doing, they can point out your mistakes or inabilities. They can make you look really bad by showing what you should do.
    If you keep the decision secret until it is released, that is all just "sour grapes", and you can, and should, ignore them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    Cody Jackson (profile), Sep 6th, 2009 @ 11:04pm


    You're not the only one. I haven't listened to radio for years, mostly since Clear Channel started buying nearly every station in America. I couldn't tell you anything about current music trends, except hip-hop is now so mainstream that it's disgusting.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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