RADIO AIRPLAY 101
How to Get Radio Airplay For Your Music - Part One
In the last issue, we detailed the number and types of radio stations
that play new music in the United States. We now look at which of
those stations you should choose to promote your music to. Your
choice of radio stations should be based upon:
goals: Do you want to sign with a larger company, or, do you want to
CDs: Do you
have manufactured CDs, or CDRs?
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)?
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 them to find it, listen to it,
and play it.
Long Term Goals
If you are (or 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 (genre
permitting.) 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 not sell
many CDs for you.
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 any
real quantities of CDs. But "long-term" is the key here,
since you will not start seeing payment from your CD sales for quite
some time (6+ months).
Non-commercial radio is very accepting of Alternative, Metal, Rap,
Hip Hop, Jazz (non smooth), New Age, World, Electronic, and Novelty/Comedy.
Commercial radio is accepting of Alternative, Modern Rock, Rap,
R&B, Smooth Jazz, Top 40, Adult Contemporary, Country, Americana,
and AAA (Adult Album Alternative.)
CD'S: If the CDs that you have were printed on a computer (some
people call these "CDRs", "write-once CDs",
"burned CDs" or "one-offs",) then you must choose
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 (almost 100%).
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 it.
Distribution, Touring, Press
If you lack having your CD in many stores, 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...
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 label exposes
an artist to many potential fans by way of performances, posters, TV,
articles, or film, and these fans then want to hear the 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 be paid more. It's that simple.
is an independent radio airplay promoter. He can be reached at (818) 905-8038 or
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