Tag Archives: radio airplay

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.

Want To Grow Even More? Gain a bigger following, growth and success with one of the best minds in business.

Learn Growth Farming The Seth Godin way in this free eBook.

Secrets To Media Coverage With Michael Zipursky


michael zipursky coach consultant success

Consulting Coach Michael Zipursky

When I read someone with a massive influence talking about some of the same things I do, I take note. Michael Zipursky wrote a recent blog piece about how to get published in industry publications to boost your exposure. He’s been featured in big media platforms like Huffington Post, Fox News, American Express’ Open Forum and more. Turns out his methods are incredibly similar to what you’ve heard me talk about here.

Learning From People In Different Industries

Yet we work in 2 completely different fields. Michael works with consultants in business. I work primarily with musicians and entrepreneurs in the creative industries. His methods for getting big media companies and the people behind the publications to take notice are very similar to what is detailed in The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook. Did I know Michael’s methods when I wrote my book? Nope. However, like attracts like.

A few of the past DIY Artist Route podcast guests have come from non-music related industries. There have been a few people on social media who balked at learning non-musicians about music growth. Here’s the thing: growth principles are bigger than any industry.  Don’t choose to close your mind off to people in a different field or industry because it seems to not apply. That’s a dangerous place to live.

Instead, have a teachable mindset. Teachable folks can learn from anyone. If you want to know how to do something someone else is doing, or you want to connect with them, it’s not hard. After reading his blog article, I reached out to him and made a connection. The result of that connection is this podcast conversation.

Michael Zipursky Secrets To Media Exposure

How do you get someone to pay attention to you? You start by paying attention to them. It’s what Dale Carnegie talks about in How To Win Friends And Influence People.  Remember this quote from Carnegie: “You gain more friends in two months showing interest in other people than you can in 2 years trying to get other people interested in you.” That matters when contacting media to get their attention.

The majority of emails sent to media are Spam. Same is true in business when people are trying to get the attention of others. It doesn’t work.

“It’s all about the relationships. When you can establish a relationship with an author or editor, you’re going to get a lot more focus from them than if you send a Spam message.”

In the podcast, Michael lays out 5 specific steps to take to get yourself and your work in front of big media publications. The method is the same for getting in front of radio. The step-by-step process is detailed in 9 videos, a comprehensive training workshop, and coursebook in the Indie Radio Promotion course.

As a coach to coaches, I pay close attention to what Michael talks about on Consulting Success. His platform is about how to be a better leader, how to guide leaders to create more wins, and how to keep growth happening on a regular basis.

His success is in leading people of all walks of life to achieve more using systems and structures. The most successful people in the world have coaches and mentors who work with them to make magic happen in their lives and professions. No one gets to the top on their own.

“One of the big keys to success for every successful person I know and every successful person out there is having a coach. Music artists, athletes, actors and so forth all have a success coach. They identify who is out there and who can they learn from to get that help. That helps them fast-track their success.”

Like Michael, I’m driven by creating big wins for creative people like you. Whether that’s launching your next project, growing your audience, or simply figuring out the next steps to take in your journey, I’m here for you. For more on working with me as a coach to growth farm your success in music and business, contact me here.


Build Stronger Audience Connection With Amy Schmittauer

AmySchmittauerMost of us in the music and creative business space are seeing more and more videos in our social news feeds. Why is that? One big reason is video’s ability to build engagement. We’re naturally drawn to the power of moving visual and audio media. This is especially true when people are present in the videos. That’s the power that Amy Schmittauer shows us how to excel at.

I was not aware of how excellent Amy’s work is as a video blog coach until my friend Chandler Coyle pointed me to a video she did that talked about the power of radio for musicians. Her reference points are more in the pop realm of radio airplay, but the points she makes are spot on. In this example alone, we can see how the power of effective communication through video can convert people into becoming not only fans, but tribesmen. I’m not in her tribe, because one video wasn’t enough. I wanted to see what else she was teaching.

This video is how I first saw her work. Is it a How-To for getting radio airplay? NO. She’s talking about how getting your music in front of radio should be the first thing you think of when you think of marketing because it’s a natural fit. That’s completely true.

Amy’s site is full of her numerous videos, all showcasing ways to grow your audience using the power of video. I wanted to connect with her to learn more about her story, get her insights into how to take this platform of video production and translate it into the DIY music space, and build a dialogue. Her helpful personality isn’t just something on screen. It’s who she is  (authenticity is a key to building a solid core audience of super fans in any realm).

