Tag Archives: indie radio

How To Build A Powerful Music Fan Base With Rick Barker

Rick Barker podcast DIY artist route audience growth musician

Rick Barker

If you want to talk to someone who has proven time and again how to build a strong audience base, you talk to Rick Barker. The man behind Music Industry Blueprint and the former manager of Taylor Swift is not stranger to building a passionate following. He’s also ready and willing to dish out tons of great advice to artists willing to do the work.

That’s the one kicker he shared with me in this podcast conversation that makes the biggest difference: having the work ethic to get stuff done.

Putting The Advice Of Rick Barker To Work

There is a lot (A LOT) of information being produced every nanosecond on “How To Do XYZ” for your music career. Creative entrepreneurs of every kind have more resources and guides to grow than any point in history. However, what makes the real difference between those who do and those who dream is simply the act of doing.

“The difference between a great artist and a super star is work ethic.”

Being someone who has committed my life to helping artists and business people grow personally through mindset training and build audience through Growth Farming coaching, Rick was a treasure to connect with. His insights and methods fit perfectly within the scope of what is shared here on the blog and other episodes of the DIY Artist Route Podcast.

Discussing The Benefits Of Radio With Music Promotion

It’s also interesting to follow our conversation as it gets into the realm of radio. Rick Barker spent years in the radio industry, but on a different side of the curtain than I have. His experience comes from the commercial side, which I’ve long been critical of.

As we discuss the benefits of radio, you’ll notice a slight disagreement in our individual feelings on the role radio plays, as well as the benefits of radio airplay alone to grow your music. Here’s the thing, it’s important for us to talk with people who have a differing viewpoint than we do. In doing so it sharpens our perspective while also discovering new things.

I won’t shy away from heralding the benefits of public and indie radio in the growth of your audience base. Where that piece of the chat may seem like a dissenting viewpoint, it brought us closer together in discussing the real meat and potatoes of radio airplay: relationship building.

However, as Rick states, radio alone isn’t going to skyrocket your music career. You need more than that, which includes audience engagement and great customer service. You are a business as a musician. His tips on specific actions to take to make that happen are spot on.

“You get radio airplay and exposure anywhere you possibly can. It’s what you do with that (airplay & exposure) afterwards that’s important.”

We also agree that far too many artists try to promote their music to radio before they’re actually ready. You need to have 3 key things before radio is going to work for your career. I highlight those 3 specifics in the Get Radio Ready ebook (free). Grab it.

Get more on Rick Barker and his incredible work on Music Industry Blueprint.

If you gained anything from this podcast episode, let me know in the comments below, share this post and leave a tip. Thanks!

How Radio Promotion Is Done Right With Jesse Barnett

RelationshipBeing a radio host, I’m plugged into different parts of this industry. I’m connected to radio stations, artists, managers, radio promoters, and listeners alike. I see things from the perspective of a radio station manager, music director, program host, and curator when it comes to music submissions. I do also see things from the perspective of the artists. It might seem like these are two opposing viewpoints, but they’re not.

Not if you look at it the right way.

Jesse Barnett

Jesse Barnett

Jesse Barnett (Right Arm Resource) is one who sees the harmony between the musicians and the media platforms who showcase their work. It’s a team effort, where both sides win when they work together. Look folks, there’s no I in team. We know that. It’s cliched. But how often do you, musicians, look at your music promotions to radio as something that offers a benefit to the station you reach out to other than them “getting to play” your music?

Radio and musicians win when there’s a relationship connection in place. That’s why public, community, indie and college radio continue to be powerhouses in the modern media-rich world. Relationships matter. Make that a focus and you’ll see bigger and better wins in your music promotion.

This podcast episode is about just that: relationships. Jesse is the best in the business of radio promotion because he puts relationships first. He has worked with and represented some big names in indie music including Damien Rice, They Might Be Giants, Cage The Elephant, and others. And he works with smaller indie labels and artists too, quite successfully I might add.

We talk about the power of networking and relationship building a lot in this episode because it’s the real key to achieving anything that lasts. Trust me. Or better yet trust Jesse. We’re both proof of this. Radio is a conduit between people who share interest, love, and stories driven by music. When radio works best is when it builds communities together of people who share these areas. That’s not the same thing as it being a platform that just plays music and has listeners. That’s boring commercial radio, which you’re not listening to.

One other thing that is mentioned a few times in this podcast episode is The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook, which illustrates the exact things we talk about in a How-To format. Jesse has read it and shares his thoughts on it. It’s easy for me to tell you that you need this book. However, you decide how much you want to succeed. If you want to win, and you want long term wins, go grab the book here.

