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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Getting Radio Airplay.... Or Not!

Today is a wet, rainy day and it's Sunday, so thought I might just give you a recap on where I'm at so far.

I've been running an indie record label/management company full time for about 6 months now. I currently manage only one band at this stage as I would rather focus on one act that has 'hit' potential, rather than 3 that are just pretty good. I spend a lot of time doing the upkeep of all sites (website, Bebo, MySpace etc), replying to every message and every comment, commenting back, adding blogs etc. That alone is a full time job!

We put together a video for the first single this band released off their album, and posted it up on YouTube. Within 5 days it had received over 300,000 views! So I was pretty happy with that, considering that the biggest rock band here in New Zealand has only received 57,000 views! It proved to me that the public were loving it - we received a lot of honours on YouTube and the emails flowed in. It confirmed to me that we had hit the mark with choosing that first song.

So, using the YouTube feedback as our credibility I decided that one way or another, we need to get this song on air. I got hold of the name of every programme director at each radio station fitting the genre, called them and introduced myself. I mentioned that I would like to send them a copy of the album and a couple of weeks later, I called back to follow up. The result I got from them, collectively, were that it was "cheesy" and "wouldn't fit into the playlist" etc. CHEESY???? What the heck? Were they listening to the same track that I was? And the other 300,000 people? I was too polite to mention that many of the current tracks on their playlist were what I would term as "cheesy"! I have sinced learned that getting any kind of air play is a very political venture! In the music industry.. it is not WHAT you know, is is definitely WHO you know.

But... I wasn't about to stop there! No way were they going to knock me down and put me in my place. I was more determined than ever.... [to be continued..]

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: "Success is your responsibility. You will only accomplish what you believe you can and do what you think is possible"


breakfree74 said...

Something tells me that these radio programmers have their heads in their clouds (or elsewhere), I have heard the artist of which you speak...and cheese is certainly not a word that I would associate with that act.

I agree that it can be a hard road getting these people to listen, often they are told "from the powers that be" what they are to play, it is usually based upon corporate means. Major record labels will pay for play, its a well known thing once referred to as payola (see Allan Freed from the 60s), and believe me it still goes on.

300,000 views to me is a realistic thing, for them to overlook that tells me that they are not out for artist integrity but the fast buck.

Also knowing a lot of the stations here in New Zealand play what i would refer to as crap, i would take it as a bit of a compliment in some ways to not be associated with them.

So where to next? I suggest internet radio, student radio overseas...broaden the horizons further than the little podunk mentality of these so-called professionals. The internet is a wonderful resource which can afford you the pleasure of going beyond your own town, state or country, the world is literally your oyster.

Target the types of people that listen to the same bands that you're influenced by, they will find something of merit in your music that these other boneheads are probably too uneducated to play (lets face it, if all they are doing is playing cd's chances are they know NOTHING about playing an instrument or writing a song).

We shall see who has the last laugh when something that these fools have panned turns into a success. I seem to recall one of my favourite bands was passed by every record label in the UK, only to now be the band that has spent more time on the UK charts than any other. Funny how karma can play its role.

Don't lose hope just because some people do not "get" you or the artist you represent, the people that do, their opinions will far outway the naysayers. Use their disapproval as fuel for the fire and you will succeed.


Kadz said...

In the music industry.. it is not WHAT you know, is is definitely WHO you know.

You said it right. We had this problem before with one of the local bands we had back home. They already had an album and were planning of bringing them to the locals through our radio station. The PD was all okay with, but the owner of the radio station wanted to let the band pay for us to play the songs on air. Greed.

Program directors and station owners should really be music lovers in the first place. If they're in the business just so to earn, they better just shut their station down and find something better to do.

Kudos to your band for having 300,000 hits on You Tube. That's already one way of knowing if the band has the potential to make it mainstream, not just some PD or radio personnel calling it cheesy or whatnot.

Best of luck!

Debs said...

@breakfree74: Yes you are definitely right, I heard that in the States labels pay up to $100,000 to get their artists playlisted. But I think there HAS to be another way to break into it. For instance, what about the indie labels? The likes of Evanescence who are on Wind-Up Records (albeit the biggest indie label in America).. would be interesting to know if it's all about the money there...

You are right - the internet is an awesome resource with which we can now use to promote music (and all sorts of other things!!). It's definitely a great vehicle for getting your name out there - whilst I don't believe you can "make it" solely by posting songs on the internet.. I think it can go a long way to helping the cause.

Thank you for your words of wisdom, always good to hear different points of view and new suggestions & idea's!

Debs said...

Hey Kadz, thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Program directors and station owners should really be music lovers in the first place.

That is so true, but unfortunately it doesn't seem to work that way. I found it interesting what you said about the owner of the station wanting money - so it's not just a U.S thing?! I am interested to find out if that's the way it is here in NZ. I shall look into it. I have a feeling it might be - the major labels RUN the radio stations here! It's definitely not about the music - and the story of Blindspott shows that: they were classed as too heavy for radio. The networks were forced to playlist them in the end due to overwhelming requests from fans! Something's gotta give...

I think internet radio/podcasting are beginning to get much bigger than we realise... will be interesting to watch what happens..