Does she talk about doing things in a digital space to build a big audience? Yes. Does that go against the grain for Audience Growth Farming? No. Here’s why: All of Amy’s content is about creating content for an audience you want to build a connection with. She talks about doing something from the perspective of the person you want to reach. That is EXACTLY the Growth Farming Method.

If you hear her talking about “mainstream” media or marketing in this piece, don’t ignore her words altogether because she’s still talking to you. She’s talking about all of us. We need to look at how we can present our

There are some really insightful and strong pieces of advice that Amy shares in this podcast episode (download and stream via iTunes, Stitcher, and Spreaker). Among them are how to focus on being consistent with your videos instead of trying to start out with the best equipment.

From my days back in the university world of media and journalism, I worked with a lot of young people starting their media experience.  They would hold off starting to work on their dreams of making videos until they got the best gear. Then they’d spend a fortune on gear that sat in a closet unused. Amy’s wisdom and advice here to start with what you have is spot on.

One key (very BIG key) that she points out repeatedly is something that’s covered extensively in The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook. Your focus with your marketing and engagement methods must be on the person you want to reach. Think about what matters to them. This is your tribe of super fans, your core audience we’re talking about. What do these people care the most about? How can you serve their interests? By making your end user your focus, you will not only stand out, but you will find that the right people are magnetized to you.

“No one’s thinking about what the end user really wants, they just put out what they want to put out, and that’s NOT how you get people to like you.”

Amy Schmittauer goes beyond just talking about how to make videos that people want to see. She’s a master at building engagement. It’s not enough to just make a video that has you playing your song, or acting out drama for a music video. The audio element is key too. As Amy puts it, “Audio will kill your video. If it’s not good audio or it’s windy, or it’s crackly, no one’s going to watch that video. But if the video of the video is not the best quality in the world, people still watch it, which is why Snap-chat is a thing and crappy video is fine. It’s relatable. People think, ‘That’s probably the best I can do with a camera too.’ ”

“The best thing you can do is use what you have and actually make a video. Find out what the mistakes are. Find out how important lighting is, how important audio is. Your phone is a powerful device. You don’t need a bunch of gear. You’ve got to test and you have to practice. People want the perfect set before they get started, but we never get the perfect set.”

Everything we do to growth farm our audience involves a process of building trust and relationships. Flash-in-the-pan methods of getting attention are short-lived. They don’t create the connection and growth that we need as creatives to have sustainable careers. For musicians, radio airplay is a big part of this journey, because it builds upon the trust that they listener has with the station they tune into for great music.

“We want to say things a certain way but our audience is not going to understand it until they know, like, and trust us and want to go down that path with us. I think musicians and radio speak to that because if you see somebody come out on the radio, a lot of times it’s because they’ve been working really hard and finally come out with an album or a single track that’s perfect for radio in a popular nature. That’s the thing that gets them the exposure and the eyeballs and the influence and then the second album comes out and it’s like ‘I want to know who this guy is.’”

Listen and stream the full podcast episode here:


This is a realm of engagement I’m working on too, concerning video. I’m doing more and more of it, particularly on Youtube and Facebook. It’s important for us to learn more about what actions we can take to get our messages out to the right people who are wanting and needing us. Amy’s insights here are a great resource for that. Follow her on Youtube to gain more insights into effective video production for growth and great tips on being successful in this creative space.

Take what Amy Schmittauer talks about in building a stronger audience with radio airplay to the next level. Sign up for the Indie Radio Course now to get your music in front of more music super fans on indie radio.

3 Ways Relationships Bring Return On Investment

Photo by Kristina

Photo by Kristina

In the business world, everything you do needs to produce an ROI (Return On Investment). The same is true with creative business endeavors like music and artistry. One big thing that creates the most return is investing in relationship growth.

We all have goals for our success. Growth is a part of that. When I talk with musicians (and entrepreneurs too) the focus they have on growth is reaching a zillion people today and gaining social media followers.

Oh, and you want this kind of massive growth to happen overnight right? That expectation leads to getting frustrated when the magic of audience building takes longer than clicking a button online.

Here’s the thing: marketing for growth is a process.

It’s about relationship building and not anything else.

Three key places where you benefit from relationship building that brings ROI to your work is media features (i.e. radio, podcasts, and blogs), crowdfunding, and social media.

