Tag Archives: Marketing

Planning Your Radio Promotion Campaign by Christopher Knab

The commercial radio industry couldn’t be less friendly to the independent musician. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t some significant radio airplay available to you if you know what you’re doing. Outlined below is a plan to consider if you have the three important ingredients necessary for working your record to radio.

  • The money to fund the campaign
  • The time to spend working all the stations consistently
  • A product that is ready for national airpla 

Forget About Commercial Radio Airplay
When it comes to commercial radio, the chances of getting significant national airplay for your independent record are next to none. We live in an era when a small group of powerful media conglomerates own and control the most important radio stations in the land. Unless you are connected to a major label, or are independently wealthy, the costs of promoting your songs nationally to commercial radio have spiraled out of sight.

There are, however, lots of mix shows and specialty shows on commercial stations that may offer limited airplay, and at least will get you some awareness in the markets across the country. There will be a lot of work involved in finding these stations yourself, city by city, and music format by music format. I suggest you subscribe to or get a copy of the annual CMJ Directory.

If you have money to invest in radio promotion it’s possible to hire an independent promoter who may be able to open some doors to these shows for you. Be prepared to spend several hundred dollars a week for their services.

Important rule about securing ANY airplay: If you have NOT made your music available in stores (either through traditional distributors or distribution into online stores like iTunes or Amazon.com) then FORGET about investing the time and money trying to get airplay. What’s the point? If a station plays your recording and people like your music – but can’t find it in their favorite store online – then they can’t buy your music. So get your distribution in place first!

A more realistic approach for airplay is to consider the options available on the noncommercial side of the FM dial. (88.1 FM to 91.9 FM) With the combination of college radio stations, community stations, and even some of the larger National Public Radio affiliated stations, your chances of getting your record played are much better.

Also, don’t forget those thousands of Internet radio stations that stream millions of songs a day. Google the phrase “Internet radio stations list,” and you will be amazed how many stations on the web play independent music of every imaginable type. Finding the most appropriate online Internet radio stations for your music can be a time-consuming process, but if you start by browsing the radio broadcast directories at Live365.com and Shoutcast.com , you’ll get a quick start. Many of these Internet stations play alternative acts. There are also channels on Satellite radio (XM/Sirius) that you can do some research into. If you own a Blackberry or an iPhone, there are several free apps that will give you access to these web broadcasters.

Below you will find an outline based on how Major and the better Independent record labels plan for their radio promotions. Seeing what they do might help you organize your thoughts for your own radio promotion campaign.

You need to prepare:

  • A database of commercial and non-commercial and Internet stations that realistically may play your music.
  • The timeline you’ll use to put the promotional material together (setting your deadlines).

Your radio promotion plan may be distributed to any helpers, volunteers or employees you may have for your own label, or any independent promotion people you may hire. This plan will be their introduction to your or your artist, and is the plan they will base their work on

Design a detailed overview of your radio promotion plan.

Consider all marketing and promotional ideas listed below. Propose what you think would work best in each of the areas to help market the record to radio.

Remember to keep cohesiveness between all areas: Give reasons why your music is appropriate to each station you approach. You will need several practical tools/materials to achieve your goals. (Computers, Smartphones, reliable Internet connection, hardware/software, office supplies, etc.)

Address the following specific topics in your plan:

  • Background/Goals: Give a brief history of the artist, and describe your goals
  • Image: Describe/ maintain the artist’s image consistently in all promo materials.
  • Radio: What radio format(s) will be targeted? What markets? Which songs? Any station promotions? (On-air concerts?) Hiring any Independent promoters?
  • Publicity: Describe your plans to create a “buzz” in the print media. Any press releases to the music industry trades? Update any bios, fact sheets, and electronic press materials.
  • Sales: Describe Distribution and Retail plans. Any in-store play/ promotions? Other specific sales opportunities? Mail order, live shows, Internet sales. Any store promotional tie-ins with radio stations?
  • Video: Is a video cost effective? What airplay opportunities are there for the video?
  • Touring: Describe the time frame for touring, and other promotional events to coordinate while on the road. Consider specific clubs, halls, fairs, festivals, club/venue promotional tie-ins with radio stations
  • Social Networking: Mention any Facebook, Twitter or other SN plans
  • Misc.: Having a record release party? Novelty items? Any other clever ideas?

