Successful Country Outlier Cody Jinks Makes ‘Heavyweight’ Bid On Mainstream Radio – Billboard
Country radio has repositioned itself in recent years as the finisher of country hits.
Once the medium where new music gained its greatest initial exposure, programmers of the genre admittedly prefer to let songs validate in other quarters – primarily Spotify, YouTube, Shazam and Pandora – before safely adding tracks. which have already proven themselves.
This attitude created an outlaw challenge from one of the country’s most forward-thinking artists. Cody Jinks’ latest single – “Loud and Heavy,” released by artist’s label Late August to terrestrial stations July 1 via PlayMPE – is a 7.5-year-old track that has already been certified platinum by the RIAA without any significant broadcast assistance. .
“A good song is never dated,” Jinks reasons.
Indeed, “Loud and Heavy” has aged rather well. Included on the 2015 album Adobe Sessions, the track amassed 436.5 million on-demand streams, according to Luminate, under a long-tail growth model. After generating 570,000 streams in the first year, its consumption climbed every year for the next five years, peaking at 105.2 million streams in 2020. “Loud and Heavy” had at least 90 million streams per year in 2019 -2021, and with 52.5 million streams via July 22, the song is on track to gross another 94.4 million this year.
Underscoring his market impact, Jinks is headlining amphitheaters this summer – again, without radio backing – and he gave immediate support to Luke Combs on a five-artist bill on the 23rd. July at Ohio Stadium in Columbus.
“Loud and Heavy” is the top-performing track in an extensive catalog that generated four of the top five sets on Billboard‘s Country Albums, three of which reached No. 2. The song’s delayed radio release says as much about Jinks’ business expansion as it does about radio’s altered role. “We couldn’t afford to push a single,” Jinks says, reflecting on his economic status when he wrote the song around 2014.
Now that he’s spilled his fortune, Jinks is promoting it with a fairly light hand. The AM/FM broadcast would introduce it to new fans who might not be heavy consumers of digital music, or attend shows from acts they haven’t heard on the radio. But he has enviable numbers, so he thinks broadcasters would benefit at least as much as he did from bringing him into their rotations.
“The first year, mainstream radio basically told us we weren’t allowed to be in the club – like, we couldn’t release it because we didn’t have the proper support,” he recalls . “And then they basically said, ‘Well, that’s not proven success. So after it went platinum, we kind of went back and said, ‘Do you want to play it now? We checked all the boxes. Like, put your money where your mouth is.
Jinks had no money himself when he wrote ‘Loud and Heavy’, inspired during a stormy car ride when his son Larson Jinks chanted ‘loud thunder heavy rain’ on his second birthday . The elder Jinks was going through an emotional storm, spending 250 days a year touring with his band in a van, despite refusing to give up.
“At that point, my mom went through a pretty big health crisis — ended up being just that, a scare,” he recalled. “The tour schedule was tough. I had two small children at home. My wife and I were in over six-figure debt because I had floated the band on credit cards. You have to think that in 2008, 2009, when the market first exploded, gasoline went up to $4.50 a gallon—I don’t know if people remember that—but we were on the road, earning $500 a night, and it was going gas. This song is just everything that goes through the mind of a 32 year old man who has absolutely no idea what he’s doing or how the hell he’s going to get out of it.
Jinks probably knew more about what he was doing than he admits himself. As an example, his approach to the “Loud and Heavy” songwriting credits provides his son Larson with a foundation for the future.
“He’s got half the song,” says Jinks. “I didn’t give him a third or a fourth or anything. Like, I wouldn’t have written the song without him. So every time we submitted it, it’s Cody Jinks, 50%, Larson Jinks, 50%. He created his own publishing account. And all the money from this song goes there. So, at 18, he will be his own millionaire.
A bit like his friend Cody Johnson, Jinks built his brand through relentless touring, solid songwriting with old-school roots, and stubborn independence. Johnson finally secured an enviable contract when he signed with Warner Music Nashville. Jinks has also heard of potential suitors, but he swears he will stay out of the major label system, citing an early label experience in which he did most of his own marketing work in the third year of a five-year contract.
“Record companies don’t build artists to be successful,” he says. “Record companies are in business for their own success. If the artist succeeds, it is because he has found an oil well that he has discovered. Record companies are beasts. They just have all these oil wells, hopefully one of them gets hit.
Jinks actually intends to expand its own role as a label with a view to developing young talent with the same work ethic that propelled it. The plan is to offer a fairer deal to artists than they are likely to find elsewhere while reducing its A&R risks “Our philosophy is going to be, ‘Don’t go for all the oil wells, go find a safe thing in it and put everything you have in that thing,” he says.
Ironically, this is the same mindset that broadcasters employ in their own approach to their stations’ content. And that’s why he decided to release “Loud and Heavy” on the radio after more than seven years – he understands that the medium is looking for something pretty safe. The story of “Loud” is told much better in 2022 than in 2014.
“We probably needed it more back then,” he says. “It’s nicer to be able to say, ‘Look, we still don’t need you. But we are always ready to come and play ball. We don’t have to be on the same basketball team, man, but we can play on the same court.