The year 2000 was a great one for the music industry, especially the recording industry.
It was also a sunny time for Evan and Jaron, the identical twin combo whose “Crazy for This Girl” soared the charts before peaking in early 2001. But nearly ten years later, the song has receded into the vestiges of pop trivia, a relic of a bygone era.
In 2010, Jaron (like, ‘baron’) Lowenstein is carrying the torch for the now-disbanded group. Seemingly out of nowhere, the freshly-created Jaron and the Long Road to Love has a fast-rising single, with a totally different twist. Instead of a conventional love song, “Pray for You” blends country, religion, and sarcasm into a revenge fantasy.
I pray your brakes go out running down a hill
I pray a flower pot falls from a window sill
and knocks you in head like I’d like to
I pray your birthday comes and nobody calls
I pray you’re flying high when your engine stalls
I pray all your dreams never come true
..and so on. In a cheatin’ and Cupid-challenged world, Jaron is tapping a rich vein. But how does a 2000-era success story re-enter the game in 2010? “You do it in reverse,” Jaron told Digital Music News on Monday. After a multi-year break, the newly-solo Jaron reassessed the chaos. “I took this bird’s eye view to see what was working and what wasn’t working, and I planned to go in the opposite order.”
So, instead of upfront expenditures, expensive recording sessions, and toss-it-over-the-fence testing, Jaron started on-the-cheap. In this case, ‘cheap’ meant an estimated $5,400 for the single and video, and ‘testing’ meant trying the song on social networks and in clubs. “The traditional model is to go to the label, then radio, then the fans,” Jaron explained. “Our model was fans, then radio, then the label.”
The decision to commit extra dollars was easy, according to Jaron. “It was the same reaction across different venues and different demographics,” the singer relayed. “And I had the wherewithal to go with them, not me.”
The strategy seems to be working. After a release late last year, the song keeps building momentum. According to data compiled by BigChampagne within its BC Dash interface, “Pray for You” is currently rising across a number of areas. On MySpace Music, the song jumped 419 spots to 218 last week alone. On iTunes in the US, the song ranks 53rd, up from 298 in early March, part of a slow-and-steady ascent. According to Jaron, 140,000 singles have already been sold; 25,000 in the last week alone.
Elsewhere, Walmart, Napster, YouTube, and file-sharing networks are also clocking significant gains. But the biggest story is happening on radio, where “Pray” currently ranks 40th at country radio, and 163rd overall on a spin count of 1,476 (up 135 from last week) according to Mediabase.
The growth at country radio is being powered by Big Machine Records, part of a bigger team assembled by Jaron. Big Machine is the Nashville-based powerhouse credited with breaking Taylor Swift, a perfect partner for this type of project. Also on board is Universal Republic, which recently inked a ‘p&d + promotional’ (industry-speak for pressing & distribution, plus promotional) partnership with the Jaron-controlled Jaronwood Records.
Suddenly, big ambitions have a big support team. “The goal is to get a song that’s a phenomenon, and transfer that to the artist,” Jaron explained. Tricky stuff, though according to the numbers, hardly a prayer.
Report by publisher Paul Resnikoff.