Focus on building bridges and connecting with people in a real way to see real growth.

What I’m going to show you here is an overview of what I teach students in my courses and work directly with coaching clients on. You’ll get a framework for the big picture in this article. Take it a step further and set up a free discovery session with me here to personalize this growth process.

Set your sights on relationship building and nothing else

Radio airplay is one way for musicians to get themselves in front of tons of new people that they didn’t have access to before. However, getting your song played 1 time on a station is a really low goal to strive for.

Look past that achievement and see what benefit you have. You get a song heard on a station and you’re introduced to let’s say 500 new people. Then the song is over and another song from a different band starts.

Of those 500 people, how many people are going to look you up? On the first listen, less than 1% will take action.

That’s 5 folks. But what if you could get more, not just more people reached total but a higher percentage of the total listeners engaged and looking you up?

It’s a matter of building something other than a goal for radio airplay. This comes down to building bridges with radio stations and programs instead of just pitching your music.

Going back to 2007, William Fitzsimmons connected with me & has been featured in multiple ways since on my multiple media platforms

Going back to 2007, William Fitzsimmons connected with me & has been featured in multiple ways since on my multiple media platforms

When you submit your music for airplay, it’s easy to focus on just getting your song picked up. But think bigger.

If you build a connection with an individual, and can start a dialogue where you both provide something to each other that is mutually beneficial, you gain long term benefits.

Which could include a radio interview, a CD giveaway, a blog review or showcase, and multiple songs spun a number of times in a concentrated period of time.

This is really powerful marketing because you get in front of a focused audience multiple times.

The more you can get in front of the same number of people in an engaging way, the higher percentage of people will connect with you. It’s scientifically proven:

According to salesforce.com it takes 7-10 touches for a person to convert from observer to buyer when it comes to products.

Music is no different. In the business community, people have to experience your product offering a period of times before you can build the trust offering to get them to buy. This is a matter of your messaging (marketing) building a relationship connection with the individual to lead them to spend their money.

With radio listeners, your desire to get them to buy your music comes into play here too. Getting them to follow your social channels and engage with you is the same thing. Add crowdfunding to that, where asking people to invest in your project comes down to a reciprocal connection.

How to build a relationship that brings return

Let’s look at ROI the way that business people do. Robin Sharma writes in his best selling book The Greatness Guide,

“Ultimately business and life is about forging human bonds. Before someone will lend you a hand, you need to touch their heart. And that business is all about relationships.”

Helaine Olen of Inc Magazine’s piece in May 16 titled Spread the Wealth talks about how even asking for a loan from a bank is about relationships. If a bank, which has to use loans as a way to stay open, is still particular about operating their business from a relationship standpoint, how much more do we need to be in the creative space.

She writes that,

“You don’t want your conversation to be a once-a-year event, where it’s like you’re called into the principle’s office to beg for credit. Relationships matter.”

This is why friends can ask for gold but strangers can’t even give away free candy. When you know the person who is contacting you, and when you like this person, you’re willing to do much more for them than just what they ask.

Begin by reaching out to someone and asking a question, showing them that you value who they are and what they do.

Think about it from their perspective. If you were emailed, tweeted, and contacted countless times everyday by people you don’t know, all asking you to do something for them, how would you feel?

On the flip side, if you were contacted by someone you don’t know yet they knew your name, and talked about how much they value the work you do, would you feel the same way about this person as you do the strangers who just want a handout?

No, it’d be the opposite.

That is how you gain attention that leads to action.

Attention alone is pretty worthless, because it’s so fleeting. An Empirical Study of Web Use, researchers determined that the average human span in 2013 was only 8 seconds (the average goldfish can pay attention for 9 seconds).

You can gain 8 seconds of attention or a friendship that will benefit you for years. Which would you rather have?

Put relationship building to work for your growth success

Want To Grow Even More? Gain a bigger following, growth and success with one of the best minds in business.
Discover The Growth Farming Method Of Successful Relationship Growth by having a free strategy session with me here.

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.io.


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 airplayNetworking 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 now!

How To Submit Music To Radio That Gains Airplay

Radio Submissions That Get Airplay And Grow Your Fan Base

Music Submissions. They’re available everywhere but getting a station or program to play your music isn’t a walk in the park. Here’s how to know what to submit, what to leave out, and how to make your submission the most effective it can be.

