Tag Archives: radio promotion

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!

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.

Get a preview of the first 4 chapters of the DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook 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 program to connect with new artists across the country and around the world.

But I’m seeing some really bad trends in how artists are contacting media outlets. It’s a trend that has gone on for a while now, and is increasing more and more each month. I want to address that negative trend here and encourage you to not make these mistakes.

justin-wayne-ill-micMusicians and bands really have to promote and submit their Top-Shelf music to radio and media. This is one trend that is not good and is happening far too often. 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.

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.

Want to know if your music is Top-Shelf and Radio-Ready? 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. 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.

How To Get A Response From Your Radio Submission

Radio Mic Old FashionedYou’ve sent your music submissions out to radio in the hopes that your music will get picked up and carried on radio stations, music programs and other media. Now what?

The NEXT STEP is something a lot of artists don’t do. Honestly, the next step is the best part of the submission process. It shows you how well you do at making first impressions.

Your submission to radio for airplay look just like every artist and label’s blanket pith.

OR it can be crafted in a way that makes you stand out from every other artist who is trying to get their music heard. When you do craft the submission right, you’re in the gold.

Getting a response from stations and programs happens through submissions and pitches. Most music curators have very little time for phone calls, especially to people we don’t know on a first name basis.

Whether you’re contacting radio for airplay, review or interview this principle is true.

(Speaking of interviews, If you want to know how to get a radio interview click here and let’s talk.)

Make it a habit to check your email at least once a day after you start your radio submissions. Here’s why:

When a media professional responds to you, you need to make sure any questions they ask in their reply are answered quickly. If they want more information, the longer you take to write back the more you are flirting with a common human characteristic: forgetfulness.

It’s true, we’re human too and with the influx of media that radio music managers deal with on an hourly basis (let alone daily) is massive. If you take 1-2 weeks to respond to a reply that was sent to you about your submission, it becomes harder to make the connection that you wanted to make, and in turn get the airplay or feature you were hoping for.

You’re in the relationship building business, even if music is at the heart and soul of your offering. The truth is that the better you get at networking and building relationship connections, the greater your audience will be and the more radio/media support you’ll have to back it up.

Do you want to know the first, second, and next steps to take to not only get your music on the radio, but build relationships with radio station managers, radio program hosts, music bloggers, and other media professionals? I’d love to show you the practical and connection-building techniques I’ve used for years to do just that. It’s all about of The Indie Radio Promotion Course.

Have you sent submissions out to radio and not heard anything back? There could be a reason for that too. Let me help you get your messaging right so you can have the airplay and feature you’re looking for. Click here to connect directly with me.

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.