On The Radio – Getting Played

So now that you’ve written that brilliant hit based on my recent song writing advice (;-) See here, here and here,  naturally, you want to get radio play. It’s still a major form of exposure, especially for people who aren’t already actively seeking new music (the majority of the world sadly). So how do you do it?

Start Local

Find local radio stations, or possibly specialist online stations that play your style or DJs who focus on new music. Send to them before you start your main radio promotion. Hopefully you can get some airplay and quotes from them which you can then use with the bigger fish.

Have CDs Available

While many stations are happy to work digitally many are just way too busy to download hundreds of MP3s every week, most of which they may never play. A pile of CDs is a whole lots easier to go through. Check with the station which they prefer.

Up All Night

Once you’ve had some plays on local and specialist shows the midnight to 4.00 AM slot should be your next target. And then those from 10.00PM to midnight.

Don’t Use Hype

People in the media know that new bands are struggling to get heard. Don’t try to lie about your “massive success”. Don’t claim “major support from local radio” if they played your song once. If you’re honest about the plays and quotes, you will build more support from people who’ve heard it all before.

Use BBC Introducing

This is how the BBC discover most of their new artists. If you upload a track at http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/introducing/uploader it WILL get listened to by a member of BBC staff. However it may take months before they get around to it so be patient.

Many acts such as Jessie J were discovered this way so it can work if your material is good enough.

Use A Radio Plugger

These are professionals who have access to important contacts at radio stations. They have regular meetings with the people who listen to new music at radio stations and for a fee they will play your songs to these key people. They usually get paid a flat fee plus bonuses, i.e. if your song is successful (number of plays, chart position, etc.) you pay them more money.

Shop around as fees vary but also check their past successes to be sure that they can do what they claim. Also bear in mind that if they regularly work for Sony, Warner, etc, that your songs may not get as high a billing as it could with a more independent plugger. It’s not unknown for a plugger who likes your song enough to work for no upfront fee. But this is rare so don’t expect it. And if it’s offered, grab it fast.

Good luck and I look forward to hearing you on the radio.