It’s almost every artiste’s dream to have their music heard on radio. Not every artiste makes music that falls within a radio format. Not every artiste NEEDS radio for success. Nevertheless, radio is still is a huge platform and the most trusted music platform on the island; if used strategically it can be a significant boost to your musical career.
Still many artistes think that they can approach radio without a plan. Many cds have ended up as coasters and in garbage with that flawed logic. Deejays are humans meaning there are genuinely good people and lots of assholes. All of them care about making money. All care about playing good music, if only because it’s a good look on them. The radio station is a whole new world and you need to know the rules otherwise very quickly it can be game over. Here are a few tips to help you on your way.
Submit a Quality Product
If you’re an artiste reading this I see you smirking. I’m not talking about artistic quality here. I’m specifically referring to your recording. Recording in your bedroom won’t work. Recording on a proper mic but failing to get your song properly mixed and mastered won’t work. If you don’t know what these terms mean it’s time to do some googling and reading. Time and time again deejays reject songs specifically on quality. Sometimes it’s an excuse of course but why give them one? There are many good studios in T+T that can provide you with a great product one of them of course being Future Crab Studios.
Build your Skills
A lot of artistes want to go from their first recording to radio. If this is you I’m here to inform you, that’s the main reason your music isn’t getting played. You aren’t good enough…yet. Unless you have something viral, and if you do it will be a hit regardless, take the time to develop. Find your voice. Visit open mics. Do a few live performances monthly. Source more opinions OUTSIDE your close friends and family. When you start building a fan base outside of people who would donate a kidney to you THEN my friend, is the time to consider radio.
Build your Brand
Ok so your skills are coming in. That’s good to know. Does anybody know you though? Do you have a social media presence. Facebook? Instagram? Twitter? Do you have a website? Do you have good photos of yourself? Have you even uploaded music that people can listen to? Are you ENGAGING people? Buying followers or likes is not the same thing. And that’s just online.
As harsh as it can be, don’t neglect the world outside the Matrix. Attend artiste events and network. Network, network, network. Attend events where influencers are and introduce yourself. Be genuine and make yourself an asset. Don’t try to suck up because too many people do that. Don’t come with a “gimme gimme” attitude. Just introduce yourself and be professional.
Ensure that any performance you get, you kill while putting your unique stamp on it. And most fundamental of all, who are you? This will inform all and any promotion you do whether online or off. Your artistic character needs to come off authentic so ensure that even if it’s exaggerated, it’s based on YOU. Once you can stand out you’ll find that the Program Directors and deejays you’re trying to impress will already have heard of you making it that much easier for them to play your music.
Do your Homework
Like most things, radio is it’s own world with it’s own rules and regulations. For e.g. a lot of artistes will just go to a station and leave a cd with no information in the lap of the first person they spot as they enter the building – usually security now waking up from bepping. Do you know that all radio stations have guidelines for submissions? Some prefer email, addressed to a specific person. Some prefer physical submission – yes in 2017 some still do. Some request a specific format such as wav. And all require you attach pertinent information such as name, contact, information regarding the track etc. How can someone contact you for a radio interview if you didn’t leave a phone number?
Additionally, you really have to know WHO to send it to. If you leave a cd with the janitor, it won’t get played. If you leave your cd with a random deejay, it probably won’t get played. You need to find out who is the DECISION MAKER and place your efforts there. In most stations you want to find out who is the PROGRAM DIRECTOR aka the person who decides what gets played. And trust me, each radio station in T+T is unique. How do you find out? Well it’s a complex strategy that I was able to execute after roughly a day of planning. It’s called “walking into the radio station and asking a few questions”. If you practice you MAY be able to pull it off.
Besides submission, if you want to get played on radio you have to know what type of music the station you are targeting plays. If you bring rock to an urban station it’s actually better you just drop your music in the nearest bin. Radio stations play songs based on a format and if your song can fit into an existing one you have a better chance. For e.g. with soca bpm is a thing to take note of. With hip hop, the type of hip hop is something to observe. I’m definitely not saying to create music for a format eh. I’m saying, when your music is finished, see what format it fits into and market to suit. It’s all about increasing your chances of reaching your goals.
Don’t Focus on Radio
This may seem counter-intuitive but it’s actually the most effective technique for getting played on radio. Focus on building yourself and YOUR brand. Radio is just another tool, ONE other way to reach fans. If you release a video that garners at least 100,000 views on YouTube, trust me, you won’t have to submit to radio. T+T radio will rip your song and play it without your permission. If you can consistently get 200 people to attend a live show every month consistently, a deejay will eventually approach you for your music.
All radio stations make their money through advertising and ears are their most valuable resource. If you can prove that you already have plenty ears, they will be happy to work with you. It won’t be a risk for them to play your music. So work on growing your fan base. Seek to earn money from shows and merchandise sales. Keep submitting to radio yes but focus on what made you do music in the first place. And trust me, by the time your music starts playing on radio, you will wonder why you even obsessed with it in the first place.