Power intros, beatmixes, song singovers, ID Mixers, whatever you call them, they still are the same imaging elements that most radio stations in the late 90s and early 2000s are going mad about. The approach, the methods, the effects, the style, they may be different but the main objective of these ideas is to infuse the identity of the station into their playlist hits and eventually make a mark on their listeners’ memory.
Songs intros, as the can be generally called, are without question one of the most effective and creative ways to image a radio station. It’s been used in stations in the U.K. and in Europe. In the U.S., Clear Channel station Z100 New York, supposedly started this new imaging idea. Jam Creative Productions may aptly be considered as the first company to venture into producing keyed vocals or acapellas used in song intros at Z100. Unfortunately, however, this statement is not backed up with any audio samples.
Not all radio stations in the 90s embraced the idea of song intros. Its popularity however grew by the numbers, and as the years passed, as new jingle companies emerge, so had song intros evolved. Let’s now take a close look and listen of the different forms, styles and names of song intros.
Song Singovers is a trademark of Steve England and S2 Blue Productions. Steve England may not be the first company to make song intros, but their so-called song singovers are exactly what the earliest form of song intros sound like. The approach is simple – the singer sings the call signs and slogan of the station onto the intro of the song. No editing was necessary, except when the intro is short, that’s when they needed to loop the intro. Otherwise, there we no sound effects, except for some vocoding. There were no artist drops, no voiceovers, just purely sung song intros.
Of course, the song intro’s keys or the melody had to be matched with the actual playlist song. In an audio sample from Steve England below, you will notice that playlist songs from female artists were also “song-introed” with female singers.
Every station that used these classic song intros were the envy of their competitors. Memory recall was relatively high with song intros that listeners in some instances find themselves singing the station’s calls even with non-edited tracks.
But not everyone was happy with song intros and that even included the listeners. As more stations and radio stations copied this idea, the glory of song intros have started to decline. Radio stations were starting to make their own station-produced song intros, that often went off-key. Listeners began looking at song intros as nuisance. PDs and Imaging Directors also noticed this. Classic song intros had its share of disadvantages.
First, most listeners prefer to listen to the non-edited songs. Second, the requirement of vocal resemblance of song intros to the actual song was also difficult. More and more artists were sprouting and in order for a song intro to become effective, its vocals need to match that of actual playlist. Third, newer songs especially those which are highly produced became more difficult to be song-introed. But this wasn’t the end of song intros.
Steve England’s Sing Songovers | 8:11 – 7.56MB | Download
Power Intros then finally came into the scene. NoiseFusion was one of the companies that took on the idea of Power Intros. However, NoiseFusion prefers to call this type of imaging as “Music Imaging” as stated in their website here http://noisefusion.com/portfolio/capital.htm. This time song intros get a facelift, but the basics are still there – vocal keys and melody that closely resembles the actual song. But this time, the call signs were now sung on their own logo melody as heard here on Capital FM Power Intros audio samples from NoiseFusion.
Even logo stingers are incorporated into the song intros. This became very possible, because the power intros were separately produced tracks and not a looped version of the original song. Power intros became a huge hit for most imaging directors. Unlike, the classic song intros, power intros didn’t sound cheesy. And the production quality of power intros were also increased. It was effective. Power intros were less costly than regular jingle packages. It came in subscription basis and every month or so, stations would get freshly – produced song intros for their station. At one point, power intros even competed with jingles. But are power intros really that cost effective..
One of the lows of power intros is that it’s short-spanned shelf life. Power intros are only as good the lifespan of the playlist hits. And once the station playlist changes, so will the power intros too.
Alongside the popularity of power intros, a brand new imaging idea takes a leap from the celebrated power intros. When Z100 noticed that its jingles from ReelWorld can be integrated or beatmatched into their playlist hits, a new form of song intro was born and it came by the name of Beatmix.
Beatmix is a trademark of ReelWorld Productions, Seattle. It was built on the same principles of the classic song intro although this time it was more hybrid. Beatmixes are not just jingle acapellas beatmatched on song intros but it’s a concoction of sweepers and power intros. Not only were there sung jingle logos, but there were also voiceovers, voice drops, artist drops and sound effects to top it. Beatmix became the answer to the very problem of power intros’ short life span. ReelWorld offered it on an subscription basis which comes with a starter kit full of jingle acapellas sung in all keys. The station logo is spliced into syllables so it can be easily beatmatched into the song intro. And to make production easier for imaging directors, ReelWorld’s beatmix also comes with monthly and production liners for instruction.
ReelWorld Beatmixes for WHTZ (Z100), Cat Country (WCTO), B95 (WFBE) | 6:36 – 6.04MB | Download
Beatmixes were used in Z100 for years. However they are now seldom used or shall we say, are never used nowadays at Z100. Yet, beatmixes never lost its glory. Taking on the popularity of beatmixes, N2 Effect, also offered its very own brand of keyed jingle acapellas, code-named ID Mixers. Here is a demo of N2 Effect’s ID Mixers.
N2Effect ID Mixers | 1:19 – 2.41MB | Download
Sharp Sell’s Power Intros
Sharp Sell, lead by season producer Pat Sharp, also takes on the power intro fever. Here are samples done for radio stations in the U.K. and Europe.
Sharp Sell’s Power Intros | 1:31 – 2.07MB | Download
Song Intros Live On
The efficiency of these types song intros, as they can be called generally are out of the question. But as the first decade of the 21st century closes, it seems that lesser stations are now using song intros. Thanks, however, to companies and radio stations that still believe in the power of these musically infused station IDs.