How to get radio airplay? I can tell you that was the first question on my mind when I was near to finalizing the production of my first single. This is where belief in your creation can waver, when your rational mind starts throwing doubt about:
"there are millions of songs out there",
"I'm competing against established stars",
" the DJs don't know who I am".
This is when you need to hold firm and BELIEVE.
"Hey there are thousands of radio stations out there"
"There are radio stations specializing in new indie music"
"I've come this far I can't stop now"
Once you are at this point you are ready to roll.
How to Get Radio Airplay
Let's start with the main radio station types out there.
There are the big national and international stations whose playlists are pretty much dictated by their big clients
Other FM stations that my be monitored by the charting companies
FM stations un-monitored
Internet Radio stations monitored / un-monitored
So right away we can see there is no need for reliance on the big stations to get exposure initially. So, how to get radio airplay depends on your objective and your status. In this blog I am going to assume 1) you are not already a superstar and that most of the marketing effort is being carried out by the artist/band 2) the main objective is to just get airplay.
The Cold Call
This is always an option and I found that a two pronged approach is best for efficiency rather than doing everything yourself. As with ALL marketing some things you can do cost nothing other things need you to invest some cash.
As an Indie I did not have time to collate and send out mass emails to hundreds of radio stations who probably have spam filters on. You have to do a bit of research, but I start out with a campaign with one of the music promotion service companies out there. This does not cost an arm and a leg and the better ones will usual include a mail shot to hundreds of DJs and radio stations. This leaves time to do some specific and more personal cold calling to radio stations. This will be to either niche radio stations that I know about or radio stations that I know play my genre. This makes it easier to be relevant when you make contact.
Not all stations have submission pages. For example, if you do an internet search for, say, 'submit music' a lot of stations may not come up as a 'hit'. I found an alternative approach more useful which was to use Twitter. Do a search on Twitter for radio stations in your genre and 'follow' them. Then, when you have your marketing hat on you now have a 'database' to start from.
Time is precious, so this approach enables you to a) see if there is any activity on Twitter (when last did they tweet, no activity for months would put them way down on my list). Also, there will usually be a link to their website on their profile. From there you can see if they have submission or contact details. In many cases it is just a contact / message page. But don't let this stop you as I have had success from just sending a message. Remember there is competition for good new music.
I use links in my messages not attachments as this is quicker for sending messages and easier for the recipient to preview and download if interested. Use whatever cloud based storage is appropriate e.g. Dropbox, Google Drive, etc. These should be links to, the song, cover art, website if available. If you have these links on a document, then. it is easy to cut and paste these into the messages.
Paid Radio Airplay
This is another way to get radio airplay and using this option will depend on your budget, objectives and timelines. It does work however, this can be fraught with danger. Not physical, but the spend my hard earned money with nothing in return type of danger, as I have found to my cost. This option doesn't need to blow the marketing budget. The services / stations are actively looking for Indie submissions and will have several promotion packages available one likely to suit your budget..
Many services advertise radio spins, radio promo, guaranteed radio airplay but there is an element of trust when procuring these services as there are those who are quite willing to take your money for minimal or no return. At the same time, there are some really good services out there and below are the things I look for in order to reduce the reliance on trust. If you can tick the boxes on most of these, then, it's a good start in ensuring you will receive the service you expect.
Do they have a twitter @handle
Have they posted recently? When was the last time they tweeted
Do they offer to tag you in a post when the song is playing (check their posts for other artists)
Will they actively promote / mention your song? (check their Twitter and Instagram feed for other artists)
Do they offer you the schedule for the spins? (which show, how many times a day).
Do they mention the artist or just include the song on rotation? (this depends on what exposure you are looking for)
Are their shows available for download e.g. on their website, Mixcloud, Spreaker etc?
Do they offer proof of delivery?
Are the reviews good? What are other artists / producers saying? (it's unlikely you will be the first to use them)
I am not saying that everything listed above must be in place but, in my experience, the best services will have a tick against most of the above.
