“Chinese Democracy” Is A Radio Hit? Really?

Axl’s first salvo at radio from the more-and-more-likely-to-actually-come-out-no-I-can’t-believe-it-either album Chinese Democracy hit the active rock stations of America hard last week, and this week brought a few news outlets claiming that the title track was, in fact, a bona fide, many-years-in-the-making hit. But is it?

It depends on what you call a “hit” these days. First, Antimusic’s contention:

Some artists can stay away almost two decades and come roaring back with hits. Take Axl Rose. The title track from the new Guns N’ Roses album hit radio on Wednesday and within a day it was already getting more airplay than the No. 1 song on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock radio chart.

Here is a little info that we went sent over: According to Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems, between 5am Eastern on 10/22 and 5am Eastern on 10/23, “Chinese Democracy” was played 683 times – full length – on all BDS monitored terrestrial and satellite radio stations.

Did the track receive more spins than Metallica’s “The Day That Never Comes,” the No. 1 song on the Mainstream Rock chart? Yes–but only for one day. “Chinese Democracy” is suffering from a serious case of diminishing returns: It had 500-plus spins the first day out of the gates, but those numbers dropped each day since; its airplay was down to 193 spins by Sunday. In comparison, while Metallica took a hit from the GNR express on Oct. 23, “The Day That Never Comes” has held strong, with over 500 spins on both Saturday and Sunday.

“Chinese Democracy” doesn’t have anything to be ashamed of, but Axl and company will find themselves a few spots shy of the top spot on the Mainstream Rock chart, where they’ll be looking up at Metallica, AC/DC, and most regrettably, Theory of a Deadman.

GNR’s Chinese Democracy A Radio Hit [Antimusic]

  • Maura Johnston

    Either way, B-Real is having none of it:


  • Anonymous

    It’s not a hit. It’ll get airplay because of the interest in the project but will NOT become a recurrent or gold in terms of radio play.

    Also, what the hell is this doing on the Modern Rock chart? That’s worse than Metallica being on there.

  • Al Shipley

    @2ironic4u: You say that now, but the Metallica and AC/DC songs suck, too, and they’ve been conquering radio for weeks and weeks. “Chinese Democracy” does suck a little harder than those, so it might still be a less sturdy hit, but name recognition trumps quality big time in this situation.

    Scoff if you want, but Theory Of A Deadman have by far the best single mentioned in this post! “Bad Girlfriend” has some pretty good riffs!

  • Figgsrock

    To see the GNR track get that many spins out of the box on the first day is not that shocking. Lots of long awaited discs (well, nothing is as “long awaited” as that piece of crap) get overplayed on that first day. After that I’m sure most stations put it into a medium rotation to see what happens once the audience becomes familiar with it.

    According to Mediabase (BDS’s competitor) the track got 747 spins in the past 5 days at Active Rock, which is good enough to land it at number 16 behind the latest Offspring single. The true test will be to see if Interscope can push it into the Top 10 (or Top 5) by the week of release.

  • Anonymous

    @Al Shipley: I actually kind of agree with you on the Theory Of A Deadman song.

  • Skwerl

    @2ironic4u: agreed. the track doesn’t have staying power; it’s carried by the simple fact that it’s the new gnr song. better should have been the single. or if the world.

  • Anonymous

    Let’s call it a hit when we see the first couple batches of call-out research.

  • Kodiak

    Did not hear it one time on the radio here in Europe!