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Hot Tips: is radio good for music promotion?

Katy Krassner

June 27, 2024

Video didn’t kill the radio star and neither did streaming. Radio is still a very important part of releasing new music. There are many ways to launch a music career, but here’s a hot tip: radio is still a significant step in establishing an artist. Is radio good for music promotion? Yes. Here’s why.

Streaming vs radio

Despite what is heard (pun intended!) on the news, not everyone listens to music via streaming. According to Edison Research, 70% of people who drive primarily listen to the radio while in the car. Edison Research further states that among 13–24-year-olds, 49% of their audio listening in a car is via an AM/FM receiver.

OK, so people still listen to radio – but why is it important for musicians to even bother with that step? Isn’t touring where it’s at? Not entirely. There’s a credibility that comes with hearing a song on the radio. There is also a sense of pride when a listener hears a band they “discovered” being played on terrestrial radio. Additionally, radio still has the ability to expose listeners to different types of music, and that happens less frequently on streaming services. When an artist is heard on a streaming platform, the algorithm suggests similar sounding music. That’s not the case with radio, which give people an opportunity to hear something that isn’t like the song that was played before. 

Taking your music to radio

If a musician is serious about taking their music to radio, the first step could be to work with an independent radio promoter. Especially key for bands that are not signed by a label, a radio promoter acts as a middle person by speaking to program directors, music directors and DJs in hopes of getting the song on air. It’s more involved than what can be written in this blog, but if an artist has a good radio promo team, they will get airplay.  A better investment could be Play MPE’s service, Caster.  A professional promo tool that sends music to verified decision-makers at radio, in music supervision, at ad agencies and more, Caster lets an artist, or label, tailor their approach. While major labels do use the service, it’s available to anyone, and can be customized to reach a specific audience, be it Hot AC, Top 40, Urban or Dance. It’s not just limited to North America either, which makes it a great option for unsigned talent. Caster also has a very strong college radio list. Known for taking chances, college stations are more open to diversity of genres, and don’t care if an act is signed or not. 

Radio isn’t going anywhere

If an artist decides to use Caster, a great compliment to it is Play MPE’s newly launched service, MTR (meter). To put it simply, MTR tracks airplay, providing real time reporting from over 5,000 stations. Joining is free, and users only start to pay when they’ve uploaded a song. Once MTR detects airplay, it’s shown in a dashboard along with the station name, city and dayparts. This provides invaluable information that can help refine a promo strategy, help a band plan a tour in areas they’re getting airplay and can also serve as an additional way to keep track of royalties received when an artist’s song is played on the radio.

We are hoping this has answered some questions about radio’s relevance. Radio isn’t going anywhere, and is, in fact, more prevalent in daily life than one might have thought. Next month, we’re going to give you some tips on the finer details of releasing a song to radio, In the meantime, as the late great radio DJ Casey Kasem would say, “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars..”

Invisible airwaves crackle with life
Bright antennas bristle with the energy
” – The Spirit of the Radio, RUSH

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