Category Archives: Indie Music Resources

Advice, insights, and other tips on ways to improve your branding to grow your audience and increase your exposure to media.

Which Specifics Lead To Getting Radio Airplay & Reviews

music submission tips how to get radio airplay growth farming for musiciansLet me tell you a little secret about how to get media (radio, music blogs, podcast hosts, etc) to  open your emails.

This secret is what gets them to actually read the email too. And reply to you so you can have a conversation about getting featured on their platform (radio station/show, blog, podcast, etc).

Certain Specifics Are Essential

I’m an uncommon person, meaning that I don’t do things that most people do. Most media people (or people in general) don’t open the majority of emails they get, especially from people they don’t know or have ever talked with.

They either don’t have time, and/or they have so many things on their plate that opening every message from a band announcing their release would take an eternity.

How do you think that musicians or promoters get through to radio and media for feature?

Most people assume that they hire a publicist or PR firm to do this effectively. Sure, you can try that. Your average PR campaign runs at $5000 on the cheap side.

Many of these PR companies send one big blanket email out to a few thousand email addresses. The email might have some nice images embedded, a lot of nice things said about the band and their new release, and even a few quotes or reviews.

These don’t get a response, usually. They don’t get opened much either.

The BIG reason for that is a lack of specifics.

I’m not like most of the media entities out there, even though I get a TON of emails sent to me daily from strangers, all wanting their music featured on my radio show and want to book an interview with me. The more music curators I talk with experience the same things I do.

Some of them reply and ask questions. Some just delete the email. All of them want you to know some specific things before you message them, and state specific things in your email. Here’s what you need to know before sending a cold email to a music curator to pitch your music.

Why Not Every Music Curator Responds To Email Pitches

Since I’m uncommon, I reply to people, even if their email doesn’t say what it is that they want from me.

My response always asks a question, because whether or not I am a good fit for them isn’t as important as them (potentially) seeing how a modification to their methods can bring about better results.

The first thing to be specific about is WHO you want to get in front of. Or better stated, WHO you want to contact.

This means that you’re contacting 1 person, not 10 or 100 people at one time.

One-person-connection is both a mindset shift in the way that you communicate, as well as a focus shift on reaching a particular person that you’ve identified as having your target audience.

You illustrate that you’re specific about wanting to reach this person in 2 ways:

  1. You name their station/program/blog/podcast/platform in the subject line
  2. You address them by name in the opening of the email, and state their platform name in the first paragraph (preferably in the first sentence or two) of your message

The reason why getting specifics on talking to 1 person matters is that the message is personal, targeted and meaningful to the person you want to reach.

How do you feel when someone sends you a spam, blanket email? Does it make you feel like they value you or want to connect with you at all?

Or does it make you feel like you’re just a nameless, faceless number to them?

When you identify a certain person and platform that you want to reach, you create the conduits for connection.

Tap Into How You’re Wired To Make The Connection

We are naturally wired as humans to want to connect 1-1 with people.

This means that you know the person’s name that you’re contacting, and what platform they work on.

Names matter when you’re contacting media. As Dale Carnegie said,

“Names are the most important word in any language.” (How To Win Friends & Influence People)

Getting names right plays a vital role in getting the person to read your email, AND reply to you.

The reply is actually what you want. The reply is golden because it can lead to a conversation and potential collaboration (more on this in the next few days of Growth Farming Lessons).

When you do something that is uncommon and send a personal message to a specific person, you gain their attention, interest, and willingness to hear you out.

You may be wondering how to go about finding the right people to get specific about. Where can you find the right media for your audience? How can you know which media is best for your music to grow your audience?

The process for identifying the right media for you, reaching out to specific people, formatting your messaging and building the relationship is all inside the DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook, and taught through video in the Indie Radio Promotion Course. That’s a learn-at-your-own pace method of taking what I’ve shown you here and moving into the next steps.

Another great way to get your music picked up, explained in short form is through my latest ebook, available here.

How To Use Experience & Training For Maximum Impact

GrowthFarming-AppLogoExperience Still Matters. Here’s Why

You used to have to go to college or attend a seminar to get the education that’s now available online at a fraction-of-a-fraction of the cost. However, education alone won’t make you successful, no matter what field you’re in. Experience provides the testing ground to put education to work.

This is one reason why the aspect of selective education is so important. Think about it. In the information age, there’s little you can’t not-learn. The vast amount of data, education and information available can stymie your growth unless you choose to take it in stages.

