'They like the idea of a body of work': Radio 2's Jeff Smith on how the station's listeners are supporting the album

'They like the idea of a body of work': Radio 2's Jeff Smith on how the station's listeners are supporting the album

Radio 2's Jeff Smith has told Music Week that the station is helping to keep the album alive in the streaming era.

His comments come ahead of this week's Hyundai Mercury Prize - of which he is chair of the judging panel - and next month's second edition of National Album Day

As an example of its importance for the industry, the network's head of music noted the strong performance in the albums chart this month by artists that Radio 2 has consistently supported.

"We're still very much a part of that album-orientated listenership," said Smith. "Taylor Swift is part of that, Lana Del Rey certainly is and Ed Sheeran too. Lewis Capaldi we've supported, Sheryl Crow is in there, Oasis have come back with the re-release of Definitely Maybe. All of those artists are very Radio 2 and album orientation is still something that our audience like the idea of - they like the idea of a body of work. And artists like Taylor seem to still like the idea of that concept as well."

We're still very much a part of that album-orientated listenership

Jeff Smith

The station has 14.6 million weekly listeners. It has also developed Radio 2's Piano Room on the Ken Bruce show as a major platform for artists, while Zoe Ball's Breakfast Show is a key interview slot for returning artists.

In the September 6 chart, the Top 10 was busy with Radio 2 artists such as Lana Del Rey, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Lewis Capaldi, Oasis and Sheryl Crow. In the current run-down, Del Rey, Capaldi, Swift and Sheeran are joined by Status Quo - a Radio 2 mainstay who played at the Live In Hyde Park show on Sunday (September 15) - and Post Malone, whose Circles is on the Radio 2 playlist as the station embraces a younger pop sound

Looking ahead to this week's Top 10 albums chart, Emeli Sande is another Radio 2 regular who's set for a Top finish. Sam Fender has received support from Jo Whiley. Upcoming releases from artists playlisted by the station include Liam Gallagher and Keane, as well as debut LP act Dermot Kennedy.

Kelsea Ballerini is currently playlisted with Homecoming Queen, ahead of her new album in 2020. She also played at BBC Radio 2 Live In Hyde Park at the weekend.

"I think we're the only radio station in the UK that's really supported her [from early on]," said Smith. "She's had subsequent support from the multiple country radio stations that are appearing. But on Radio 2, we’ve supported her since the start and continue to do so. Contextualising her as our country artist this year within Radio 2’s festival in a day was a great way to do it – great for her and great for the station.

"In the same we that we supported Taylor Swift from Love Song in the early days and put her on at Abbey Road, Kelsea's an artist that will come through support from stations like Radio 2 and develop into a very big artist." 

To read the Music Week interview with Jeff Smith on Radio 2 Live At Hyde Park, subscribers can click here.

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