After you listen to this, if you get just 1 thing out of it (which I know is an understatement because you’ll get way more than that), do your part in the growth farming process and plant a seed with 3 of your music friends (i.e. share the episode). Cultivate it with me here, and let me know what 1 thing you got the most from in this conversation. We’ll talk soon!

Justin Wayne On The DIY Artist Route

justin-wayne-ill-micIndie radio show host and podcast creator Justin Wayne joined me for a fantastic conversation about music, the indie music revolution, success for indie and DIY musicians and more. He and I share a lot in common including creating music platforms that have grown tremendously over the years. Justin even has an “associate producer” named Puck, who is a cat. I have a similar position filled by my cat named Baby Girl.

I wanted to talk with Justin on the DIY Artist Route podcast because his insights into the growth of indie music from the perspective of a radio host. We both agree that the appeal indie and unsigned artists have to music fans who are searching for something commercial radio refuses to deliver is a powerful one. I talk a lot about how artists can grow their fan base and reach more people by getting on indie radio. Justin reiterates a lot of the things I talk about regularly on this blog, all without any prompt or suggestion. What I mean by that is us radio folks think a lot alike. His attitude and insight into how artists can reach out to radio iterates a lot of what I teach in The Indie Radio Course.

Justin Wayne is a really funny guy and I thoroughly enjoyed talking with him. Among the talking points made are his suggestion for what artists need to do in order to “get discovered” by radio platforms (i.e. get their submissions listened to and considered), the power that indie music has to change all of the music industry (for the better), what a musician’s job really is (far beyond just making music), and how partnering with people who believe in you is how you really gain the growth you want.

Here are just a few of the quotes found in the podcast:
“We get a lot of submissions and we see when we have a BCC email. If you’re not taking the time to at least check out the website for a brief moment to see if your music fits on my station, it’s kinda not worth my time to give it a listen. But it’s pretty easy to pick out the people who are taking the time to connect.”

“Have an experience with a radio platform before you start contacting people.”

“Radio guys love to talk about stuff. It’s nice to have something to talk about. So give us something interesting (when you make your submission). Listeners like it because they can go tell their friends.”

“It’s kinda like computer programming. You start small and figure out if it works and then you go from there. You don’t have to start out by recording a full 12 songs. Do 3 or 4 or 5 and make them really good and focus on that.”

“I would never tell an artist to change their style or what they’re doing if they’re really passionate about it. Because that’s the most important thing in my mind. That should come through.”

“When you’re building your team of your manager or even your friends who are helping you out, make sure they understand your passion and what you’re trying to do because there’s nothing more important. You’re trying to improve people’s lives, that’s really what a musician’s job is.”

“It’s sort of a religion. It’s like ‘Do you believe in Independent Music? Do you believe that it’s good?’ Yeah I do. ‘Have you taken Independent music as your personal savior?’ Ok then you’re in. It’s really like that. There are some people who don’t believe it’s good but that’s because they haven’t experienced it. Once they experience it, they’re like ‘yeah it’s great! Why would I want to listen to the (commercial) radio anymore?’”

This was a fantastic experience of indie music insight with Justin Wayne. Hear his indie music podcast The Justin Wayne Show here. Share this podcast with other musicians, indie music folks and anyone else you think can benefit from our discussion. Let me know what you think of this edition in the comments below.

Debunking When Musicians Say They Can Grow Without Radio Airplay

NewRadioThere’s a “music guru” out there saying that he made music that charted in the Top 5 of iTunes and sold a million albums, all without radio airplay. I hope that’s true, because it’d be terrible to promote that and it not be real. Still, I question the validity of something that rare.

“What if that’s true though, D Grant? What if you really can grow your audience and sell a bunch of music without radio? Radio is dead nowadays anyways since there’s Apple Music, Pandora and Spotify, right? No one listens to radio anymore.”

Oh my, I’ve heard this well-meaning but really off-base remark a bit over the past few months. So you can grow your music without radio? Then go do that. Promote yourself with just you, and all the social media strategy in the world. Knock yourself out. It will end up costing you more work, time, money and energy in the long run than doing radio promotion right the first time.

If you can get grassroots, word-of-mouth promotion on your own that generates a million record sales and puts you up there with big label musicians like Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift without radio, more power to you. Actually, (and I’m very serious) write a book and teach the rest of us how to do that, but only if it’s real.

You can then apply that “How-To” on promotion and success to not just music but also small business growth, crowdfunding and a whole slew of other platforms.

I’m not being sarcastic about you achieving great things without radio. That’s entirely possible. Radio is not Superman, nor God, and it doesn’t make magic happen for everyone who gets airplay.

