Weigh In: Did ‘Clear Channel’ Radio Deal Turn Iggy Azalea Into A Star?

Published: Thursday 17th Jul 2014 by David


So you’re in your car listening to your favourite station and a cut you’ve never heard before comes on.

You’re not sure how you feel about it at first, but throughout your journey the same cut comes on over and over and over again.

Before you know it you’re singing along to lyrics with the wind in your hair and its infectious melody seared in your brain.

A familiar scene? It is? Ok, now take that scene and multiply by say…a million. A million people listening to the same cut on a few hundred stations over and over and over again. 

The end result? A smash hit single and a barrage of accolades thrown at the artist behind it.

“I had no idea it’d do so well!”

Unfortunately, said accolades soon lose their sheen when the truth behind the song’s success emerges.

Why Iggy Azalea‘s ‘Fancy’ has now been placed under scrutiny?

Find out below…

In an article named “Clear Channel’s ‘On the Verge’ program helped make Iggy Azalea a star”, ‘The Washington Post‘s Emily Yahr explains:

While companies frequently invent ways to spotlight rising stars (MTV resurrected “Total Request Live” just to plug Ariana Grande’s new album), Clear Channel has made a particularly striking move, taking advantage of its massive audience to promote new singers. When an artist’s song is named “On the Verge,” all of the company’s radio stations are required to play that song at least 150 times.

Given Clear Channel’s huge listener base — 840 stations, about 245 million listeners per month — it becomes increasingly likely that the song will catch on, particularly with those repeated plays. That type of success can have a huge impact on an artist’s career, not to mention the music charts.


Just look at Katy Tiz. The British pop singer wasn’t even signed to a labelwhen she was named an “On the Verge” artist in April. Then her new song “The Big Bang” soared on to the Mainstream Top 40; she soon landed a deal with Atlantic Records. Back in February, country crooner Craig Campbell’s single “Keep Them Kisses Comin’” was about to fall off the charts. A couple weeks on “On the Verge,” and it shot upwards, eventually cracking the Top 10.

 It all starts with the brand managers at the top of the Clear Channel chain, who listen to hundreds of songs and filter them down to about five or six favorites from various formats (top 40, urban, country, adult contemporary, etc.) and send those selections to program directors across the country.

After a winner is named, stations are committed to playing the song at least 150 times. Poleman says that’s approximately the number of plays it takes for a wide enough swath of listeners to form an opinion about a particular tune. Each artist generally gets about six weeks in the spot, which gives the station enough time to rack up the required amount of spins. Before it’s played, the song is usually introduced as an “On the Verge” artist with a quick clip of the singer telling the story behind the single.

Of course, stations can go over 150 spins — and if the song becomes a hit, they certainly do. (Iggy Azalea’s inescapable “Fancy” was once “On the Verge”– and now, can you turn on the radio without hearing it?)

Okay, so are Clear Channel staffers inundated with label executives and publicists clamoring for their artists to win the spot? Maybe, but that ultimately doesn’t matter. “Everyone wants to lobby for it, but it’s purely [decided by] programmers,” Poleman said. There’s no strategic formula for choosing the artist — there doesn’t have to be a specific number of men and women or a balanced amount between any particular label. It’s all about the quality of the music, he said.

That sounds ideal in theory, but the whole premise has still raised some eyebrows, particularly as new songs get very high placement on the charts, thanks almost exclusively to “On the Verge.” Other radio executives say “On the Verge” is very unusual — while there are various programs to promote new artists, Clear Channel stands out as a company that’s powerful enough to give a song an unprecedented amount of success very early on.


In response to the article above, some Twitter users shared:

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So, let us know...

What do you make of ‘On the Verge’?

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  1. truth (icki is FLOPN every got damn ft she on chile..she FLOPN careers.. Kc, FM and CICI is proof) July 17, 2014


    • FantasiaSlayrino July 17, 2014

      Ok honey, real talk. Did TGJ pull that article out of thin air?

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    • CommanderKelly July 17, 2014

      She clearly didn’t read the article if she thinks TGJ wrote it so ignore her.

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    • LaLopez July 17, 2014

      Try reading before READING hunty, Grape Juice aren’t the ones who said she used payola, the WP did.

    • truth (icki is FLOPN every got damn ft she on chile..she FLOPN careers.. Kc, FM and CICI is proof) July 17, 2014

      Fu ck yall hoez!! What IM sayn is there is a bunch of shyt out there about icki but sam will not post it. Wait waitvwait….y am i explainin ANYTHING to 3 biitches whose pusssy dont even get wet?! Bye Felicia!! #DryPussyHoez

      • Belladonna1363 July 17, 2014


      • truth (icki is FLOPN every got damn ft she on chile..she FLOPN careers.. Kc, FM and CICI is proof) July 17, 2014

        Thank u @Bella

  2. Kayla July 17, 2014

    Get a life no one cares, you gays kill me with the lengths you all would go

    • truth (icki is FLOPN every got damn ft she on chile..she FLOPN careers.. Kc, FM and CICI is proof) July 17, 2014

      Goooowrl o know DATS right….FISH!!!