Brody-CDDayAs you can see, we received a nice group of CDs in the mail for music submissions to The Appetizer Radio Show.

I brought this group home so I could get an early listen before I hand some of them off to my writing team for potential review.

My cat Brody was so into the new discs, he decided to show one set a little love like only a cat can.

With such an interesting collection of submissions, there were a few standouts I can detect just from the way the mailer was done, before I’ve even cracked the disc open and popped it into my player.

Also, there was at least one artist who sent something in that doesn’t reflect well for them (him, her, or group) in terms of getting any airplay or review feature. Because of these impressions, I want to share with you some very poignant lessons on what you absolutely must do when you send out CDs for submissions, and also what you should completely avoid.

Following both of these lists, I have some more ways you can benefit from CD mailers and radio airplay.

First thing to remember is that your music submission is a reflection of you as an artist and as a person. Make sure you represent yourself well.

How To Know What To Send For Radio Submission

Here’s one of the biggest pieces of advice I could ever give you: ask what to send before you send it to radio stations, music blogs, or other submission media.

Actually I’ll take it a step further. If you contact a radio station or program and ask just two questions instead of talking about how great your band is, you’re going to get a lot further a lot faster than 99% of unsigned and DIY artists.

What are those two questions?

The first question to ask is: Do you prefer submissions via email, link to music site, or hard copy discs?

The second question is: What would you like me to include in the submission (press kit, one-sheet, other)?

Here’s why these two questions are so important: You’re showing a station or music platform that you care about their preferences for submissions.

This alone can endear you to a decision-maker because you’re asking “How can I give you something exactly the way you want to receive it?” The response from this kind of messaging is usually much better than the music submission emails those of us in the radio/music industry get.

What Should You Include In Your CD Submissions

When you hear back from a station or music program that they want you to mail them a CD, there are a few other things to include in that mailing.

As I mentioned earlier, you need to include at least a 1-sheet for your band. The document should include some information about you, who you sound like, what people are saying about you (a mix of reviews and comments from fans works well), and contact information. If anything, provide a way for the radio platform to contact you.

You can also include a note to the station or to the radio contact who made the email response to you, that can be helpful in putting your name back on the radar with that individual, which can serve to endear you to them even more.

Make sure that your CD is in a protective case and that you have it professionally pressed. Sorry guys, when we (collectively speaking for the radio industry as well as for my radio platform) receive a CD that has a band name written in Sharpee on it, we’re not impressed. Actually that little element alone could keep your music from even getting auditioned. Here’s why:

Everything you do is a reflection of your art and your craft. This includes the CD mailing you make. Even if you’ve exchanged a few email or social media messages with a radio platform, you still need to present yourself in the most professional way you can. If you haven’t done a professionally mixed and pressed CD set, radio airplay might not be the thing for you to do yet.

If you’re not selling hard copy discs at your shows or marketing a hard copy pressing of your music in some capacity, radio airplay won’t serve the best outcomes for your music. Yes, you may get a few spins here and there on a few stations.

However, the end result you want from radio airplay is increased fan/audience growth and music purchases.

What Not To Do With A CD Mailer For Submission

If you want to get your music considered for radio airplay, don’t just mail in the CD disc only, with no protective case. It would be one thing if the CD had a printing on it so that anyone could tell who the disc was from.

That might help a little, but not much. When you only mail a disc with no case, you’re telling the music/radio platform that you are just going through the motions because you have to, and that you really don’t care about your own product. Make sure the discs are protected from scratches, cracks or potentially breaking (we all have had bad experiences with bubble-wrapped envelopes not doing their job).

Get Airplay, Audience Growth, Music Industry Networking & More

Radio airplay is an essential piece to growing your audience, selling more music and playing better concerts and venues.

Radio airplay is essential even in the age of streaming services like Pandora and Spotify.

Email submissions of music often fail to get read, songs heard and get responded to. You can discover how to stand apart from every other artist and music promotion company by submitting music the right way.

You can know the first steps you need to take to get yourself ready for radio airplay. You’ll also be able to walk through the right process of getting radio airplay.

As you can see, not all artists are getting airplay, or getting the featured articles and blog posts written about their work that they seek (and that they need for growth). There is the way that 99% of artists do things and there is the way that 1% of artists do things. Which one do you think is the most successful?

Do you know what the 1% of successful musicians do that works. Since this is such a mystery to so many DIY musicians, I created an online course that shows you exactly what steps to take to make airplay, reviews, interviews and media features a reality for you.

