DIY Radio Promotion: 3 Steps To Get A Song On The Radio

You have great music but don’t know how to get it played on the radio? Here are a few steps you can follow to make that happen!

1. Get Ready / Prepare your profile / Prepare your music // 2. Do your research / Choose the radio stations that fit best your music / Define how to contact them // 3. Send out, be patient, repeat / Keep it personal / Keep on grinding

1. GET READY

Prepare your profile

Radio stations receive hundreds (if not thousands) of songs daily, so it’s very important to make a good first impression!

> Online presence Where do you/a fan/a radio director go to find out more about an artist? The internet! So make sure your social media pages and/or website are clean, active, consistent and up-to-date. No need to be present everywhere, just select the platforms which fit you best. 
 > Visual identity‍ A picture can say a thousand words, so make the most of it! Your visual identity is an extension of your artistic world. People already know what you want them to hear, but what do you want them to see (e.g. logo, artwork, content, clothing, persona)? A solid visual identity not only makes your project look professional but also memorable! ‍
 > Press kit‍ Regardless of how long you have been an artist, it is essential to have a brief document, easy to share, which highlights who you are and what you have done. Depending on your experience, include: a compelling biography, high-resolution pictures, facts about yourself, past tour dates, marketing assets, features in articles and media mentions. In short, anything that makes you look good.

> Online presence

Where do you/a fan/a radio director go to find out more about an artist? The internet! So make sure your social media pages and/or website are clean, active, consistent and up-to-date. No need to be present everywhere, just select the platforms which fit you best.


> Visual identity

A picture can say a thousand words, so make the most of it! People already know what you want them to hear, but what do you want them to see (logo, artwork, content, clothing)? A solid visual identity not only makes your project look professional but also memorable!


> Press kit

Regardless of how long you have been an artist, it is essential to have a brief document, easy to share, which highlights your story and includes: a compelling biography, pictures, tour dates, features in articles and media mentions. In short, anything that makes you look good.

Prepare your music

Once your profile is ready, prepare your music. The quality of your song reflects how serious you are about your project, so make sure it is on point. 

> Quality Radio hosts are not label managers, they are not looking for raw demos to sign but quality music which sounds original and is well produced. Simply put, if your song does not match the quality standards then it will not be played. Remember that radio curators also receive submissions from major labels and PR agencies... To compete with them you need to step up your game and prove that your music is worth being played too. Don’t hesitate to get help from a sound engineer to do the mixing and mastering of your song in high quality audio formats (.wav, 16bits, 44100htz). 
 > Clarity Correctly fill in the metadata (digital information) of your song (e.g. title, performer, author, composer, producer, ISRC code). Every detail counts to get your music on air. It’s all about anticipating questions a radio director may have. If all the information is already there, he won’t need to reach out to you and will be able to play the song directly on air.  ‍
 > Accessibility Your music needs to be easily shareable online. Like many of us, radio stations prefer to receive links, with the option to download songs, rather than email attachments. A private Soundcloud link is a great option. It makes their lives easier, thus happier, so might as well get them in a good mood before hearing your song!

> Quality

Radio hosts are not label managers looking for demos to sign but. They want music which matches quality standards. They also receive submissions from major labels/PR agencies, so to compete prove your music is worth being played too! Don’t hesitate to get help from a sound engineer for the mixing/mastering of your song.


> Clarity

Correctly fill in the metadata (digital information) of your song (title, performer, author, composer, producer, ISRC code). Every detail counts to get your music on air. If all the information is already there, the radio host will be able to play the song directly on air. 


> Accessibility

Like many of us, radio stations prefer to receive links, with the option to download songs, rather than email attachments. A private Soundcloud link is a great option. It makes their lives easier, thus happier, so might as well get them in a good mood before hearing your song!


2. DO YOUR RESEARCH

Choose the radio stations that fit best your music

Next step is to decide which stations to target. In other words, which radios are the most likely and suitable for your music.

> Size & type The two main segments to be aware of are “commercial radio” and “non-commercial radio”. Non-commercial radio encompasses college radios, public radio stations, and all radios that don’t play commercials (ads). As an upcoming artist it is a good place to start because they are generally run by friendly music lovers, keen to discover new artists. Getting airplay on these kinds of radios is in no way “less” valuable than getting played on commercial radios. In fact, it is a great way for commercial radios to take notice of your music. The Cure, Sonic Youth, and The Smiths actually got their first plays on college radios!
 Think of radio as climbing a ladder. Once you start getting airplay on small non-commercial radios, medium ones follow, then commercial ones, etc. However, before playing your song on air, commercial radios judge if your song can potentially increase their ratings and revenue. An important factor in their decision-making is the overall look, professionalism and advancement of your project. Remaining active online, playing gigs, getting media coverage and releasing new music are great ways to showcase the evolution of your project, and will definitely work in your favor to accelerate the snowball effect from non-commercial to commercial radio.
 > Audience & music genre ‍Considering a radio’s audience and music genre is key to optimize your efforts and get heard by the right people. There is no need to reach out to a Jazz radio if you are a rapper for instance.   > Location ‍Think local before global. Why so? Well, many radio stations often prefer to push local acts, so use that “local” card at your advantage! As to find stations abroad, you can use radio station locators available online - websites that filter radios by region, city, country, and genre.

