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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

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How to Send Songs to a Radio Station

It's a subject that doesn't get much play today - how to get an indie artist's song to a radio station (or record rep).

We know of the hype of companies claiming to have the inside track, where the sell-line goes something like "your song distributed to thousands of radio programmers." Or, where the indie artist is told, "We'll send your music directly to executives in the record industry. Just send us $150...."
"Assess your options today. Target your recipients so you don't waste time, or theirs. And provide a link to your song, thereby eliminating the long download of an email with music attached."

Relative to reaching the broadcast radio industry or record labels with pull, it's practically all BS today. Yet there are quite a few bands who fall for these come-ons. So here are a few tips to save you money and time.

1) Always ask "Who is receiving my music?" And emphasize that "receiving" part. Just because there's a claim of having email addresses doesn't mean a mailing will result in people opening the email. A quick stat to mull over is that even using an opt-in email list, the percentage of "opens" is around 25%-30%. With opt-in, if a company claims to have a thousand email addresses to send to it's likely only 250-300 of them will be read. (Statistics say you'll get a response from only 0.04% of those.)

If the company you're paying to do a mailing is just sending out to a list its built by harvesting names, the open rate drops to approximately 1%-3%; and it's less than that if your distribution company just sends it out as spam.

2) NEVER attempt to send songs in an email. Contact individuals on your own but always do it in a text-based email, and include a link to the music you want the recipient to hear. Sending a song by email means you're pushing up to 5 megs of data in an email, and that's going to require the receiving person to wait while the email downloads. In many cases, as with Audio Graphics, songs received by email automatically go into the trash. It's wasted time for the sender.

3) Send an email to whatever radio station you want to reach by going to its web site and looking for the name of its programmer or someone in operations. In the first short sentence introduce yourself. In the second sentence request they listen, and include a link which plays the song. The third sentence should be a one-click response link which opens an email to request your song; your address, subject line, and a comment should be filled in for them (example). Having them click "reply" isn't as good.

4) Concentrate on sending music to online radio stations. Radio online shows the most interest in playing new songs. In many cases, corporate radio has a single person (or small group of people) who make judgment on which songs get airplay. And nearly all are tied so closely to large labels that the hopes of getting a new artist on a playlist are nearly non-existent.

These are just four simple steps in reaching out by email. If you choose social media, keep this stat in mind: Only about 11% of your Facebook friends will see a post from you. With its recent changes, the percentage is even lower.

Considering the competitive nature of online music today, thousands of bands are vying for the programmer's time. This makes an indie artist's biggest problem finding the person who's in a position to make decisions on which songs a radio station plays, then getting them to give you the minutes it requires to listen to your music.

The whole music distribution system has changed in ways nobody could have predicted only a decade ago. Assess your options today. Target your recipients so you don't waste time, or theirs. And provide a link to your song, thereby eliminating the long download of an email with music attached.

Following these simple rules won't guarantee you'll get someone's ear, but it will improve the chances you'll get better consideration to be heard.

Today's indie introduction is to...
Pop artists Norine Braun
sample song

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When an artist has the power to please they should be given a chance to be heard.

Give Norine Braun's "Drunk" a listen.

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