Author: Randolph Infinger (@dolphin_finger)
[Editor's note: we're circling back around to the topic of radio. Read our last post on radio for indies HERE]
Radio is by far the most consumed source for music and it’s no secret that major labels have a huge stake in radio companies (ever hear of iheartradio in every city you visit?) But what can independent labels and musicians do to gain airplay? Luckily, there are other avenues independents can take to successfully promote their music.
Who do I submit to?
First of all: avoid iheartradio stations. It isn’t worth the time and effort as they are looking for major label music. I start with radio-locater.com to find a market’s full list of FM stations and look for AAA (Adult Album Alternative), public radio, and college radio. AC (Adult Contemporary) is a toss-up as some can be useful while others are more geared towards pop music. When you find one you’d like to submit to, check out their contact or about page and find the music director’s info. If they don’t have a music director, try the programming director or simply reach out to the station’s general email asking who to contact for music submissions.
How do I pitch in my email?
If you’re independent you likely understand the hustle and creativity you have to put into everything. Radio is no different, so get creative and get moving! The first step to a successful pitch is knowing the different programs and shows they offer throughout the week. Most stations have a “playlist” feature that lists all of the songs played during a certain DJ’s time slot. If they have music similar to yours, make sure to mention you really enjoy the ______ program and think your music perform well on it. The added personalization can go a long way in showing you’re not just sending out a mass email with a million BCCs.
Ok now what?
Now begins the hustle. In order to really get the music directors attention you MUST follow up consistently. Very rarely have I seen a introductory/first email get a response unless the music director already knows the artist. Follow up once a week (some people like to say 2) and continue to follow up until you reach about 4-5 emails. At that point it most likely is a no-go and you should move on. Keep the follow up simple: one sentence is more than enough and gets the point across that you are trying to reach them.
To wrap it all up:
Radio is weird. It’s a necessity and can be a burden for independents. The best way to approach radio is a numbers game; the more stations you submit to the more you’re likely to get airplay. It will take time, but the more you hustle the more you will ultimately gain.