Become one of the 1% of artists to get radio and media feature. Nowhere else will you get this kind of information, training, promotion system and strategy.

Jump into the Indie Radio Promotion Course now!




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? Get on board the 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 inside!

Master One Simple Way To Grow Your Fan Base

Image of young businessman taking pleasure in his favourite music in office

What you imagine your fans to do when they listen to your songs. Air guitar.

As musicians, our primary focus is on making music and finding ways to grow our fan base.

As entrepreneurs, our primary focus is on expanding our business and grow our revenue streams.

Other things we need to do to grow are marketing and promotion. We turn to social media like Facebook and Twitter to make this easier.

How to gain the focus we need to succeed

Like you, I get distracted by the amount of other things to do that take my time, energy, focus, and attention. Do you find yourself distracted, especially online on places like Twitter and Facebook? You’re not alone.

While trying to use these platforms to let your fans know about your next gig or product offering, you find yourself swamped with hundreds of videos, pics, and other posts that take your focus away.

What if you had just one little secret that allowed you to get the word out and grow your fan base that didn’t require a ton of time or money?

And what if I told you not just one, but a few different ways to do this, each producing their own degrees of success for you?

Sounds like a winner, so let’s cut to the chase and get you rolling!

I’m all about simplifying how you do things for growth and success. It’s easier to remember when the process is just one or two steps. And when we achieve results in a timely manner, it makes repeating those easy steps even easier to do because you know it works.

Grow your fan base with this one trick on Twitter

Here’s one way to grow your audience today: Go on Twitter and engage with just one or two of your followers. Pick someone you don’t know well and start a conversation with them. You can just ask a question or say hello.

This serves you because it starts a dialogue. Dialogue shows you how your audience engages with what you do. Make the start of your conversation about them, not about  you. Here’s why:

People are more interested in themselves than anyone else. If you want to get someone’s attention, make the focus on them instead of on you.

Here’s an example from a conversation I started on Twitter:

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A conversation on Twitter gets the person (fan) more engaged with you as a human and not just a musician they happen to follow. Somewhere in the ongoing chat you can mention a song  you have that you want to share with them and send them a link. Or you can ask them a question about the music they’re listening to. Once a conversation is taking place, you have a more receptive avenue to get your music in front of an engaged participant.

That’s one more engaged fan, and all it took was a focused approach instead of a blanket post sent out to no one in particular.

Grow your fan base with this one growth hacking trick with radio

Here’s one more simple way to grow your fan base and have the potential to impact a greater number of people: listen to an indie radio station online who plays music similar to yours.

Give the thing you want to receive. It’s a principle Ghandi promoted.

Spend a little time enjoying their programming and finding something about the station you really enjoy.

Then go to the station’s Contact or About Us page and find the email for the Music Director/Program Manager. Send them an email saying how much you enjoy their programming today, in particular the part you heard that really stood out. You can ask if they accept music submissions or requests and then sign off.

The purpose of this email is two fold. One, you are identifying a radio station that may be a good fit for airplay for you. Second, you’re making a direct contact with a station manager that is not built around just pitching your music. Station managers get unsolicited emails daily from artists they’ve never heard of, all wanting the same thing. The focus of the emails they receive are usually just on the artist and not on the station programming, or how the artist’s music might be a good fit for their programming.

Remember, a station has an interest in serving their audience great content, not just playing music from someone who sends in a few songs. By taking the approach of being interested in the station’s programming (and praising the people who make that happen), you’re appealing more to the interests of the station manager. It makes them more willing and interested in hearing what you have to say.

When you get a reply in your inbox, you know you’ve achieved something, potentially a response that tells you how to make a radio submission. You are now on a more first-name basis with the station manager and have a little more connection to them than just an outsider promoting their own stuff.

Do something taught in the 1930s that has tremendous impact in the modern age

Both of these tactics are organic ways of building connection. In the social media marketing of modern day, where everyone is their own evangelist, it’s uncommon for people to take a genuine interest in others. But when you do the uncommon thing, you stand out so much more than the herd that is all shouting about their latest thing. It’s a similar principle to what Napoleon Hill taught for decades in his book How To Win Friends and Influence People.

To master this simple method, all you have to do is repeat it. Try this every day for a week, then for a month. Look back and see how much you’ve gained and how connected your audience is.

