Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

News, notes and ideas on music marketing, self-promotion, artist empowerment and more

January 13, 2005

Radio Airplay: What's an Indie Musician to Do?

We all know that extensive radio exposure can do wonders for an artist's career. But everyone also knows that widespread radio airplay is very tough (not to mention expensive) to achieve.

I'm a big advocate of not falling victim to traditional knee-jerk music promotion methods. Just because the superstars are all over the radio doesn't mean you need it to start building a career. Many acts prosper by putting an emphasis on live shows or the Internet and do quite well without radio exposure at all.

However, it can't hurt to educate yourself on this aspect of the industry. To give you more insight into radio promotion, here are a few choice links and excerpts to get you thinking:

In his article Best Time of Year to Push Radio, promoter Bryan Farrish says ...

"Many people, when planning the date that their radio campaign will start, think that starting the campaign at a certain time of the year will make a huge difference in the outcome of the project. It won't. There are many other factors which are far more important ... Things like sequentially pushing a second and third release from the same artist; not abandoning a campaign until awareness has been built; providing the proper packaging; and properly choosing album vs. single."
Farrish also works with authors and experts who want to be featured as guests on radio talk shows. I've long believed that talk shows are sadly overlooked by most musicians. But if you have an appealing cause or theme related to your music, and if you can articulate your position well (meaning you sound halfway smart and passionate about your subject), talk shows could be a great way to get radio exposure.

Read Farrish's Why Radio Interviews? article for more details.

Jeri Goldstein, author of How to Be Your Own Booking Agent, offers a good overview in her article, How to Use Radio Promotion to Boost Airplay and Build New Audiences. Here's a sample of her wisdom:
"If you tour within a specific region or remain close to your home base, it may prove more cost effective for you to manage your own radio promotion. Although some regions of the country do have radio promotions companies that concentrate solely on a single region, most conduct national promotions campaigns ...

"When touring is restricted to one area, it is easier to select tour cities and research the appropriate radio stations on your own, city by city, as you need them. Your costs are then spread out over an extended period, as are the necessary promo CDs. You are able to concentrate on each city you intend to tour. The main concern for you is scheduling time to send the promo CDs, make initial calls to the station to check on the CD arrival, and then at least once a week make a follow-up call to check on the airplay the CD is receiving. This is no small task and it is time consuming."
And for specific indie radio contacts, I discovered this Evor Indie Radio Links directory. The copyright notice on the page shows 2003, so I'm not sure how current these are, but they're worth a look.

Other radio-related resources:

Fundamentals of DIY Radio Promotion, a new e-book by "Notorious" Liz Koch, who's worked with EMI and Tommy Boy Records.

The Indie Music Bible, featuring 3,400 radio stations around the world that may play your songs.

musicSUBMIT, a cool new service that will submit your info to Internet radio stations and other media outlets.

Radio is just one potential part of a music marketing plan. Look through these resources and decide for yourself how much of a priority you need to make it.

posted by Bob Baker @ 3:33 PM   1 comments


At Jan 27, 2005 1:45:00 PM, Blogger Robert Buck said...

I've been screaming this idea for years and I have even mentioned it to some of Canada's Major label presidents in person. I don't want to repeat their comments here.

I think the whole paradigm of music has to change from one of a tangible item to that of a subscription. The major labels should begin to compare themselves to the TV networks. Content providers, and not sellers of physical things (CDS).

Ultimately the best case scenario is one where IPS providers collect say $5 per month for Music access royalties (this would have to be legislated). Then, anyone who wants to upload or download would go to say, Napster (just 'cause they though of it first). Every download from a single IP would be registered as a hit. At the end of the month total monies received from ISP providers would be paid out based on the number of hits per song. It’s so simple it's stupid.

Only one hit per title per url, this would prevent an artist from downloading their own song 1000 times.

Initially there would be a "Buffet Syndrome” the first serving is huge but second and third servings would be more reasonable.

The benefits: all artists Indie, Major etc would be on a level playing field. Artists with the majors would have the benefit of their marketing machines. All music would be available; no more deletes of records that don't sell because, it wouldn’t cost to list them. Think of all the music that would be available!

Eventually, it would level off and people would only download what they were immediately interested in. That's actually happened now: record industry associations claim that it is because of harsh penalties and fear of downloading that the pirating has stopped but in reality, most people have had their fill and now, instead of downloading everything they only download what they want right now.

This is the only system that will truly work. The sooner the major labels realize it the better off we'll all be.

Sorry about the long rant but the theory needs to be inclusive.




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