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An Indie Artist Pipeline to Internet Radio
Monday, April 15, 2013
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Taking Apart Content You Put Together

We've all heard the mantra "Content is King." The definition of "content," though, depends on which glasses your wear. If your concern is based in the online radio industry, content is the entire programming platform. If you're a band member or solo artist, content means songs you produce.

In either case, regardless of your feeling about the quality of your content, please accept this: It's no longer content that's king. Being found among a flotilla of competition, and then being given a person's time to discover your excellent content, is where the new "King" sits.
"Content is no longer King. Discovery has taken its place on the throne, and the challenge for the internet radio industry and indie artists is to find ways of placing your content in front of people who are looking."

Let's tackle what's produced by thousands of stations comprising our neophyte internet radio industry. Does anyone you know use more than 4-6 radio stations? Where it was once popular to have 2-3 primary stations, supported by a couple more that expand your selection, what's presented to the public today is a rotating selection of audio services - some are called radio, others are music playlists, but 4-6 appears to be the maximum number given attention at any one time.

The only common denominator between them is in the flow of music or talk topics. The best way to demonstrate this is to explain that, online, unless you are broadcasting to a specific geographic area, it's impossible to have a "morning show." What's "morning" where you're at is afternoon elsewhere, or even the next day if the listener resides in Australia.

Online there is no dayparting, which makes the radio industry's practice of streaming over-the-air signals a weak attempt at being digital. If you're a pure-play online radio station pumping out "The Top Ten at Ten," you have to wonder how this is perceived a few time zones to the East.

Relevancy of daypart isn't a viable basis for building radio programs anymore. What is? Wrapping your content around lifestyles, like "Biker Radio," out of Truro, Canada. is another excellent packaged presentation. So is - which is owned by the same individual. Neither of the above depends on the specifics of "how" the content is put together, yet both benefit from the specificity in declaring what sector of audience they serve. Notice how these names reflect what's inside, which helps the discovery process when it's controlled by search or social media algorithms. (Domain specificity is a topic we'll cover at a later time.)

Bands face a far more difficult row to hoe. Your name is usually not descriptive of your music's style (your content). Add to this that competition is many times that of the online radio industry and it is evident how getting your music distributed to those who are most likely to consider it "King" is your biggest problem - not whether the music is good.

Another hurdle for the artist is adhering to this adage: Never let the success of failure of any one song determine your self worth. If a song fails you must produce and distribute another. Same if it succeeds.

The term "one hit wonder" is part of music industry lexicon for a reason. It happens often. Happening more often is the band which produces great music but isn't able to produce a hit. Audio Graphics' RRadio Music is filled with top quality artists. What holds "discovery" of them back is not quality, but the time required by programmers to uncover songs which best fit their needs.

I often get requests to listen to a band's songs and to send advice on whether they have what programmers are looking for. The request is always denied because what the requesting party does not realize is it takes as much time to hear good songs as it does to uncover the bad. Running a tight schedule, and having created a system where songs are served to me in chronological order (so no favoritism exists), I stick to "the system."

It boils down to not mattering how good the songs are, but if they are served; which is similar to how the public (and programmers) discover new music.

Content is no longer King. Discovery has taken its place on the throne, and the challenge for the internet radio industry and indie artists is to find ways of placing your content in front of people who are looking.

A person finds and returns to approximately 4-6 primary radio stations. Due to the split given between time spent discovering new and listening to familiar songs, for artists, being found is more difficult.

While stations and artists depend on having quality content, each is dependent on being in the right place at the right time. That is better said as being discovered is easiest when being sought.

Knowing the above, here is your most important take-away: Search, social, word of mouth, and paid ads are all part of the discovery process. Sitting back and waiting is not (neither is depending on your content being King).

No one is taking apart the content you put together. They're just thinking, "This is good, I'm glad I found it."

While the broadcast side of radio has a near lockout on indie artists, introducing music is open wide to internet stations.
A Pop artist to consider:
Dolly Rappaport

sample song
My Heart Belongs to You

Download Song


We listen for songs that evoke emotion; fast, slow, female, male, group, it doesn't matter. When an artist has the power to please, they should be given a chance to be heard.

Give Dolly Rappaport's "My Heart Belongs to You" a listen.

Add it to your playlist, free! Such is the new world of music distribution.

The radio industry had its shot. It's time internet radio programmers take a chance and reach into a huge pile of talent. It is there that new hit songs will increasingly be found.

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