This is where taking action-steps is so vital. For every blog article you read (including this one), take at least 1 action step towards putting what you gained to work (more on how to do that with this blog later on).

This is one reason why I challenge artists and entrepreneurs I work with through coaching to do specific actions after each of our sessions. The knowledge itself will take you places. However, you don’t reach the milestones you set without taking action. Action and experience paired with knowledge and understanding makes you a badass growth phenomenon.

How Education Is Still A Key For Growth & Success

This year I’ve spent more time diving into education as a resource for my own personal growth. I’ve also worked to develop a powerful network of some of the best creative industry educators, especially those who specialize in specific areas of expertise like marketing, audience growth (superfans in particular), social media, and platform building.

DIY Artist Route PodcastAmong the amazing folks I’ve connected and shared insights with include Jay Coyle (Berklee Online), Jay Coyle (Berklee Online & Music Geek Services), Andrew Apanov (Dotted Music), Brandon Gaille (The Blog Millionaire), Tom Giles (StageBloc), Michael Zipursky (Consulting Success), Steve Palfreyman (Music Launch Summit) and Seth Godin.

Most recently I had Jeremy Young from Soundfly & Flypaper on the podcast to discuss the power of education for musicians and creative entrepreneurs. TONS of great insight there.

Each of these incredible people have shared some very specific ways that education is a win-win for us. They’ve even shared some unconventional education methods. Go back and listen/download their podcast episodes to get more specifics.

Experience & Education Grows Our Ability To Build Relationships

The more we learn the more we have the capacity to learn.

Pair this with a thankful heart and attitude of gratitude (think growth farming and heart gardens here my friend) and you create the perfect outlet for connection with other people on similar subjects.

Honestly, it was partially my curiosity about a subject paired with my interest in these people I’ve reached out to which led to our conversations, and ultimately our ongoing connection.

screen-shot-2016-12-14-at-7-32-27-amOpportunities Opened By Way Of Education

Education creates doorways for longer-term connections. It starts with being curious. Curiosity is an absolutely necessary ingredient to making growth happen.

If you’re not curious how something works, or how you can learn to better yourself, it’s really hard to have the discipline to stick with the learning process.

Education works because of curiosity and commitment to growth. Without those two ingredients, it easily can become another thing we start out of intrigue and put on the backburner when the next shiny thing comes along.

In this phase, asking questions to the many teachers and pros in whichever space you’re spending time in creates a different kind of opportunity. It creates a different kind of connection. If you practice it well, with other insights you’ve learned here, you’ll gain an advocate and friend from the person you originally just wanted help from in an educational capacity.

I read a lot of books, mostly in the nonfiction realm. Though I don’t work in many of the industries that I read about, we can all learn some powerful methods of growth from those who have built something that works and that lasts.

I’m currently reading Tony Robbins’ Money: Awaken The Giant Within.  It’s a book that dives into several areas of personal and business growth. I’ve already learned a ton, and am already putting much of that learning into practice. I want to be great at practicing what I learn.

Another great book I read this year (that I highly recommend to you) is John C Maxwell’s How Successful People Grow.

Obviously, growth is something I’m a big student of. This little pocket-sized book took me 3 months to read because each little section has so much powerful wisdom I couldn’t fly through it. It’s been transformation to my growth this year. You need to read it.

Curiosity and intrigue are why many of my entrepreneurial friends outside of music love The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook. The nuggets of community-building, effective communication, and networking in the book apply to everyone, regardless of your industry. It’s especially powerful for musicians because the How-To for getting radio airplay, blog reviews, and so forth are clearly detailed.

Investing In Educational Platforms Works

If you’re like me, you’ve probably signed up for a ton of free webinars, email courses, and online training programs that have a $0 price tag.

It’s natural to want to see how to win in this entrepreneurial and creative business without spending much cheddar. However, most of the free stuff doesn’t teach much.

There’s a reason why education continues to grow as a platform for success. What we invest in we practice. If something doesn’t cost us anything, we don’t spend much effort or energy in putting it to work.

However, when the growth method/education has a cost to it, we are naturally inclined to take it more seriously and take action on what we learn. That’s why if you really want to grow and learn how to do something from someone who truly knows their stuff, you should pay them for that information.

Knowledge is power. Experience is power. Knowledge plus experience plus great teachers create the kind of growth that can’t be stopped.