Check out these examples ( I have no stake in these services or receive any remuneration from them, only that I have used them successfully for my genre).
Well, I'm not talking about the last frontier. While doing a bit of an audit on the digital music distribution platforms that my songs are on, I realised I couldn't find all my tracks on my artist page. I did a search of the missing tracks and they were there on the stores. So what was going on?
At first I thought this was a mess up by the store. When I looked closely at the pages there was a subtle difference one was 'Miss Tun Pickney' the other 'MissTun Pickney'. Just a missing space but what problems it created!
Miss Tun Pickney Artist page
So what Are the options to Fix an Artist Page?
A. Contact each store individually. This as you can imagine would be a nightmare unless you only distributed your song to a small number of stores. Even then, unless, they have Artist services e.g. Spotify for Artists, it is difficult to get a response.
B. Take down the song and distribute again. This means cancelling the distribution with your distribution company and creating another distribution (another fee and UPC). The stores take down the original entry and add the new entry.
I tried A. with Apple Music and they sorted it. But I had subscribed to their beta Apple for Artists. So contacting them was easier. In the end option B. was easier for me. I was told that the streaming stats would be lost. But I found that the history continued on the new distribution, in the case of Spotify anyway. But it was a lesson learnt. I now TRIPLE CHECK, CHECK and CHECK AGAIN all the song details before clicking that submit button.
Keep feeling the vibe
Find More on Dingazz Music Website
Hope whatever you are working towards is on the right track (no pun intended).
The next single is a bit different, a semi-acoustic, a fusion of reggae, RnB and a touch of Country. I felt the song needed a different type of vocalist so, I have collaborated with 'Tony Mac' a great international vocalist from the US.
The song is about a relationship that just cannot happen, although, what connection and moments that are possible, makes the heartache worthwhile.
This is a song I wrote a few years ago and submitted to an international songwriting contest where it reached the semi-finals. So I thought it was about time I got it out there. Above is the cover art for the single. The song is in the final stages of production and I'll let you know as soon as it is available but be sure you'll get a preview first.
It has been a while since my last post so this is what has been happening.
I have been writing some songs for the upcoming album by Leroy Mafia, his first for many years and promises to be great album. I'll keep you posted when I have more details on the release.
Got a couple of songs into the semi-finals of the UK Songwriting Contest 2018. It's good to test yourself against your peers. We can all be delusional at times 😆
I have joined the 'Number One Music' platform and have had some good engagement reaching #10 in their UK charts. Miss Tun Pickney page on numberonemusic.com
Time time time! This limited resource always needs managing so I have made some life decisions that mean I now have more time to spend on music. I'm really looking forward to be able to increase my output.
So I continue the writing and you'll see the outcome starting with a song now in production entitled 'Warrior'. More details soon.
Another roundup of what's been happening. Well, been finishing off the next single 'Paint a Better Tomorrow' by Miss Tun Pickney. What's it about? Well, I am a great believer in positive music and the power music has to initiate change. So, the main theme of the song is that there is always an opportunity to make a change. The first line of the song is:'Though today is another day it doesn't mean the same outcome as yesterday'. We can all put our energies into painting a better tomorrow. As is usual with songwriting themes are drawn from experience. I wouldn't be writing this blog if I hadn't believed there could be a better tomorrow. So getting painting people.
#PROMOTION one the 'must dos' for an independent. As usual the big question is on what and where do I spend my limited promotion budget. There are so many promotion services being offered on social media, many not worth spending that hard earned cash on. From my experience I find the spammy type of promotion e.g. I will blast your single to a million potential fans, hasn't worked for me. Music is so subjective, unless you target people who might like your music what is the point. So, I use promotion that is targeted, where I can either target the audience or the provider is already targeting a certain audience.
One type of promotion I use is Radio, FM and Internet. There are many that specialise in Indie artists and are often syndicated, meaning, their shows are played on other stations too. With a good station you will get tweets when your track is played that you can retweet to your followers. One station I am using at the moment, to promote an earlier release is Trend City Radio The station is not a reggae specialist but, I have had some good engagement and feedback. My track got voted into their Top 25 last week (see below). This is what you want as an Indie to broaden your appeal.
