to Promote Your Music to.
by Bryan Farrish
Back to The
We now look at which stations you should choose to promote your music to. Your
airplay promoter will help you, but in general, your choice of radio stations
should be based upon:
- Long-term (1 to 2 year) goals: Do you want to sell CDs, or generate
attention and sign with a larger company (so they can sell CDs for you)?
- CDs: Do you have manufactured CDs, or CDRs? How many?
presence: Do you have an in-depth site with articles, photos, individual bio's,
mailing lists, and tour info, or a simple site or no site at all?
- Distribution, Touring, and Press. Note that
SERVICING your music to a radio station, and PROMOTING your music to a radio
station, are not the same thing. "Servicing" is simply getting your CD to the
station. "Promoting" it is getting the station to find it, listen to it, play
it, and report it.
LONG TERM GOALS...
If you are (or if
you have) only one act, and if your intentions are to build a buzz to the point
where you can "sign" with someone, then non-commercial radio is probably for you
(note: your genre MUST fit.) Non-commercial radio is very accepting of new acts,
and these stations "report" their airplay to the trade magazines readily. They
will also interview you, play station-identifications made by you, and (in
general,) work with you. This all adds up to a good buzz. But...these stations
will reach only about one percent as many people as commercial radio will.
If, on the other hand, you are running a small label and you intend to
build the number of artists on it...and you intend to sell CDs, tickets and
other merchandise through it, then commercial radio would be a good choice for
you (again, genre permitting.) Only commercial radio can get your song to enough
people, enough times, to sell large quantities of CDs (meaning, more than a few
thousand.) But commercial radio is also the most expensive.
Non-commercial radio is very accepting of
Alternative, Metal, Rap, Hip Hop, Jazz (non smooth), New Age, World, and
Commercial radio is accepting of Alternative,
Modern Rock, Rap, R&B, Smooth Jazz, Pop, Adult Contemporary, Country,
Americana, and AAA (Adult Album Alternative.)
If the CDs that you have were burned on a computer
(i.e., "CDRs", "write-once CDs", "burned CDs" or "one-offs",) then you must
choose non-commercial radio. Commercial radio will just laugh at these.
A strong web presence can be a great reason to
choose non-commercial (and in this case, mostly college) radio. College kids
(age 18-24) have the highest percentage of access to the web (100%), most of
which is high speed.
Have you promoted a previous release to
radio? Have you just completed a college tour? Have you done a retail promotion
with a chain store that advertises on radio? If so, make the most of the
DISTRIBUTION, TOURING, PRESS...
If you lack having your CD in
many stores (on the shelf...not to be confused with "in the system"), and if you
have no performances in cities other than your own, and if you have no articles
written about you, then non-commercial radio should be a strong consideration
for you (or possibly, a non-charting attempt at commercial radio, using
specialty shows, smaller stations, and outer-lying areas.) These stations do not
have strong concerns about distribution, touring, or press...
Most commercial stations, however (especially larger ones in larger
cities)...do. It works like this: Radio stations are paid based upon their
ratings (the number of listeners they have.) If a record label exposes an artist
to many potential fans by way of performances, posters, TV, articles, or film,
and these fans then want to hear that artist's song, they will have to tune in
to the radio station that plays it. This means that this radio station is going
to get all these new listeners, and thus is going to have higher ratings. But
new acts can't do any of this for a station, and the station knows this.
is an independent radio airplay promoter. He can be reached at 818-905-8038 or at radio-media.com