In the grand scheme of things, many of the best online training vessels have a much lower cost than your average semester at a university. Even a $100-$500 training online is cheaper than a semester at a state college that will run you at least $4000, even if it’s a junior college.

Plus, with online programs and training you get to be trained by people who are consistently putting their knowledge and experiences into practice. For a few hundred bucks (max price, often many courses cost much less), you can get the training and insights needed to skyrocket your success.

14206223_10154025032113918_710099330792237955_oWhat Education Platforms Should You Try In 2017

As we look to the future, what goals do you have? Think about the specific areas of your music or creative enterprise that you want to grow in.

Knowing your goals is the first key step in determining where to put your focus and attention for growth through training and education.

This short list is some of the growth and education platforms I have experience with from working with these fine folks in the past, including taking their courses. With the exception of the Music Launch Summit (and my own course listed towards the bottom), there’s no affiliate link in this for me.

I’m including these platforms because I believe in them and can attest to how effective they are. I’m not getting paid anything to do this, so the incentive is purely to help you. It’s a straight plug for folks I know who do great work and who can help you grow.

  • If you want to learn how to build your sound (production), write better songs, learn how to win in the music industry and more, Soundfly has some great offerings. Click here to get in.
  • If you want to grow your social media presence on Twitter, I highly recommend my good friend Carlos Castillo’s course. Click here to get in.
  • If you are trying to figure out how to get radio airplay, blog features, podcast interviews and build a powerful database of music industry influencers, my Indie Radio Course is just what you’re looking for. Click here to get in.
  • If you have thought about hiring a PR firm or publicist to get the word out about you, get interviews or reviews, but struggled to find the right company that wouldn’t break the bank, you can learn how to Be Your Own Badass PR Pro in this great course that I was a part of. Click here to get in.
  • And if you want to learn from the best of the best in the indie music world, my friend Steve Palfreyman’s Music Launch Summit features special training sessions and more with the likes of Dave Kusek, Rick Barker, Cari Cole, Rodney Holder, Yann Illunga, Wendy Parr and a ton more great teachers. Click here to get in for this coming year’s lineup. It’s going to be even bigger and more incredible this year than when it debuted.

 

DGS_RadioHandbook_Cover-1AWant some FREE education? Most of us do. Here’s how you can get a free gift this season, just from me. Like I said in the last podcast episode, I’m giving away a few free copies of The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook to my Growth Farming community in my email list. You can sign up for my email list in the right hand column to connect more with me and have a way to get a free copy sent out soon. Looking forward to connecting more with you!

How To Get Solid Radio Airplay The Right Way

This blog article is also published on Dotted Music. Musicians submit music to radio on a daily basis. Many of these music submissions to radio go ignored. Here’s how to submit music to radio that really works.

Secrets To Music Submissions To Radio Stations

Radio Mic Old FashionedGetting radio airplay isn’t a dice roll and it’s not a matter of doing multi-million dollar promotion campaigns. Especially not in public or indie radio (where your attention should be if you’re a DIY artist).

As I’ve said in past posts like How To Build A Radio Promotion Strategy & How To Make Effective Music Submissions To Radio, the basics to submitting music to radio is fairly easy.

The science to getting radio airplay has more to do with only a few specific things, AND they must be made a high priority. Community building and communication is top of that list.

Each radio station decision-maker (station manager, program director, program host, etc)  has their own individual perspectives and motives.

These preferences determine what they play and what they don’t. They also determine how often some songs get rotation versus others. However, how radio stations decide which songs get played actually has to do with a few factors that you might not realize.

online radio station jowanna lewis radiokscr music submission indie music airplay

Jowanna Lewis, owner of RadioKSCR in Los Angeles, CA

Station managers with commercial radio will give a few spins here and there to “unknown” or DIY musicians if it fits with the format and if they earn the respect of either the DJ or the station management.

Once songs begin to chart more (meaning that the music ranking organizations like Billboard and CMJ are recording more plays nationwide) those songs will get more rotation.

Much of this is based on requests and promotion dollars from the labels.

As a DIY artist, your plan is to get your music on stations who are be looking to add indie and unsigned artists to their station playlists.

These are the radio stations and managers who you should be trying to figure out how to gain the interest of. Indie radio is your ticket here. What does that look like?

What determines an indie radio station playlist and spin count

There are essentially three factors that determine whether a radio station manager or music director will add a new song to their rotation. See if your music fits into these factors to be Radio Ready with this free ebook.

The songs that get airplay first off have to meet these three qualification. Sound quality and production value are paramount.