Launched my merchandise store this week. There are different ways of selling merchandise and with so many activities to take care of as an Indie, I decided I could not allocate enough time to deal with buying merchandise and shipping. So, I went for a managed service. My store is hosted by Zazzle
DingazzMusic Reggae Merchandise
You can see some of the items on the panel on the right. I create the designs and Zazzle take care of stock and shipping. I receive a royalty payment from sales but, there are other ways of earning income from them. The profits may not be as high as compared to having an independent store, but for me, making the best use of my time is what matters.
I'M FOLLOWING @ Twitterbusiness
There are some good tools associated with Twitter that are not widely known. @twitterbusiness has some good ideas to make Twitter work better for you. Worth a try.
Until next time
Well it's been another couple of weeks so what's been happening?
Still festival season and one the of the best is #RototumSunsplash in Spain. The line up included #Chronixx, The Wailers, U Roy, Big Youth and #Luciano. Check out this video of the Luciano set backed by the Mafia and Fluxy Band Luciano Rototum Sunsplash
Been in the studio myself working on some arrangements and laying down some demos. A mix of Roots and Culture and Lovers Rock. Planning to get them voiced by established vocalists. Got a couple in mind. I'll keep you posted.
Brought in Mafia & Fluxy to work on the riddims. We layed down the demos in Studio H in Spain and plan to finish them in London. It was a wicked session so stay tuned.
The world seems to be on the brink at the moment with great change and fear on everyones lips. This is a time when music especially songwriters and musicians can play a big part in getting the right message out there. Counter all the negativity that seems to be around. This is why I believe there is a rise in the popularity of reggae music. It is a music that has always been able to standup for truth and rights. Therefore, it has integrity when the artists sing of roots and culture, truth and rights, reality.
Rotor Videos @rotorvideos http://rotorvideos.com
Making music videos on a budget is not easy so check out these guys. For a relatively small outlay they have a a product that will give you a music video to be proud of. I tried them out for a dub track I wanted a music video for, see what you think Innocent Dub
Next roundup in a couple of weeks
The summer has been full of #festivals across Europe, in particular # reggaefestivals. Last week #ReggaeGeel (Reggaegeel Website) took place in Brussels. The line up included #Chronixx #MaxiPriest #RagingFyah #Capleton #BlackUhuru #Mafia&Fluxy
It is good to see major acts supporting these festivals
The great man #UsianBolt was in London for the IAAF World Athletics championship. He couldn't quite give everyone the happy ending they wanted but, has anyone ever done so much to raise the profile of Jamaica since #BobMarley
I have been concentrating on songwriting and entered a couple of songs in this years UK Songwriting Contest. It is a good well run competition and at the end you get the judges marks for your song and a certificate even if you don't make the finals.
Been Planning the next two singles. These will be a collaboration with featured artists. Will keep you posted.
Connected with @lightaSoundboy this week. Reggae is alive in Africa. Check out the video below of the single Mama Africa
So much has already been written about Bob Marley. Thirty six years after his death his influence still lives on all over the world.
As with many great people their time in this world can only be put in context when they are gone. The influence Bob Marley had on reggae cannot be understated and even now there is no one artist who can claim to pick up the mantle he left and take reggae to new heights.
One of my early memories of Bob Marley, which really sealed his greatness in my eyes, was seeing Bob Marley on the main news bulletin. Back then, a black man with dreadlocks on the news was less frequent than a lunar eclipse. Anyway, the main impact he left on me was the power of music. He proved that music really can change things, it is some thing that can bring the most diverse personalities together. It can be a banner to focus the mind as we saw in the UK with the 'BandAid' concerts. This is something that is always at the back of my mind when I am songwriting. The song isn't just words it is creative energy that can grow and lead to change on a personal level or any other level.
Thank you Bob Marley for the enlightenment, you live on in the songs of peace, love and reggae.