Although radio’s influence in the music business has been diminished in the past decade, the ultimate importance of radio airplay is quite clear: if consumers hear music on the radio, many will eventually purchase the CD.
With so many changes occurring in the radio industry – the sale and syndication of radio stations, the fragmentation of formats, the comparative value of video – radio promoters have been forced to be very numbers oriented. For example, they know that a record is much more likely to be picked up in the bigger markets if it is already having positive results on smaller stations. They also know that having impressive retail sales is another factor that may sway a station to give your record a few test spins. If they grant you a few of those spins and the listeners respond with favorable calls and e-mails, it may lead to more airplay.
To go from a few test spins to actually getting on a station’s formal playlist is not easy. A playlist is a station’s chart, which features the 25-40 records that are receiving the most airplay that week. Since most stations receive hundreds of CDs each month, it’s not easy to crack the top twenty. Even securing airplay at college radio is more difficult than in the past, with the major labels and top indie labels all servicing the college stations with their product.
That said, college radio may be your only outlet as an indie, and it can be a powerful medium. College students are traditionally big music fans, and if they embrace your record, the sky is the limit. But even at college radio, “who you know” is very important. Personal relationships with radio station program and music directors are the main reason unsigned, independent artists hire radio promoters. For that reason, whenever financially possible, I recommend hiring a professional and reputable radio promotion company.
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This article was reprinted from Disc Makers' Fast Forward e-Newsletter
Eugene Foley is the founder & President of Foley Entertainment, Inc., a music industry consulting firm, and author of the new book, Artist Development, A Distinctive Guide To The Music Industry’s Lost Art. Armed with a law degree (with an emphasis on entertainment law & intellectual property) and a golden ear, Foley represents artists, labels, managers, executives, producers, engineers, and songwriters. Foley’s services include career guidance and direction, marketing, radio promotion, publicity, label shopping, and artist development, and his clients have earned a combined 40 Gold & Platinum Records & three Grammy® Awards. Foley has been a frequent contributor to music related features on MTV, VH1 & Fox, among many others.
~providing one-on-one indie music consulting & coaching~