Most professional radio outlets qualify potential music submissions on the quality of the recording first. It’s instinctive, we aren’t going to play a poorly mixed song.

Great songwriting involves lyricism as well as composition and arrangement. Some great songs have very clever, witty, or thought-provoking lyrics. Yet others simply have a good arrangement with a nice melody but nothing very complicated about how it is written.

The last qualification plays the largest role in not only whether as song will get added to the rotation of a radio station but also how often it will be played.

Simply put, if a radio station manager, music director, or approved station personality likes a song, it will probably get some radio airplay. If that song also catches on with other station staff and especially with listeners, that song is going to get a lot more spins.

radio submission music submission to radio How To Submit Music For Radio Airplay

Radio station managers are people too. We like what we play. We have a personal interest in the content that we put on our platforms. It’s just simple human nature.

To be in this industry an din this creative space, you have to be a fan. Radio station managers are fans of music too, and often we’re fans of artists who not only make music that we enjoy but also who have engaged with us in some manner.

Next Steps To Get Music Submissions Accepted On Radio

How someone feels about you as a musician can play almost a bigger role than whether they only like your music. When you try to just separate yourself out and away from your art you limit the reach and connection-building power you have.

Instead, focus your energies on building connections and communities with the radio stations that you want airplay on. It’s not a matter of getting your music out to every single station in existence, or even every station that plays music in the same genre as you.

Learn The Proven Process To Getting Radio Airplay

Many musicians don’t think about the pieces that need to be in place before starting this process.

If you want key elements , a proven process to implement with actionable steps, you’re going to get radio airplay and much more.

All of these tools and more are available for you in the Indie Radio Course.

You can build real relationships with the people behind the microphone. Get your spot on the course here.

 

If The Internet Broke Today Would You Survive?

BROKETheWebPreviously I talked about the cattle herding going on in the digital space of online marketing (see above blog here). The cattle drive is an analogy of following trends that the marketing (so-called) experts are purposing on everyone who spends their energy online trying to grow their business.

Projects are endless in number. The pursuit of metrics through numbers of viewers, listens, streams, followers, and so on leads to an insatiable appetite for imitation connection. How real is that? How strong is the grip we have on reality?

Questions we need to answers individually to see how truly connected we are

If the Internet broke today would all of the connection we have disappear, or would we simply move our meet up spot to a new location? Do we have the real connection with our communities to be able to talk to each other like fellow people, fellow creators of value and respect? Can we call our community friends and congregate in the middle of town square and they show up?

Connection is what the Internet is supposed to provide, and has for a long time. We are the ones who actually either gain the connection or lose it. It all happens by how we truly and legitimately engage with people.

Kelley McRae and Matt Castellano

Kelley McRae and Matt Castellano

This is the same reason that my friend Kelley McRae can post that her Kickstarter campaign start and reach 35% of her goal in the first day, complete the whole goal 2 weeks before it ends, and continue to grow her fan base connection throughout the entire process. Spend any amount of time with her and her husband Matt and you’re connecting with a real person who sees you and values you.

By seeing and valuing individual people, treating each member of their community as someone who matters is a choice made by individuals is how artists like Kelley achieve real connection. It’s not a matter of where that interaction takes place. Connect online, in a living room at a house show, at a coffee shop or your favorite pub, or outside in a park. The connection location doesn’t matter. Your heart’s focus does.

So what if the Internet breaks?

If the Internet broke today, the majority of artists, entrepreneurs, and business people who have made the Web their source of connection would be instantly AWOL. The Web is all they have, and the games they play everyday to “stay on top” in their business (or social media whatnot) are limited to this infinite yet tiny digital space. Ultimately this matters little in the grand scheme of things.

Instead, those who have the capacity (and have made the decision) to see and value others will find that doorways are always open to them. Amanda Palmer is one good example of this. My close friend and mentor Bird Thomas is another great example. Both people focus on seeing and valuing the people in their worlds. It makes a HUGE difference.

This method of approaching people isn’t common. Those who attempt to fake their way into our hearts are reviled more than those who simply just want see us as a number to add to the follower docket.

Valuing people is hard to fake, and difficult to manipulate. Yet there is a good chance that as we move forward into this digital space where everyone is seeking numbers (audience size as a digit instead of a connection value), things are going to change. They will be drawn into groups of individuals who value them. As faking connection loses traction, some marketers will try to hack the interconnected method too.