> Size & type

“Commercial radio” vs. “Non-commercial radio”. Non-commercial radio encompasses all radios that don’t play commercials (ads). As an upcoming artist it is a good place to start because they are generally run by friendly music lovers, looking for new artists. Getting airplay on these kinds of radios is a great way for commercial radios to take notice of your music. Did you know that The Cure, Sonic Youth, and The Smiths' first airplays were on college radios!


> Audience & music genre

Considering a radio’s audience and music genre is key to optimize your efforts and get heard by the right people. No need to reach out to a Jazz radio if you are a rapper for instance.

 

> Location

Think local before global. Why so? Well, many radio stations often prefer to push local acts, so use that “local” card at your advantage!


Define how to contact radio stations

Once you have figured out which radio stations you want your music to be played on, find out how to contact them.

> Reach out to specific people‍ Look for the contact information of specific people who work at the radio station: the music director, station manager, program director, production manager, or DJ - the ones in charge of music programming (receiving, selecting, and playing music). May it be in person, through social media or via email, direct personal connections are gold and very valuable to develop your career. Remember music is not just about what you do in the studio, it’s also a community! ‍ > Online‍ If finding a person's email doesn't seem like the best way to go, look up and write to the station’s website or social media pages. They will b able to redirect you and give you guidelines on how to submit your music. Some stations even have online submission forms. For example, BBC Introducing asks you to create an artist profile to upload your songs to their system: Introducing Uploader.

> Reach out to specific people

Look for the contact information of specific people who work at the radio station: the music director, station manager, program director, production manager, or DJ - the ones in charge of music programming (receiving, selecting, and playing music). May it be in person, through social media or via email, direct personal connections are gold and very valuable to develop your career. Remember music is not just about what you do in the studio, it’s also a community!

> Online

If finding a person's email doesn't seem like the best way to go, look up and write to the station’s website or social media pages. They will b able to redirect you and give you guidelines on how to submit your music. Some stations even have online submission forms. For example, BBC Introducing asks you to create an artist profile to upload your songs to their system: Introducing Uploader.

3. SEND, BE PATIENT, REPEAT

Keep it personal
 If there is one universal truth, it’s that nobody likes receiving a copy-pasted message. How would you react if somebody sent you “Hi Mark”, and that your name is Julie? Radio stations are the same. Each one is unique so customize your submissions! Keep it personal, genuine and short. A personalized message is far more likely to catch a music director or DJ's eye than an email that's been sent to 100 other radios. 
 Once your song is sent, give them a few days, weeks, and sometimes months, to get back to you. No need to harass them with follow-ups. Let time run its course. Once you consider the right amount of time has passed, reach out to them with a friendly email. Do not be aggressive or accusatory, a simple email to know if they heard your song is enough. ‍ Keep on grinding
 Sending music to radio stations is similar to getting your music signed to a record label. It’s all about patience, dedication and accepting rejection. Being rejected doesn’t mean your music is bad. Everyone goes through rejection, and it’s an integral part of every artist’s career. Maybe it wasn’t the right time, the right song… Don’t overthink it and keep grinding. Perseverance is key to succeed in the music industry. Never quit and your airplay will follow. If you want to accelerate the process, you can always hire a radio plugger. Thanks to his long list of contacts, he will act as a mediator between you and the radio stations. On your own or with a team, you can make it on air, so do not dismiss any opportunity!

Keep it personal

If there is one universal truth, it’s that nobody likes receiving a copy-pasted message. How would you react if somebody sent you “Hi Mark”, and that your name is Julie? Radio stations are the same. Each one is unique so customize your submissions! Keep it personal and short.

Once your song is sent, give them some time to get back to you. No need to harass them with follow-ups. Once you consider the right amount of time has passed, reach out to them with a friendly email. Do not be aggressive or accusatory, simply ask if they heard your song.

Keep on grinding

Sending music to radio stations is similar to getting signed to a record label. It’s all about patience, dedication and accepting rejection. Being rejected is an integral part of every artist’s career, so don’t overthink it. Perseverance is key to succeed in the music industry. Never quit and your airplay will follow. If you want to accelerate the process, you can hire a radio plugger. Thanks to his long list of contacts, he will act as a mediator between you and the radio stations. On your own or with a team, you can make it On Air, so do not dismiss any opportunity!


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