Maybe pigs can fly. Maybe monkeys will fly out of Mike Myers’ butt. And maybe mainstream country radio will play Cody Jinks if it’s just given a chance, or a choice. It’s early, and there’s still much to be determined. But the effort to bring Cody Jinks to the mainstream country airwaves has already born fruit, and it will be worth watching what happens from here.
Cody Jinks has already proven himself more popular and commercially viable than some of the artists populating mainstream radio playlists. He’s scored a Certified Gold single for his song “Hippies and Cowboys,” and a Certified Platinum single for “Loud and Heavy,” three #2 albums on the Billboard Country Albums chart, and all without virtually any mainstream radio play previously.
But now he’s playing on an entirely different field. Getting ready to release his latest country record called Mercy on November 12th, Cody Jinks, his new self-owned record label Late August Records, and the radio promotional company 16 Camino are promoting the song “Like a Hurricane” to mainstream country radio as Cody’s debut single on the format, and some of the fish are biting.
According to chart expert Chris Owen, seven radio stations reporting into the country Mediabase panel have officially added “Like a Hurricane” to their rotations. An “add” isn’t just a single spin. It’s placing the song into a station’s regular playlist. “Like A Hurricane” has yet to be released to streaming networks.
Cody has already been successful on Texas Regional Radio for years, and currently his single “All It Cost Me Was Everything” is sitting at #3 on the Texas Regional Radio report. Also, the semi-renegade radio station US 106.1 WUSH “America’s Country” based in Norfolk, VA that reports to the MediaBase panel has been playing Tyler Childers, Cody Jinks, and other independent artists for a while now, and successfully. But actively promoting a single to mainstream radio ups the ante for Cody Jinks even more.
It was announced earlier this year that Cody Jinks had formed his own label called Late August Records with his longtime manager Arthur Penhallow Jr. at True Grit Management, as well as Malia Barrett. The completely independent label is not only facilitating Cody’s new releases, but the entire Cody Jinks catalog has been brought under the Late August Records umbrella.
The Cody Jinks team has partnered with 16 Camino to promote “Like a Hurricane” to radio stations. 16 Camino specializes in working with independent artists, crafting strategies to get artists heard who otherwise might be overlooked. They may not have the muscle of a major label. But if a single starts to catch fire, who knows? The company is operated by former VP of Promotion at Mercury Records John Ettinger, and former regional promoter for both Epic and Columbia Records, Ryan Barnstead.
A 1/3 page add in this week’s Country Aircheck radio trade periodical declares, “Authentic, Humble, Huge Following. The most successful independent country artist in history. 2 billions streams, 1.5 million social media followers. Cody Jinks. ‘Like a Hurricane,’ his debut single.”
Some may ask why Cody Jinks would even bother trying to court mainstream radio at this stage in his career. But the truth is that among mainstream country fans, very few have heard of Jinks. It will be a completely different audience for the Texas native who has been working his way on the bills of a few more mainstream-oriented festivals lately as well.
Cody Jinks is not the first completely independent artist that has attempted to court radio. Aaron Watson had some success getting the single “Outta Style” to #10, and “Run Wild Horses” to #33 from his 2017 album Vaquero.
Morgan Wade has also been making some moves with her debut mainstream country single “Wilder Days,” which officially debuted in the Top 60 this week at #58, though this is after she recently signed with the major label Arista Nashville.
Country radio continues to see moderate improvement as it moves away from the Bro-Country era. If the format had any smarts, it would begin to embrace artists such as Cody Jinks, Morgan Wade, and Tyler Childers, who have proven they have wide appeal, and who mainstream country radio may need as independent artists continue to gain market share, and mainstream radio continues to compete with music streaming and other radio alternatives.