However, we know what real connection feels like. We know what real community builders look like. We’ve experienced them because they’re uncommon and sincere. We’ve felt the glory they bring to the people they see, and nothing else can compare. Individuals matter in a truly connected community.

The Internet can break right now and never come back, never have the pieces put back together and our communities will still thrive because they’re built around interaction, communication, and the value of each member. Numbers alone have little value in a place like this, but in the end who is caring about that?

This is why relationship building and networking is such a regular focus here on this blog, and it my podcasts, book, videos and everything else. In the end, we need each other to have anything worth building. As you set out to build your platform, think about the community you’re actually connected with. What actions are you going to take to strengthen those relationships so that the numbers aren’t the metric that matters (because numbers matter in accounting but not in fulfillment).

Hey, this is big stuff and it’s not something that we necessarily figure out in a moment. I’m honestly still figuring this out. Let’s figure it out together. Message me and we’ll talk.

Insights From The Musician’s Webman Andrew Apanov

Andrew Apanov

Andrew Apanov

In the digital age, we’re not limited to location for who we can learn from or be aided by.

One of my favorite people doing great things for musicians is Andrew Apanov. Based out of Poland, Andrew’s platform Dotted Music is a great resource for all things digital and web for musicians. His blog is a fantastic resource with great articles and posts that shine new light on not just the pieces of building a digital brand as a musician, but the how-to steps to make that happen.

What Andrew Apanov says about online branding for musicians

Andrew and I have had several conversations about what musicians need to do with their online branding and platforms to really grow their audience. We’ve also talked about media, which is why he was one of the first people I sent the DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook to, because back in the day Andrew was a radio host too.

His inclusion in the DIY Artist Route Podcast is perfect for us as we start the summer. I know a lot of artists are taking the time to re-evaluate their growth and what they’re working on. If that’s you, you’ll gain a lot from this episode. Music marketing online, online branding, relationship building a whole lot more are all in this episode.If you’re looking to hire a publicist or work with a music marketing agency, and you’ve read up on We Spin and Dotted Music, there are some things you should prepare for in consideration before you start writing checks.

What do marketing agencies and publicists look for with new musicians

Great publicists and music marketing agencies look for specific things from artists before they sign them. Do you know what they are? Andrew does, and now in turn you do too. I see a lot of musicians paying for services that they can do themselves. The reason they don’t do it themselves (like music marketing, radio promotion, etc) is because they’ve tried methods that don’t work and they gave up. So they pay money to someone else to do the work that creates networking connections. Except, they pay the money for the airplay, but don’t get the network. It’s so backwards. And it’s one of the things I appreciate most about this conversation with Andrew. His blogs and podcast get you even more form him.

How to be your own music publicist and promoter

Speaking of music promotions and publicity, don’t be one of those artists who get suckered into some promoter’s game of paying 100s or 1000s of dollars for promotion. It’s crap. Literally. Be your own radio promoter by doing 3 big things that many musicians and even labels get wrong. Learn how to do it right. I’ll show you. Click here to get it right.

Learn How To Get Radio Airplay The Right Way


In the video there’s a bit of role-playing through examples to illustrate the method explained here in this blog.

MusicansPlayInBar

Many artists reach out to me on how to get radio airplay. It’s a big subject that confuses DIY musicians because music submission to radio is so common, but getting accepted isn’t. I’ve set out to remedy this for musicians who are serious about growing their audience using one of the best methods: radio airplay on specific media platforms.

 

Over the past few months I’ve talked about Super-Fans, Audience Growth, and the particulars of what works for Successful Indie Artists.

Radio airplay is one of the methods of exploding your fan base, as well as your music income.

Start with how to NOT get radio airplay

Radio airplay and promotion continues to be a beneficial means of growing your music as an indie or unsigned artist. However, there is a way to get airplay that is more beneficial to you than how 99% of artists do it.

  • Submitting your songs to every station who accepts and plays indie music is not the way.
  • Sending DM messages to radio shows or stations on Twitter is not the way.
  • Emailing stations your mp3 song is not the way.

How to get radio airplay that actually works

One of the best ways to learn how to get radio airplay is by seeing examples that work.  Just like everyone else, I’ve made some big mistakes in reaching out to radio stations to get my platform picked up. The key though is recognizing what works and what doesn’t, and making a pivot on the stuff that isn’t producing the results you want.