Explain each idea in-depth !

Design a 12 week plan for the product and promotional tools.

  • Lay out what needs to be accomplished each week to get the record out.
  • Consider the: artwork, mastering, credits, sequencing, printing, pressing, booklets, layout/design. And be sure to convert your songs for online downloading!
  • Include in the timeline when to start working on your promotional tools
  • Design the timeline with deadlines for each element of your project.

Remember that your radio promotion campaign is part of what I refer to as the ‘Four-Fronts of Music Marketing’, and your plan must connect to all the other Fronts in order to be successful.

Always have distribution and sales plans, as well as publicity, advertising and touring plans coordinated carefully with your airplay campaign. The worst thing that can happen to any song on the radio is that someone hears the song, but can’t find a way to buy it. Professional record labels always have distribution and sales connections set up before they secure airplay. You should do the same..

Professional record labels always have distribution and sales connections set up before they secure airplay. You should do the same.

Planning Your  Radio Promotion Campaign


Woodstock To Coachella, How Smartphones Have Changed The Concert Experience [INFOGRAPHIC]

image from www.google.comTechnology has changed a lot about how concerts are marketed, ticketed and produced since Woodstock. Recently, the greatest driver of change – particularly from the fan perspective – has been the smartphone. From taking photos to texting friends and song requests, smartphones are changing how concerts are  consumed and remembered. But early glimpses of projects from Live Nation Labs and startups like Dave Kusek’s Tastemate show that we’re on at the start of a smartphone driven live music revolution. This infographic chronicles the journey so far:

Online Music Marketing – step by step plan by Ian

I came across this brilliant pdf report by Virgine Berger about a month ago that sets out a blueprint for your online music marketing and asked her if we could pass it on to you for free.

She was happy to let our readers have it, but we didn’t get round to posting it until now as we are still busy redesigning the site and preparing more great stuff that we will be adding when we have the makeover – we’re hoping that will be at some point in September. Thanks for putting up with our delays. Oh, and I am on holiday a lot with my kids too!

Social Media Strategy Map 300x255 Online Music Marketing   step by step planSo, when I read the pdf, I was very impressed. It covers all the things that you should be doing for music promotion online – why MySpace still counts, how to use Twitter, what Facebook can and can’t do for you etc. More importantly, it ties together all the strands that you need to be providing to your fans.

You can get your copy of Virginie’s report here –  ‘What is a good digital music Strategy’ pdf.

Why should you listen to Virginie?

Well, she is the former head of marketing for MySpace France. Now she works as a music marketer and with more than ten years in the entertainment industry (television channels, radio broadcast industry and digital music industry), she knows her stuff backwards.

Online Music Marketing – step by step plan

4 steps to take to market yourself as an independent artist

Disc Makers and TAXI present “Achieving Success With Your Music: Hard-hitting tips on marketing, A&R, record labels, and more”

What not to say to an A&R rep

Disc Makers and TAXI present “Achieving Success With Your Music: Hard-hitting tips on marketing, A&R, record labels, and more”