    • Lana Del Slay July 17, 2014

      Gays? The Washington Post are gay?

      • truth (icki is FLOPN every got damn ft she on chile..she FLOPN careers.. Kc, FM and CICI is proof) July 17, 2014

        Honey dont pay that FISH no attention. A dykeBITCH

  3. truth (icki is FLOPN every got damn ft she on chile..she FLOPN careers.. Kc, FM and CICI is proof) July 17, 2014

    Yo hate is real!! It made Katy one and other and icki NEED to used payola cause she FLOPN to hell!!! I caint believe this site sometimes.

    • NickiBeenBad July 17, 2014

      “i can’t believe this site sometimes.” Your stupid ass didn’t even read the thread.

      • truth (icki is FLOPN every got damn ft she on chile..she FLOPN careers.. Kc, FM and CICI is proof) July 17, 2014

        No ho i couldnt read cause yo DAD was givin me head. I was distracted

      • Sam Loves Rihanna July 17, 2014

        Are you going to let “truth” scalp your wig off like that, gworl??? LOL

      • truth (icki is FLOPN every got damn ft she on chile..she FLOPN careers.. Kc, FM and CICI is proof) July 17, 2014


    • AaliyahIsTheGreatest July 17, 2014

      if you hate nicki then why are you on every single post talking about her seems to me like your a closeted nicki minaj fan.

      • truth (icki is FLOPN every got damn ft she on chile..she FLOPN careers.. Kc, FM and CICI is proof) July 17, 2014

        girl shut up

  4. truth (icki is FLOPN every got damn ft she on chile..she FLOPN careers.. Kc, FM and CICI is proof) July 17, 2014

    Sam i just mad cause that FLOP is a has been after just 5yrs!!!

    • QueenCeline July 17, 2014

      What’s Sam got to do with the Washington Post’s expose’.

      • truth (icki is FLOPN every got damn ft she on chile..she FLOPN careers.. Kc, FM and CICI is proof) July 17, 2014

        He dont pist negative post on nicki and there is a lot so eat me!!!

  5. BaddieBey July 17, 2014

    Is anyone shocked?

    • Sam Loves Rihanna July 17, 2014

      It’s the same as Beyonce buying all her nominations and awards…just to break records. #pathetic

    • whiite privelage July 17, 2014

      I’m not shocked by this. They forgot to mention how some labels PAY for artists to be played on CLEAR CHANNEL every hour like Drake

      I just wish they did the same for BLACK artists at Universal RECORDS right now.

      If Sevyn Streeter’s “IT WONT STOP” would have also been played on pop/ top 40 radio….

      She would have a BILLBOARD top 5 HIT

      Remember they also did this for Lorde too. they played her on urban radio SMH

    • Iggy iggy iggy July 17, 2014

      How do u think these artists be getting these number ones? You see how beyonce and nicki can’t keep a song in the top ten for more than a week. Because they feel like they don’t have to pay to get their records played. If it wasn’t a hot song it wouldn’t be one of the best selling singles this year. If it wasn’t hot, ppl wouldn’t be buying it. Record labels handle all of that political stuff and paying and bribing radio stations and digital music outlets to feature songs and ads and that kind of stuff. It sounds like clear channel made the decision to label this song as ‘on the verge’ and spin it. That’s not payola idiots

  6. BeachhouseBritney July 17, 2014

    I have no words.

    • truth (icki is FLOPN every got damn ft she on chile..she FLOPN careers.. Kc, FM and CICI is proof) July 17, 2014

      Or a man…u manless ho

    • Sam Loves Rihanna July 17, 2014

      You wouldn’t have words because you always lip-sync.

  7. Everybody Does It July 17, 2014

    Nicki, Young Money, Beyonce and any other artist on top has made the same deal with Clear Channel.

    • BeySting July 17, 2014

      And you know this how?

      • truth (icki is FLOPN every got damn ft she on chile..she FLOPN careers.. Kc, FM and CICI is proof) July 17, 2014

        Prove him wrong then…

  8. JFB July 17, 2014

    People just really don’t want to see Iggy Succeed & it’s sad…

    • MarinasDiamonds July 17, 2014

      Who are these people you speak of? Surely it’s the opposite considering it’s people that made sure she got played on radio enough times for her to get a number one, right?