Be uncommon. It’s simple to not follow the herd. This way, you avoid stepping in all the crap that gets dropped, and you make out with better connections.

Indie Music Submissions music guide diy musician radio handbookGain more insights into how to communicate with people to get them to take action in my  book The DIY Musicians Radio Handbook. While it may seem like just something for musicians and radio, there is a pervasive theme and philosophy throughout the book that anyone can use to gain better attention with real people. Pick up your copy here.

Build A Super Fan Tribe The Bruce Springsteen Way

Over 40 years and more commercial success than you or I can throw a stick at might make some musicians think that Bruce Springsteen is so untouchable as a musician, trying to follow his path to success is a pipe dream.
That thought would be off, in a few ways.

After completing the biography Bruce by Peter Ames, I found myself with several journal pages of insights into how a self-starter musician in the late 1960s transformed rock music, created a cult following that has stretched into the modern day despite  obstacles, and much more insights.

Let me be clear, I am a Springsteen fan, potentially a super-fan of sorts. I do have most of his album collection on CD and vinyl, though I have not seen him perform live yet. By confession, I’ve only been at this level of interest in his music for less than a decade. Maybe I’m a slow starter…..

I say all of that because there’s a chance you’re not a massive Bruce Springsteen fan, though there’s also a good chance that you enjoy his songbook, or have at one point. The purpose of this book review isn’t to convert you to his fan following. What music you enjoy is your choice. Instead, what I want to do is give you plenty of reasons why you should pick up a copy of this book, if anything to learn some very practical and specific ways to cultivate super-fans of your own work.

Bruce is not all sunshine and rainbows, as the Springsteen lineage is traced back two generations and we see the trials and tribulations of his grandparents and parents. Their stories have found a way into Springsteen’s stories over the years in a few different varieties. And his own story is allegorical in songs like The Promise, which outlines the breakdown of his relationship with former manager Mike Appel.

I talk with a lot of artists who are convinced that they just need a manager or a booking agent to be successful. Maybe those two job roles could help. In Bruce, we see how even passionate and well-intentioned people can do things that are not in the best interest of the artist they represent. And we see how those situations can be avoided.

What about the infamous super-fan following that The Boss commands? Where did that come from and how did he manage to maintain it for several decades?

One thing that is clear in the book is that Bruce and the E Street Band played a ton of shows, and at times did touring that didn’t put them in front of massive audiences. The purpose of the rigorous schedule was to get the music and the band out to as many places as they could to promote their albums. Radio airplay helped promote the music to a point, but touring was key. This was how music success worked in 1973-1984 even with a hit record. It’s still true today.

The more you get in front of people, the greater opportunity you have to connect with music lovers who could potentially be your super fan. That’s one part of the puzzle Bruce and Co figured out early. The other part was more what Bruce discovered on his own and incorporated into everything he did. This part was operating from the mantra that people matter, and people’s stories are his to be shared. Music is the community connector.

Here are some quotes from the book dealing with this ideology:

“There’s a morality to the show, and it’s very strict. Everything counts. Every person, every individual in the crowd counts. To me.”

“…..the fans who came out every night in search of something more perfect than they could find in their daily lives.”

“(Audience growth) happens through the conversation you have with (people) in your songs. If people fall away, it’s because you lost the thread of that connection.”

There are many other great quotes worth your exploration. The heart of the How-To guide for Springsteen Super-Fan creation is an ideology that’s lived, and has been since the beginning. It’s not a facade or experiment to see “if I do this, people will love me and then I’ll be successful.”

The Springsteen method of super-fan growth is to be who you are. For Bruce, that meant to be a common person and not a diva, at least for the most part. No one is perfect and there are a few stories where we see a dark side to Bruce who seems a bit more like a diva than who he was trying to be.

What he did to connect with people and build his following happened as much off stage as it did on it. Bruce would spend time at places where his fans would frequent, like dancehalls and bars. He would engage with people he’d seen at his shows, or even as shows for other artists and have conversations with them, sharing stories that gave him a better perspective of people who could occupy his songwriting.

Even after the success of Born To Run, which launched him into stardom as a musician, he continued with this mantra of being approachable and relatable. Two decades later he took that relational practice a step further, personally contacting the families and survivors of 9/11 who expressed some degree of fandom for his music in the material he had access to. He kept his communications with those fans private, not using it as a marketing tool to promote his tour. He wanted that connection to be real and personal, and not perceived as political or a part of any agenda. Doing so had such a more dynamic impact than what we see musicians and entrepreneurs do so often-using events and tragedy as an opportunity to get their name and face out there.

