Rihanna's brand new single 'Diamonds' has received its first play today, and goes on sale later.
It's a great song, but is it good enough?
Let's have a look at the problems Rihanna is facing.
1. Transient fanbase
Pop is a notoriously fast-moving genre, with fans quick to seize new artists and leave past favourites for dust. It seems to us that Rihanna has simply left it too long to follow up her last album. Who is holding Rihanna back? Is she not working hard enough? Are her label not pushing her? Why is she being allowed to drift like this?
If Rihanna's new single misses the Top 40 — and she can by no means guarantee a hit — her work-rate will be at least partly to blame.
You might think she and her team would have learned their lesson from previous releases, when she went as long as eight days between single campaigns, but it seems no lessons have been learned.
2. Patchy past releases
Another reason people might not immediately gravitate towards a new Rihanna song is that her release history has been patchy at best.
(No wonder she has waited so long to release a Greatest Hits album — she simply doesn't have a strong enough catalogue.)
Again this comes back to her reluctance to work hard enough.
3. Failure to embrace social media
Can't Rihanna use sites like Twitter to keep fans updated on her movements and thoughts? How about embracing newer networks like Instagram?
She needs to engage!
4. Poor A&R
The blame here lies squarely at her label. How about recruiting hot producers? Bringing in big songwriters? What about some collaborations with artists who are already doing well?
There have been some big opportunities missed here.
5. Radio play
Could 'Diamonds' be the single that finally gives Rihanna a radio hit?
In the UK, America and all other major territories, radio stations have been notoriously reluctant to play Rihanna songs. UK stations like Radio 1 and Kiss will often allow more than twelve minutes to pass without playing a Rihanna song, or a song on which she has featured.
Obviously the lack of decent tunes outlined above, and her reluctance to promote, is partly the cause, but after all these years cracking away at the charts isn't it time radio gave Rihanna a break? Maybe they could just try giving 'Diamonds' some spot plays to see how their audiences react.
You never know — young music fans might actually quite enjoy hearing a Rihanna song, and might even go out and buy some music as a result!
Come on, radio, give Rihanna a chance. Help Rihanna so she can help herself.