Top 10 Music PR tips for Today’s Unsigned Artist

As an unsigned artist, publicity is a huge driving force when you’re looking at success in the music industry. Although it’s definitely beneficial to retain a publicist once you have your music career in gear, you can still manage to create a little buzz on your own in the meantime. Below are the top ten tips for generating your own publicity as a music artist. 1. Make sure you have a press kit that includes a well-written bio, an 8X10 photo, CD and contact info.
2. Go local. Local press is by far the easiest press to get. Let them know your story and send in a CD. Shoot for the music editor or columnist and if they don’t have one assigned specifically, contact the entertainment editor.
3. Social networking sites are all about music these days. For example, Myspace’s reach is incredible for gaining new fans. Where else can you find people to listen to your music in the convenience of their own home? Make sure you are updating your music, adding friends, keeping them all posted, and updating the tour dates. There are magazines on Myspace looking for music to feature all the time.
4. Radio is a great way to share your music with the masses. You don’t have to approach the big ones—you can see success with air play on smaller stations as well. Send in your CD to local DJs and look up college radio shows nationally and see if they’ll spin your music. Online radio is picking up these days too… USA4Real.com is a great option… it doesn’t cost much and it gets your music heard.
5. Music licensing is a great way to make money and get publicity. Try contacting some music supervisors on TV shows for a start. Send them an inquiry with your information and a link to your music. If you get placed, you can use it for press—and it becomes a story!
6. Music websites and e-zines are always looking for music to review. Look up their websites and send emails to their editors. Tell them why you’re a fit for their magazine and ask if you can send in a CD. Again, try to make contact first… sending in a random package may be useless.
7. Youtube.com and Stickam.com are wonderful outlets to share your music. You can even upload your music videos and video tips for other artists now at Getsigned.com. Just Upload your videos HERE and they’ll be on the site in a couple of weeks when the new site re-launches! When done right, you can really start gaining a fan base. Try to do something charismatic and original. Reaching out to people online can do wonders. Create a music video, a video blog, sing an acoustic set, take a stab at some comedy– anything… Just remember, first impressions are everything.
8. Be philanthropic. Charity does wonders for publicity outreach. Find something you believe in and offer to play at their event or donate proceeds to their cause. Not only does it get you out there and give you a story angle… but it feels good to help out.
9. Send your CDs to appropriate magazines for your music’s genre. Make sure you call ahead and find out the right contact, unsolicited packages get lost in the shuffle. A good rule of thumb is to look up specific writers you feel would enjoy your music and find out how to reach them.
10. Try to book shows in different towns, that way you can easily label the cluster of shows as a tour and contact local newspapers and radio stations and offer them merch in exchange for promotions/articles.

Note that PR is about being smart and creative. It’s about finding a reason for people to care about you and your music. Sure, great music and a good look are helpful, but you also need to reach out to the public and come up with stories. Think outside of the box and you’ll really benefit from the results in no time. Good luck!

What is a Publicist and How Does a Publicity Campaign Work?

Curtis Smith, the head of Maelstrom Music and Maelstrom Music PR, walks us through the various ways that a publicist gets attention for an artist in the press, how a regional or national press campaign is orchestrated and what such a campaign can do for an artist’s reputation, and what publicists can and can’t do for an artist as part of their services.

What Gets Fans Engaged? SXSW Panel Explores Methods Beyond Facebook By Dan Rys


The “Secrets to Fan Engagement” panel at SXSW Music veered from the most effective methods of online engagement (Facebook took number one, with email blasts just below it and Twitter surprisingly far behind) to the ways in which innovative marketing strategies and events can bring in new fans and press.

Moderated by The Knitting Factory marketing director Valerie Gurka, the panel consisted of ReverbNation’s Lou Plaia, Stageit CEO Evan Lowenstein, World Cafe Live talent buyer Laura Wilson, and LYVA Music founder Lynda McLaughlin.

One effective method of engagement came through Stageit’s live-streamed performance platform, where artists can sell tickets to performances that can take place in their bedrooms or kitchens, and allows them to limit tickets to provide an air of exclusivity, while video interactions with fans resonated so well that it represented the third-best method of engagement, ahead of blogs and radio. “I don’t think there’s any way to undervalue a video,” said McLaughlin.


McLaughlin also promoted creative events as a good way to generate buzz, noting a friend who ran an unofficial Hooker Runway party at CMJ this year that garnered press in droves, mostly because of its unique cache. “There’s no golden rule of how to do it, but it’s really powerful to do something no one else is doing,” she said.

Wilson, representing World Cafe Live from Philadelphia, also agreed, saying the her venue has positioned itself as one that often offers meet and greets and special events that bring fans and artists together, crafting that into a reputation for the venue in the process. Special event-based shows or concerts also serve as good ways to bring in diverse crowds, such as partnering with local businesses to put a new spin on a concert or help promote a show.

But the most important aspect the panel discussed was having a continuous conversation with fans, and offering them creative content that acknowledges how important they are to artists. “You have to let people know they are part of a 2-way conversation,” said Plaia.

What Gets Fans Engaged? SXSW Panel Explores Methods Beyond Facebook

Inside the Marketing Department at Warner Bros. Music

Peter Standish, Vice President of Marketing at Warner Bros. Music, gives an insightful look into all the different parts of the Marketing Department at Warner Bros. Music. He goes onto explain his management techniques and how his job relates to the well-being of the artist.


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