However, to dismiss radio and how beneficial it is because you don’t happen to listen to it doesn’t mean it has no value. Actually, there’s a pretty interesting connection that radio has with Pandora, Apple Music and Spotify, and if you learn how to use the two together, you can make quite a bit of money with your music. But radio isn’t what you’re going to do because you have your music on Spotify, right?

Sorry, I’ll come down off the soap box. Truthfully, radio is a huge beneficial outlet for indie musicians, but I understand why there’s so much confusion about it. When most people think of radio, they think of the stations that play nothing but Bieber and Swift, or Katy Perry or whoever is on the top side of the Billboard placements. And these stations play the same artists and songs all day long in an unending pattern of repetition. Why people still listen to these stations is beyond me. I agree, it’s incredibly boring. And I’m not listening to them either.

But there is another kind of radio. Yes, a radio that actually cares about what music is on it. Radio with an audience that is fully engaged with what they are listening to. Radio with an engaged audience that wants music that is interesting and is made by people who aren’t supported by a commercial enterprise or big label. Yes, radio that has an audience looking for your music.

Do you know what kind of radio this is? It’s indie radio, yes, but that’s ambiguous in an age when “indie” means just about anything and “indie” is a buzzword people add to their platforms to be trendy or cool.

The radio I’m speaking of is non-commerical radio, also known as Public Radio (think NPR), Community Radio, College Radio, and Web Radio.

Do all of these stations have magnificently giant audiences? No, most of them are smaller and have regional or esoteric audiences. Size doesn’t matter in this realm because an engaged audience will look up your music when they hear it and like it. They will search you out and buy your music. They will see if you’re going to be touring or playing in their region and come to your shows. They do this for a few reasons, but the focus here is on the difference in the type of radio (commercial vs non-commercial or “indie radio” vs mainstream radio).

Since there are members of your target audience who are engaged with radio stations like these and programs which are playing your type or style of music, how do you benefit yourself by avoiding these radio outlets? What is really gained by not having your music on these stations and you doing all the promotion work entirely on your own?

Radio isn’t just a media outlet for listeners and it is much more than a promotion tool for musicians. Real radio (the kind I’m talking about: public, community, college, and web radio) is a passion of people who truly love certain types of music and want to showcase it to the world. The right kind of radio airplay connects your music with audiences who are engaged and supportive of the arts. These are the people you want to reach out to, and has been the bedrock for The Appetizer Radio Show for 12 years, helping to turn “unknown” artists into well-knowns, all in the indie or unsigned band space.

Passionate people playing and talking about your creates THE most powerful word-of-mouth marketing to multiple groups of people, all at one time.

Don’t let anyone fool you or convince you that passionate people showcasing your music to an engaged audience hurts you.

Want to know how to get passionate music curators interested in your music? Focus on building a connection with them, instead of just submitting your music. Spend time with a few stations or programs and have some experiences with their craft. You’ll find yourself becoming passionate about what you hear and want to be a part of what they do.

RadioCourseMainImageWant some other help in getting radio curators to play your music on their platforms? Sign up for my Indie Radio Promotion Course to get the inside track on how to get the right kind of radio airplay. I’ll show you what the successful 1% of artists do to get radio airplay, as well as reveal my proven steps to getting heard and showcased around the country.

The Indie Radio Promotion Course enrollment won’t be open forever, so get in on the inside track now. Click Here to get your seat at the course. See you there.

Tony Lucca, The DIY Artist Route And You

Recently I was granted the opportunity to talk with a really great guy, Tony Lucca. I’d only heard his self-titled album before given the interview with him. Upon researching his background, it became more apparent that his story is incredibly valuable to both artists and entrepreneurs who have made fame their lone quest. Fame wasn’t Tony’s ambition, but he has achieved it.

6PAN1T-R PSDThe former Mickey Mouse Club Mouseketeer was in the same class as Justin Timberlake and Matt Morris. Matt is a feature artist on The Appetizer Radio Show, doing an exclusive in-studio session with us in 2011. Tony has also been featured on TV commercial and shows like Malibu Shores. His music career took him to the 2012 season of The Voice, being selected by Adam Levine and going on to place 2nd in the season finale. That led to being signed to Levine’s record label and a massive tour with Maroon 5. Isn’t this the dream of most musicians, or even entrepreneurs, to rub elbows and share social circles with prominent names?

All of that has its benefits, but Tony has since chosen a different path, that of an indie artist. The DIY artist and entrepreneur shares a lot in common with Tony Lucca. This podcast features the conversation he and I had about music, business, his advice to the DIY artist and entrepreneur, and an unsolicited vote of approval for indie radio’s role in helping artists grow.

What do you think of Tony’s perspective? Let’s talk about how his insights apply to where you are right now. Comment or reach out through email.