Most of us are used to seeing blanket emails that were obviously sent to a ton of people, with no specific individual in mind to receive it. Think about group messages on Facebook or group texts. Even if the person reaching out is a good friend, those are kind of annoying, aren’t they? Treat the person you want to contact the way you want to be treated. Send them an individual note. Before that, have an experience with their station that you can talk about when you email or contact them. By doing this, you show that you’re a genuine person who wants to build community and add value to the station or radio program with your music.

This is the method that I used to get my indie radio show heard around the country and across the world. I first did all the wrong things to grow my radio show. I sent the blanket emails, to both people that I know and those I didn’t. I got the same response from both endeavors: silence. Those tactics didn’t work for me and rarely work for others. There’s a reason why so many artists feel scammed when they pay for radio promoters to pitch their music to stations that get zero airplay from the endeavor.

The real secret to getting radio airplay is a mindset change. Shift from music marketing to community building.”Or as Ghandi said, “Be the difference you want to see in the world.” It’s the Golden Rule. It’s what makes the connections that we all have to build (the real ones, not the mouse clicks that pretend to be connections). Treat those you want to feature you like you want to be treated. It’s the pivot we have to make to see real growth happen.

When I made the pivot, and changed my approach, I found that it actually works. The details and step-by-step process of what to do, how to do it, and why is chronicled in my book book The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook. The Handbook can also be used in your endeavors to grow your audience online via social media and with gigging, as well as reaching out to other music and media mavens for networking.

 

Michael Brandvold On The DIY Artist Route Podcast

michael-brandvold

I was captivated by the title “Michael Brandvold shares 25 lessons he learned working with KISS.”

Reading his short Ebook (free on his website) and then hearing his Music Biz Weekly podcast, I was intrigued. “I have to have this guy on the DIY Artist Route Podcast,” I said to myself.

Here we are. Michael Brandvold was gracious to join me in a discussion on what makes successful fan building, and his insights into working with KISS are perfect for understanding the power of Super Fan Building. This is a consistent subject we talk about here on this blog, and today’s insights from Michael are spot on for how to identify your Super Fans and bring them into your music to benefit you the most.

Opening The Super Fan Gateway To Help You Grow

Recently on a blog from Sonicbids, I talked about how to put your online and offline work together to strengthen your audience and build more connections with your fan community. Michael adds more ideas to this, and the best part is they are all simple and inexpensive.

I love learning powerful things from people who simply challenge me to think a little bit differently. We definitely get that benefit in this podcast. Dive in, learn something new, and share it with 1 person you know who can benefit from it too.

Take Michael Brandvold Insights A Step Further For Your Own Music Growth

There are some big areas of audience building and fan community that are discussed in this podcast episode. What areas of your fan building and connection do these ideas resonate with OR are there things that you still are trying to figure out when it comes to growing your fan community?

Did you pick up on how the mainstream successful bands share 1 thing in common with DIY Musicians like you? It’s about seeing what you do for what it is. Reach out and comment here so we can look at them together.

 

Make Your Radio Submission Count With This Strategy

8204195250_6d4e042d25_zRadio submission is a big part of the growth of any musician. As a radio program host (and music curator), I get a LOT of music submissions and people asking for feature on The Appetizer Radio Show.

It’s really a great opportunity for us as a radio program to connect with new artists across the country and around the world.

However, I’m seeing some really bad trends in how artists are contacting media outlets. These trends have gone on for a while now. They’re happening more and more each month. I want to address these negative trends and encourage you to not make these mistakes.

justin-wayne-ill-micFirst, you really have to promote and submit your best music to radio and media. That means, your best songs are what you promote to media for being featured.

Too many musicians are not showcasing their best work, and it affects the way music curators have a first impression of them.

What I mean by this is, if you’re going to try and put your work in front of a media professional, make sure it’s the best you have, and that it’s amazing. It’s best if you get some objective critiques from media professionals before you embark on radio submissions or blog review requests. Justin Wayne (host of the Justin Wayne Show) said something very powerful about submitting your best music. Listen to his take on music submissions here.

Get Objective Critiques Before Radio Submission

There are plenty of good sources for objective critiques. One I highly recommend is Fluence.io. It is made up of music industry pros who run blogs, websites, radio shows, video programs, and everything in between. You do have to pay a small fee depending on who you submit the work to, but the payoff is that your music gets heard and you get honest feedback on it.

Critiques are one of the ways I work with artists too. If you’d like to submit music for a critique, contact me on Fluence.

