Why should you promote music to radio?
It’s no secret that online streaming has become the standard in modern music consumption. However, you’d be surprised to know that traditional mediums still have their place in the music industry. In recent years vinyl has soared in popularity and CDs have seen a resurgence as well, jumping up 21% in sales in 2021.
With the popularity of playlist curation and song recommendations on platforms like Spotify, one might assume that radio has lost relevance. However, the reality is quite the contrary. Radio airplay continues to hold immense value for music artists and listeners alike – even in the age of streaming. While streaming platforms undoubtedly revolutionized how we discover new music, radio’s role remains significant. Does radio still matter? Yes, and here is why.
Radio is still breaking new artists
Radio offers a curated listening experience that extends beyond algorithms and user-generated playlists. Radio DJs and music directors curate playlists based on their understanding of the local audience’s tastes and trends. Local stations introduce listeners to tracks they might have never stumbled upon through algorithmic recommendations alone.
Established stations frequently showcase emerging talent, giving them a platform to reach a broader audience. This exposure can be instrumental in launching a music artist’s career. Radio provides a level of credibility and validation that can be challenging to achieve solely through streaming platforms. And it still plays a crucial role in breaking new artists.
Radio has a wide reach
With its wide reach and diverse listener base, radio remains a powerful platform for music artists to showcase their talents and connect with audiences. Unlike streaming platforms where listeners actively select their preferred tracks, radio offers a more passive listening experience. Listeners are exposed to a tastemaker’s hand-picked selection of artists, that they might not have encountered otherwise. This presents an opportunity for emerging artists to introduce their work to a potentially brand-new audience.
Radio airplay can lead to increased visibility, brand recognition, and even a dedicated fan base. Hearing a song repeatedly on the radio can create a sense of familiarity and attachment for listeners. This can translate into increased music sales, concert attendance, and online engagement.
Radio royalties vs. streaming royalties
One of the most compelling reasons for recording artists to pursue radio airplay is the potential for higher royalties compared to streaming platforms. While streaming services have transformed the music industry by offering easy access to a vast library of songs, they have also been criticized for their relatively low payouts to artists. On the other hand, radio royalties often prove to be more lucrative.
Radio airplay generates royalties through Performance Rights Organizations (PROs) such as ASCAP, BMI, SOCAN, and SESAC. These organizations collect royalties from radio stations and distribute them to songwriters, publishers, and performing artists. While streaming services pay a fraction of a cent per stream, the revenue generated from radio airplay is significantly higher on a per-play basis.
Promote your music to radio to get airplay
In the golden age of radio, artists relied heavily on record labels to secure airplay. Labels had established relationships with radio station programmers and could promote their artists more effectively. This often made it challenging for independent or emerging artists to break into the mainstream radio circuit.
Today’s digital age has transformed this landscape. Independent artists can use digital radio distribution platforms like Play MPE to showcase their music to hundreds of FM radio broadcasters around the world. You can use services like MTR to track your radio spins, analyzing the effectiveness of your radio campaign for a track.
Additionally, there are also radio shows dedicated to showcasing independent and emerging artists.
Promoting Your Song to Radio
As mentioned earlier, Play MPE is a simple, quick and effective way to pitch your track to a massive number of radio DJs. That being said, there is a bit of preparation needed before you start sending your music out. Radio stations can receive hundreds of submissions every day so you need to make sure to stand out from the crowd and also not do anything to get blacklisted.
- Research the Stations: You don’t want to send to every single station you find. Start by researching radio stations that align with your music genre and target audience. Look for stations that regularly play songs similar to yours. Consider factors like the station’s format (e.g., pop, rock, hip-hop). Submitting your song to stations not in your genre is a surefire way to get blacklisted by the station. Hot Tip – by using Play MPE’s Caster you can skip this step as Caster provides massive distribution lists in all music formats. Plus a pro team of industry experts who can help you choose the right lists that fit your specific music genre, format, and target territory!
- Prepare a Radio-Ready Track: Ensure your song is professionally recorded, mixed, and mastered. Radio stations have high-quality standards, so your music should meet these criteria. Make sure your song is in a radio-friendly format with clear intros and outros, free from excessive profanity, and within the typical radio length (around 3-4 minutes).
- Write an Engaging Pitch Email or Letter: Craft a compelling pitch email or letter introducing yourself and your music. Be concise and professional. Stations don’t have time to read massive emails. Include key information such as your artist name, song title, genre, and a brief bio. If appropriate, you can talk about the meaning behind the song. Also, try to mention any noteworthy achievements or accolades your music has received.
- Include a Press Kit: Attach a well-organized press kit to your pitch. This should include high-quality photos, a one-sheet or bio, links to your music and website, and any press coverage or reviews you’ve received. Make it easy for the station to learn more about you if they are interested.
- Customize Your Pitch: Curate your pitch for the type of radio station or DJ you are reaching out to. Show that you’ve done your research and know why your music is a good fit for that music format and thus, their audience.
- Follow Submission Guidelines: If you are not using a service like Play MPE, radio stations may have specific submission guidelines on their websites. Follow these guidelines carefully to ensure your pitch is considered. Some stations prefer digital submissions via email or their website, while others may accept physical CDs or promotional materials. But keep in mind, that many radio stations not only prefer to receive the latest releases in Play MPE’s Player – they may even insist on it.
- Follow-Up: Once you have released music via Play MPE’s Caster, give recipients some time to review your submission. (Check out these posts about following up for more Hot Tips. Part 1 and Part 2). If you haven’t received a response after a reasonable period – typically a few weeks – consider sending a polite follow-up email to inquire about the status of your submission.
In conclusion, while streaming platforms like Spotify and others have undoubtedly changed the way we discover music, radio remains a vital and relevant player in the music industry. Its financial benefits, curated playlists, role in breaking new artists, real-time engagement with listeners, and support for local music scenes continue to make it a valuable platform for both artists and music enthusiasts.
And of course, once you promote your music to radio with Caster – you will want to track. Head to MTR to learn more about Play MPE’s radio tracking tool!