  9. Stephy July 17, 2014

    EVERYONE USES PAYOLA! GET OVER IT! CONGRATS IGGY! The song is catchy & it caught on. Blame WHITE people for shutting out BLACKS during the 1950s & forced Payola to get started BYE

    • Lana Tropicana July 17, 2014

      Please stop. Lana doesn’t use it so please reword your statement.

      • Stephy July 17, 2014

        She better start if she wants a number 1 hit.. Also, Lana Del is a indie type artist. Mostly, Pop/R&B MAINSTREAM artist uses Clear Channel Deal (Payola)….
        Lana WILL eventually use it. Its the way the industry is & will always BE! #DEAL #BYE

      • truth (icki is FLOPN every got damn ft she on chile..she FLOPN careers.. Kc, FM and CICI is proof) July 17, 2014

        She just drinks…with a bee rest on her upper Lush lip

    • DanitySlain July 17, 2014

      The difference is that Beyonce and Britney can’t chart without it, Iggy can’t.

      • truth (icki is FLOPN every got damn ft she on chile..she FLOPN careers.. Kc, FM and CICI is proof) July 17, 2014


  10. HighywayUnicorn July 17, 2014

    Nobody else thought it was weird that she went from not charting at all to getting a number one?

    • Loco4Aiko July 17, 2014


  11. IggyLongstocking July 17, 2014

    I’m glad TGJ were fair this time.

  12. OhHiGwen July 17, 2014

    Isn’t it funny that TWP put this up the week Fancy left number one? Hmmm. Secondly, why are we acting as though this is news. I knew something was fishy when all her other songs couldn’t even scrape the T100 and this one started slaying suddenly.

  13. CrazyKesha July 17, 2014

    This is how she can have a number one single but still hasn’t sold 300k from the album it came from.

    • Tisha July 17, 2014


      They keep playing these artists by making them feel successful but then not having the album sales to back it up.

  14. Dustin July 17, 2014

    News flash! Every artist gettin tons of spins at radio paid for them. I used to work in radio marketin and promotion and works Bon Jovis “who says you can’t go home”, Beyonces “irreplaceable” and “cuspids chokehold” by Gym Class Heroes. The label gave me a budget for every single one of those. 3 of the catchiest songs of that year and labels had to buy their way on radio. I had a 10k budget for Queen Bey. So people are gonna have to stop with this mess as if Iggy is the first and last to utilize payola.

    • PaulAllahSlaydul July 17, 2014

      The difference between Bon Jovi and Iggy is a little thing called talent. It doesn’t help that everyone knows that she didn’t write the song either.

      • Proud-Arianator July 17, 2014

        How do you know?
        Were you in the studio?

      • PaulAllahSlaydul July 17, 2014

        We know she didn’t write it because Charli admitted that she already had the chorus before she gave it Iggy and TI is named as one of the writers. So if Charli wrote the chorus and Iggy says she wrote the verses by herself what was left for TI to write?

      • Dustin July 17, 2014

        Actually the verses to fancy were written before Charlie wrote that hook. Google the original song with a different chorus. And talent is irrelevant in this discussion. My point is that any top 40 hit on the hot 100 has a payola budget.

  15. Proud-Arianator July 17, 2014

    I like Iggy but y’all need to give her a break and let her shine while the light is still bright

  16. OVOHannah July 17, 2014

    Why are people directing their anger at TGJ as if they’re the ones who exposed her. The problem with Iggy is that she’s not a good rapper and because she’s not a good rapper people will do anything to poke holes in her credibility which is what’s happening now.

    • MalikOnMyMind July 17, 2014

      It’s cos they saw the headline and didn’t read what was beneath it.

  17. Kingofhearts July 17, 2014

    lmfao I swear this website posts so much false s***. ALL ARTIST WORK OUT CLEAR CHANNEL DEALS. It just so Iggy got picked just like all the other pop b******* that goes #1. THAT GRAPE JUICE, please educate yourselfs and stop copy and pasting b*******. I’m not even a Iggy Stan, you guys are just always on some b*******!

  18. Tisha July 17, 2014

    Anyone with a radio on in their cars KNEW something was funky weeks ago.

    In a spam of an hour I can literally skip through 4-5 radio stations and hear Fancy or Problem played on all of them at least twice minutes apart. We already know how much they’re pushing for Iggy to make it, same with Ariana. She wasn’t making it on her own so they had to start paying the right people. You know they cancelled that Sam & Cat bull so she doesn’t have any excuses to fall on if her music career didn’t take off.

    All I can say is ‘Black Widow’ sucks, they’d tried to play it a few times on the radio and eventually gave up.

