Every summer here in Spain a group of songs is somehow chosen and played EVERYWHERE for the next several months. They're the "songs of summer." Then in September, they go off the air and you basically never hear the songs again.
Now get this, the songs normally are either copied from or copied by television commercials (not sure which comes first) during the same time they're on the air (artistic integrity anyone?). My first summer here had songs like "Bomba","Arroba, arroba love punto com." and "Mi limon." You couldn't listen to the radio or watch TV or go to a bar without hearing them. These are not songs from stars like Alejandro Sanz, these are throw-away pop-songs that obviously are made just to make money however possible.
There's no separation between commercialization of songs as products and the artistic merits of the songs themselves. These songs aren't being heard because everyone likes them, they've been chosen by some conglomerate and now are the most played. It would be interesting to see how much money Operation Triumfo (a Spanish Big Brother like TV show where we watch a bunch of people learn how to be performers) and other song publishers pay the radio and television stations to get their song to be the big hit for the summer...
In case you say that this is similar to the U.S., I would say that there is a huge difference between big labels paying zillions of dollars for marketing and "pushing" the songs up the charts than a company "buying" the #1 song for the summer, whether the people like it or not.
I'm already hearing radio airplay of "Letters to Cleo" by Nick Lowe. You know the "you gotta be cruel to be kind" song. It's being used now for a beer commercial, which is running every 10 minutes on every TV and radio station in Spain. But now the radio stations are playing that song as if it's brand new...
The other thing is these CD disk sets of "Caribe" or "Summer Mix" music, where they are filled with COVERS of current popular stars by artists that sound exactly the same. I swear, I've never heard of this in my life before. The "Caribe" mixes are filled with all the music from videos where the singers appear on the beach, the "Summer Mix" versions are the more urband songs I guess.
Weird. Every culture is different. The thing that bugs me is how no one has ANY idea of bad they're being manipulated here. It's not even being hidden. It's an obvious marketing/money thing from day one.