Fluence

Here’s how an objective and professional critique benefits you: you know that what you offer media is of the quality and caliber of what music business professionals are looking for. If there’s something amiss in your sound, production or listener experience, that information should be presented to you so that you can fix it and revise it.

When you submit music to radio or blogs that is not top shelf, there’s a good chance it gets discarded. Your band name is more than likely forgotten, unless it’s creative enough that it sticks for a little while. But that memory of a less-than-savory sound can come back if the media rep gets another submission. So make that first impression count.

Your Radio Submission Is Part Of The Growth Journey

Get Your Music Radio Ready-Revised CoverRadio submissions are a necessary part of your journey as a musician. You should get your music out to radio as a way to promote and market your sound, gain new fans, and sell more music.

If you’ve contemplated sending an mp3 or CD to a station hoping for airplay, make sure you have the best version of your music ready to go. Get a good critique before you do so. It will pay off dividends in the process of making those radio connections.

BEFORE YOU SUBMIT MUSIC TO RADIO:  Gain insights into your the Radio-Ready-ness of your music with this free Ebook Get Your Music Radio Ready here.

Once you’re Radio Ready, getting your music added to radio stations becomes a matter of networking and strategy. Networking has that ugly buzzword feel because so many artists and marketers have misused it to do things other than what it should be used for.

diy musicians radio handbook print how to get radio airplay

 

 

Networking is essentially connecting dots with other dots that make (individual and collective) worlds better. How to target the right radio for your music, how to build your contact list, and what specifically to say to stations is illustrated in detail in The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook. Click here to get your copy.

Why Musicians Don’t Need A Label For Music Growth

“If I can just get signed to a label then I’ll be able to get my music out to more people and finally build my fan base.”

Unexpect out of Canada

Unexpect out of Canada

I’ve heard this phrase (in a few iterations) countless times in the past year alone. Here’s the thing: a label might save you a little bit of time but being on a label doesn’t guarantee your growth.

The reason for this is that a lot of labels AND PR firms AND marketing agencies AND music promoters don’t serve their artists as well as the artists could serve themselves if you only knew what and how to do it. This is where I come in to help you learn the what and the how. Read on if you want both of those things.

How you can do the work of a label and do it 300% better

There is this ongoing misnomer among DIY musicians that you need to get your music on a label so that they can really market and grow your music audience. This belief is mistaken, that labels are better at connecting with music industry influencers and platforms with big audiences.

Image by Johan Oomen

Image by Johan Oomen

The “label savior” belief stems from a historical period that the music industry was at around 60 or more years ago. Back then, every new artist was on a label because that was the only way that distribution worked. There weren’t indie presses for individuals to create their own records (on vinyl), CDs didn’t exist and tapes were the way that demos were recorded at home. Labels emerged as the main method for distribution for music for media companies to have something to broadcast. Remember though, that was in the 1950s and 1960s. Times have changed.

It’s no longer the case that you need a label to win in this music industry. We all know the power of the Indie Music Movement that has changed the rules for how music growth happens.

“Indie” means more than independent from an artistic standpoint. It can also mean individual.

Labels continue to exist and continue to spend GOBS of money marketing their artists. Major labels spend the most money and put their artists out every where they can as a method to gain leverage.

Let’s pause for a moment and dive into this term, because it’s really important for you.

Gain leverage without signing to a label

Leverage is the crux of what growth is built on. The more people know who you are, become connected with your name and brand, the more opportunities you have to sell your uniqueness to the world. This is leverage.

In a sense, leverage is a numbers game but only in the capacity of very big picture ideals. When labels strive to gain leverage by only playing a numbers game, they miss the mark. This missing creates negative results for artists.

Truthfully, the most powerful and successful leverage makers are those who get themselves out to the RIGHT people, and lots of them. This is one way that labels large and small can miss the mark, by not targeting their audience appropriately or communicating properly with them.

When you’re trying to reach everyone, often you’ll miss the mark. Everyone isn’t an audience or a target, it’s a black hole. Think about a bow and arrow. You can aim for a target on a tree or a post that’s 50 yards away. If you simply lift the bow into the air and shoot the arrow into the sky, did you hit anything?

Think about all the advertisements you see for artists you don’t care about, or music styles that don’t appeal to you. They’re all over the web, TV and other media. Those are attempts to gain leverage. Many of them are unsuccessful because they’re not aimed at the right audience, they’re aimed at everyone.

