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Radio Airplay



Here’s a question I would like to get your answer on. As an artist, why do you want to get radio airplay?

The first answer I usually hear is “to be a star” or to “blow up” but what I’ve seen is artist want to get radio airplay so they can LIE & BEG a deal from a major. The concept here is to get a major label to pay you an advance, take more of their money to market, promote and publicize you and your music and then pay you more money for royalties. HOW INSANE is that? I’m finding more and more people thinking that their song is so great if someone hears it on the radio they will get instant gratification becoming an overnight sensation. Boy what a pile of garbage that idea has become. Besides the normal thought that radio doesn’t want your song and spending thousands of dollars to get a station to play it is not only a waste of money but stupid, 98% of the artist that I have met are not ready for a concentrated radio campaign in any city.

Because you do not know anyone at the radio stations you hire a promotion person to place your music. This person’s fee includes the money that will guarantee you airplay and varies between $1500 – $5000 per station.

If your song gets radio airplay and IF it is a popular song how do you monetize that airplay? The major chains will not carry your music and you have no idea how to even go about getting their attention. Oh that’s right you have CD BABY or TUNE CORE and your song is on iTunes, but you are not speaking with anyone at iTunes so you have no marketing with that company. You are hoping that people will search for your name or the name of your song, go to iTunes and purchase it but you are not a featured artist, not on the iTunes mailer have no idea how to get any of these benefits and CD BABY is collecting ALL of your money. Of course you are proud of the fact that you have a song on iTunes; however you think that just telling people on Facebook and Twitter to buy your product is promotion.

During the technology panel at this year’s International Soul Music Summit John Penn, Director, Advertising Operations & Branded Content Distribution at InspireMedia & Communications made a very profound comment. He said that social media on the Internet was a series of conversations and most people were talking and not listening. This immediately hit home with the concepts I have been telling people over the past few years about marketing and promoting their music online.

On Facebook alone, outside of the few posts that I have seen written to share knowledge, most people are YELLING AT YOU, about listening to their music, joining their group, “liking “ them, watch their video, come to their show, etc. When do you start listening to what your audience may want or even communicating with your audience? When do you stop being so selfish and rude and start working on a promotional plan that has a definite reason behind it?

How many different times do you see people writing any of the following phrases?

Force To Be Reckoned With

Starting To Blow Up

Destined To Be

Support Me

Check Out My

None of these phrases help you market and promote your product online, in fact they have become as archaic and none descript as the phrase “You Know What I Mean?”

But let’s continue speaking about this song that you have spent money with a promoter to get on the radio.

You have not done a print campaign in the city where the radio is playing your song and do not even have flyers available. There is no club or venue that knows about you because you do not have a promotional tour schedule or possibly don’t even know what a promotional tour schedule is. You do not know any of the announcers at the radio station, sales people, music director or program director. The reality is that you do not even know if the song is being played because you have no way of hearing it daily.

A little advice for the artist that wants a professional to listen to their product and then help them, do not send material, either audio or video, out to professionals and expect them to view or listen when you haven’t taken the time to communicate with them first. Respect is the first level of understanding within this industry and expecting someone to use their valuable time just for you because you sent them something is disrespectful.

Why should a radio station even listen to your song when you do not have any excitement surrounding it, you haven’t spent any time within the station’s coverage area and have never visited the station.

Your ego can be the greatest problem in your entire career, check your reasons for wanting to be within the entertainment industry often.

Article by Allen Johnston

4 thoughts on “Radio Airplay

    1. I completely agree with you; I work with a lot of rappers and very few are serious about their music careers. I work in the field servicing radio placements. I work for a company that specializes in this service. Artist know very little about royalties are accumulated and most of them are extremely hard headed. It’s important to be good listener we’re experts and we have the knowledge for any artist that wants to successful in today’s music industry. Some artist don’t have jobs for a budget they should not rush at a deal. Unless they have numbers they shouldn’t be in a rush to get a record deal. They run risk of getting 360 deals receiving or getting an advance that won’t benefit their careers at all. Artist learn how numbers work and realize that Majors like sufficient spin reports and artist are looking to be a brand.

  1. This is very true and I know so because I work directly in the entertainment Industry. There is a right way to do this it starts with having the right contacts. The business is about who you know and who knows you. I work with allot of artist I completely understand.

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