    • Xscape___ July 17, 2014

      Black Window jumped up 32 spots on Billboard
      since last week so your comment is inaccurate.

  19. Record Sales > Album Sales July 17, 2014

    This argument is so old.
    I dont care if u play me a song 1 million times, If i dont like it I wont buy it! NEXT

    • whiite privelage July 17, 2014

      right but there are other songs selling more than her . adio is included in Billbards measurement for chart position so it helped her get to #1.

      Billboard needs to take radio out of its determination of chart positons then.

      Also, think about all of those talented artists that dont get payola and would be #1 if they did

      Sevyn Streeter would have a bigger ht s she had this type fo exposure with It wont Stop. Believe that.

  20. Applause July 17, 2014

    Beyonce Nicki Rihanna & Katy use it what’s the big deal? The song still sold over 2 million copies.

    • Xscape___ July 17, 2014

      Exactly, all big name artist use payola.

  21. Barb B**** July 17, 2014

    One hit wonder asss b****

  22. Xscape___ July 17, 2014

    Any artist with a budget uses payola.
    Payola didn’t make ppl buy her single,
    nor did it make ppl watch the video.
    Radio play isn’t enough for a #1 single
    These articles are so biased!

  23. IStanForYourFav July 17, 2014

    All artists including Indie artists use Payola. Songs are played at a certain time and etc just to make you like it. It’s been going on since the 50’s. All aspects of music have some type of business behind it. Check out singles from the same era… One song can go number 1 while single 3/4 may not even peak into the Hot 100. It’s all set up. Whether it’s giving the album away, discounting singles, discounting album prices, inflatin album sales, trick marketing, paying blogs to write about you, and etc. The whole music industry is shady. It is what it is. It’s like this, either you like the song or not. Plain and simple. Also, as Iggy’s skills go, she’s not good, she’s just ok. It works for her music because it’s more on the entertainment side rather than some Tupac deep poetry type of music.

  24. April Thomas July 17, 2014

    First off I think people should look up the word PAYOLA. Secondly it seems with Iggy’s recent success there are Nicki Minaj supporters and fans who are doing anything to try to discredit her. I don’t see anywhere in this article where it says that artist’s and their labels are paying Clear Channel radio to spin their records. What this article is saying is that a song is randomly selected as the “On The Verge” single. As a result the song gets heavy spins across different radio formats. Jhene Aiko and Mila J were both On The Verge artists. But nowhere in this article does it money in exchange for radio spins which is what Payola is. Clear Channel’s “On The Verge” is to bring awareness to new artists and their songs when they feel a single is of quality material. It’s no different than VH1’s Artists You Should Know.

  25. Vernon July 17, 2014

    wow this blog site is doing everything they can to try to shade or tear Iggy down all because they admire nicki minaj. I remember when they were so supportive of iggy when they thought iggy was on nicki’s side when she was beefing with lil kim. the min they saw lil kim and iggy showing each other love on the vmas and on twitter they instantly turned against iggy azalea. it’s very petty. this article that they tried to pull with a misleading headline doesn’t even mention anything about artists using payola.

  26. Casual-T July 17, 2014

    Nothing is new about this. How does anyone think Whitney Houston hit #1 seven times in a row in the 1980s? They were good songs, but it also took Arista to muscle those songs on to every pop station in the country at the same time. Even so, payola can only lead to exposure, not a hit. We’ve all seen songs open huge, only to fade b/c the general public didn’t actually like the songs.

  27. MISHKA July 17, 2014

    In the words of Diane Warren, “it will always come down to a good song”.

    “Fancy” is a catchy, age-appropriate, summer, carefree good song. The song will have perform well anyway.

    Iggy can thank the beatmaker, Charlie XCX for making the song and her mother for her life-size Barbie looks. Because that rapping of her ain’t shlt.

  28. ontherun July 17, 2014

    Slows mews summer or what lmao. Tgj posts have been shady/irrelevant as f***

  29. Rosie July 17, 2014

    The lengths people will go to make her seem like a plant. No, I remember Fancy went top 40 on iTunes the day it was released, then it rose again after the video. So really the video helped it. It also doesn’t help that she already had three hits in the UK beforehand.

    • Brian310 July 19, 2014

      People a re dedicated to stop thus girl from seeing major success it is sad and pathetic

  30. musicMatters101 July 20, 2014

    I don’t see this as payola or a scam. If you know of the industry you know payola exists in many different formats still to this day.

    BUT this could also just be Top execs choosing songs they liked. And like it said that Katy Tiz song/girl is a flop still. She will be a forgotten hit wonder. Watch. Yu still have to bring talent or quality to the table. Like Iggy did/does.

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