You don’t need a label to gain leverage in growing your music brand, gaining more fans or creating more opportunities to sell your music (both live and online). What you need is to recognize that the people who serve as gatekeepers for audience reach are just that, they’re people.

Wow, did that seem a little too simple? People are people. Radio people are regular people. People who write blog reviews and host music podcasts are regular people too. Yes they have platforms that reach hundreds or thousands (or maybe even millions) of other people that you also want to reach. At the end of the day, people are still people.

I say this “people are people” ideal because this is where labels often miss the mark. Their outreach to music curators, radio platforms, or even audience groups doesn’t communicate in a person-to-person way. The communication is far too formal and hard to embrace.

What works better for you, a friend of yours talking about a new band they just heard that sounds like Mumford & Sons but with only 3 band members and since you like Mumford you should check them out, OR a graduate level term paper detailing the exploits of a new Americana band and everywhere they’ve traveled and all the inspirations of their music and how incredible they are?

You want to listen to your friend because your friend communicates in a way that gels with you. People talking cordially with other people communicate in a way that gels. Companies trying to communicate with people don’t often do so very well.

This is one of the most common areas of difficulty I see both artists, PR companies, indie labels and management companies struggle with in terms of getting their music out to radio, media, and music fans as a whole. We’re all trying to get regular people who do specific jobs to give us their attention, their interest, their care, and ultimately their support. That’s the whole process of fan conversion.

How does that happen? How can you as an artist figure out what works to get your music in front of radio platform makers, blog reviewers, media outlets, and even individual fans both online and offline?

If only there was a book or something that showed you all of this

Actually there is. The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook reveals everything that individual artists, bands, and musicians need to do what a record label or PR firm is supposed to do, AND do it better. If you decide that you’d still rather delegate the responsibilities and time to a company or team to do your marketing and outreach, that works too. The book will show you exactly what to look for in bringing the right people into your team to get you successful results.

What kind of successful results? You’ll not only get airplay on radio but you’ll build your personal network of industry contacts for long-term relationships that benefit you over time so that your future record releases will have instant traction and you won’t have to start the “marketing” process all over again.

RadioCourseMainImage-CoverImageDo you want even more insight into how to build a stronger network of media contacts, connections with radio, and gain more support from your fan base using effective communication and messaging techniques? Click here to get all of this and much more in the Indie Radio Promotion Course and save 60% by joining now.

This is how businesses who network with other businesses work. They build connections and relationships that benefit both parties in the immediate and future time periods. That’s real connection. Gain the step-by-step process to not only getting your music heard on radio but also how to grow your connections with music industry influencers in this powerful new book, set to publish in February. Sign up for the Book below.

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Essential Music Promotion Keys Guide

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 5.08.21 PM(This info graphic is much larger with links to pieces that help you. Download it below.)

For DIY musicians and unsigned bands, there are so many marketing and promotion pieces that seem essential to your growth.

Does it seem overwhelming?  The sheer volume (no pun intended) of things you’re told to keep up with as a musician is very overwhelming. You’re not alone if you feel like there’s too much stuff to keep up with.

 

 

How to make growth real and obtainable

Growth is a process, and there are pieces to it. How can you know which pieces are essential and what can be tabled for a later time? I have the answer for you.

The reality of audience growth is that your music connection occurs in two different places at the same time. There’s a balance (just like in all things) between your online presence and your live experience. One happens in real time and the other happens 24/7 with or without you being present.

Music promotion is far more than having a Facebook page, Twitter account and your music on Soundcloud. Ultimately it’s about connecting with real people in a powerful way that creates loyalty and support for your work. By using more than just an online presence you great new opportunities for growth that matters.

The basics of music promotion is like playing an instrument

Music promotion is similar to learning to play piano (follow the metaphor). Once you know the essential keys you can take next steps to putting them to work for you with the greatest opportunity for success. Your success and your use of these keys will defer from other artists, though you can find some similarities at the same time.

The key to growth is to Be Uncommon. The uncommon artist isn’t following bandwagons and doing what everyone else is doing. This is one of the biggest problems that artists encounter as you hear an industry expert say you have to do this or do that online or social media. Forget that. Focus on the keys. Once you learn the keys, you get to determine the sound of your music promotion. Your sound will be different from other artists. That’s what makes you unique, and that’s what draws your super fans in.

Get these keys and put them to use in your music. Want some more help or insights (and maybe a few uncommon ideas to help you)? Reach out to me and let’s talk.

Infographic-Music Promotion Keys For DIY Musicians (download here)