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Airplay is a term used in the radio broadcasting industry to state how frequently a song is being played on over-the-air radio stations. For example, a song which is being played several times every day (spins) would be classed as receiving a large amount of airplay.[1][2] The explosion of music played on jukeboxes, in nightclubs and at discotheques between the 1940s and 1960s fell into this category.

For commercial broadcasting, airplay is usually the result of being placed into rotation, also called adding it to the station's playlist by the music director, possibly as the result of a Pay for Play sponsored by the record label.[3][4] For student radio and other community radio or indie radio stations, it is often the selection by each disc jockey, usually at the suggestion of a music director.

Most countries have at least one radio airplay chart in existence, although larger countries such as the United States of America,[5] the United Kingdom, Australia,[6] Brazil, and Japan have several, to cover different genres and areas of the country.[1][7][8]

A song which was very successful in the airplay charts but not so strong in sales was commonly known as "turntable hit" when radio stations played only vinyl singles.[9][10]

Airplay can be a crucial element in securing a singer's 'hit', and alongside social networking websites it is an effective method that artists uses to make their name known.[5][11]


  1. ^ a b "Sales and airplay decide what counts as a hit". USA Today: p. 4D. October 24, 1994. Retrieved February 26, 2010. 
  2. ^ Sharbutt, Jay (December 10, 1977). "Sunday's Billboard music awards: Records sales, airplay the key". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press: p. TV9.,3370386&dq=airplay&hl=en. Retrieved February 26, 2010. 
  3. ^ Abbott, Jim (December 19, 1998). "Radio deal puts spin on airplay". Orlando Sentinel: p. C1. Retrieved February 26, 2010. 
  4. ^ Leeds, Jeff (December 27, 2001). "Middlemen Put Price on Airplay". Los Angeles Times: p. C1. Retrieved February 26, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b DeKnock, Jan (August 6, 1986). "Billboard's numbers game can make or break a record". Chicago Tribune: p. 3. Retrieved February 26, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Aussie acts buck airplay snub". April 21, 2008. Retrieved February 26, 2010. 
  7. ^ Barnes, Ken (January 3, 2002). "Country rules on the radio; There's not a Britney in this airplay bunch". USA Today: p. D1. Retrieved February 26, 2010. 
  8. ^ Trevett, Claire (March 15, 2006). "New Zealand music achieves record level of local airplay". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved February 26, 2010. 
  9. ^ Posniak, Alan (October 2, 1968). "Badger Beat: Wisconsin Bands and Combos". The Milwaukee Journal.,1075755&dq=turntable-hit&hl=en. Retrieved February 26, 2010. "Consequently, what we ended up with was a turntable hit (so called because it received lots of play on disk jockeys' record turntables)." 
  10. ^ Locey, Bill. "Nevill Brothers Soar Despite Little Airplay". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 26, 2010. 
  11. ^ DeKnock, Jan (July 17, 1992). "The case of the airplay-poor hits". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 26, 2010. 

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