“The best of my music that has social implications functions like that. They reach your heart first, then they speak to your soul, then they get into your bloodstream and move through the rest of your body and into your mind.”

Isn’t this a different pathway than many artists write? Most “undiscovered” or unsigned musicians are writing to connect with the mind first, with the hope that what the song is and does can eventually find its way into your heart. Instead, when the music becomes a part of you, you have created a connection that goes much, much deeper.

In a recent conversation I had with indie singer-songwriter William Fitzsimmons, he said something incredibly profound that we see in Springsteen’s work. William said artists must have a mission statement, and it can’t be to just make music. That’s too easy. For William, he writes musical therapy, that’s his mission.

For Bruce, “ordinary people tell their story through music; intimate stories of ordinary folks whose labors made wealthier men’s dreams come true.” This concept defines the entire songbook of Springsteen. It’s mission-driven work. Being great as a musician was a part of this mission, but there was something else driving the bus. The heart that drove the machine was the real and genuine connection with people.

Bruce by Peter Ames Carlin is available via Amazon and if you click on my affiliate link I will really appreciate it.

What are you doing to make real connections with people? How can you take the story of Bruce Springsteen and apply those keen insights into your work? Let’s talk this week about that. Reach out here and tell me how your music can be better impacted through relationship connections.

Radio-Ready: What Is It And Are You There?

Radio Mic Old Fashioned

I listen to a lot of indie, unsigned, DIY, and label artist every day.

Many of these artists are making music submissions for The Appetizer, and honestly I’m looking for new music to feature on our syndicated radio show.

Though I listen to a lot of music, I hear some great talent and I also hear many artists that are missing some of the quintessential elements needed to get their music on the radio.

I’m not saying that I have certain qualifications that other radio programs or stations don’t have. Actually we’re all in harmony with what it takes for a new band to get heard.

You’ve probably heard me use the term “Radio Ready” a few times. What does radio ready really mean? More importantly, how can you know if you are ready for radio airplay?

Honestly that last question is one that very rarely is asked by artists and musicians, and tragically so. The crux of the radio ready signification is having music at the level of airplay worthiness.

It’s having a combination of key elements that every radio and media professional (from music directors to station managers to music curators) are looking for.

I’ll go ahead and tell you exactly what you need to get radio airplay, and these are things that aren’t stated by radio insiders, so you are getting an inside tip. Ready? Here you go, you need these 3 things:

1.  Have A Great Sound

2. Have An Existing Following

3. Provide A Positive Listening Experience

Does that seem too easy? It’s not, because there are tons and tons of artists who submit music who don’t have these elements. I explain what these elements mean and how to ensure that you are at the level where you meet these 3 things in this FREE PDF.

When an artist asks why their music was accepted for a submission but they didn’t get the airplay they thought they would receive, it’s often likely that the initial listen by the radio or media professional sounded good enough to warrant a submission, or a look at their other work. But that following listen didn’t produce the mark that they were looking for. The band didn’t have a radio ready sound through and through.

Which brings us back to, what does it mean to be Radio Ready?

I’ve laid out the 3 big qualities that your music needs to have to get radio airplay on not just the local or regional music stations who carry indie and unsigned artists, but also the larger music curator hubs like NPR Music, Paste and Pitchfork.

If you want to have a chance of getting on any of their grids, or even getting picked up on indie web stations, go ahead and download my free PDF Get Radio Ready. This is one of the best free resources available to you to get your music in the right place to make your radio submissions really work.

When artists just send out an email with a link to their music, or if they just mail a CD to a radio outlet without making sure their music is at the level where radio decision-makers are going to approve, they run a big risk of not getting airplay or feature.

Do you want to know how to make radio submissions that are incredibly effective, get your music played on stations and help you grow your audience? Good, I’m going to give you the chance to learn how to get picked up by radio stations across the country. And you’re going to get the cumulative wisdom, lessons learned, and insights that have taken me years to learn, all without having to go through the trial and error that it cost me (and others).

Take these insights and expand on them with The Indie Radio Promotion Course, the first ever online training for DIY Artists and Unsigned Musicians to get radio airplay. The course includes videos, a PDF Handbook and several videos illustrating how to do everything. Click Here to sign up now!