Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

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

November 07, 2006

John Legend: Success Without Radio

John Legend sold more than 1.7 million copies of his last album, Get Lifted, in the U.S., but he has yet to put out a single that gets major radio play.

john legend

So says the Wall Street Journal, by way of an item on Kurt Hanson's "Radio And Internet Newsletter." Legend's new album, Once Again, was just released to rave reviews -- but still no significant airplay. Turning again to the WSJ article ...

"A growing number of musicians are marketing singles and sometimes turning them into hits without the support of radio, at least initially. Radio still matters -- a recent report by Mercury Radio Research, a company that studies the industry, found that the medium is still the primary way people discover new music. But other methods are making inroads ... Panic! At the Disco, a Nevada rock band, got an early push from Purevolume, a music fan site, and the social networking site MySpace."

Here's the interesting thing:

"The online attention spurred radio stations to play Panic! At the Disco's music and fans to buy their albums and attend their shows."

Lesson: In the old days, radio was the main thing that spread new music and created hits. Today, radio is much less important than it once was, but it can still help a great deal. The key to getting radio airplay these days is to first make a splash in another medium: online, live shows, print media or TV exposure.

Grant Robertson at the Digital Music Weblog reported on this story as well. He pointed out John Legend's previous stint as a consultant for a Boston consulting group, then remarked ...

"This is so important for any up and coming musician to understand. You may be bright, hot and talented but today's music business requires you to be a sharp business person as well. Certainly, those with business or marketing skills are at an advantage but, increasingly, those without face greater hurdles to expansion."

Take heed!


posted by Bob Baker @ 3:10 PM   1 comments


At Dec 4, 2006 9:08:00 AM, Anonymous Doug Alcock said...

Ain't it the truth --- as an indie musician you're running a small business -- make no mistake. If you do that right --- someday you'll be running a big business. When that day comes and the major labels come knocking on your door --- why would you want to let them run 'your' business for you.



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