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Marketing Music
Will Griffin

    Getting Radio Airplay:

    One of the marketing factors essential for an artists, certainly a new artists, is radio airplay.  Although some projects like "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou" soundtrack was an exception, it did have a movie that got the music in front of audiences.

    Radio stations can only play your CD, if you legally recorded it with AFM union musicians and that you are set up to pay royalties to all others, if you have recorded a song they wrote; which is also the requirement if you wish to get it signed with a major label, indie label, or to sell your CD on-line through Amazon.com, CDNow.com and others. 

    The radio industry has changed with consolidation and ownership of radio stations by large conglomerates as the result of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.  As an example, Clear Channel Communications now owns about 1,200 of the total 11,000 U.S. radio stations.  Clear Channel generally has a rotation of about 30 songs in their play lists and voice-tracking programming.  It is therefore best to try to get airplay on a smaller and locally/independently owned radio station.  Local airplay like this will help you to build your local following, sell CDs, and get local playing (paying) gigs.

    There are several ways to try to get radio airplay.  One is having either a major or independent record label do this as part of their contract with you.  In many cases, both the major labels and indie labels will ask what air play the artist is now getting and in which markets.  You also have to remember that as you try to get airplay, that the major labels and other promoters spend about $250,000 or more to promote artists for radio airplay and other considerations.  Therefore, if you don't have this kind of budget, you will have to come up with alternative means to compete against those who do.

    You can get a list of radio stations that play your genre of music and do a mass mailing yourself, but like doing this unsolicited to the labels, the chances for getting heard are not very good.

   It is best to set up your own web site, so that when you send your CD and promo package to a radio station, they can visit your web site to learn more about you and have a means of contacting you.  This way you are showing them and all others that you are a serious professional.

    An artist should have their own web site and own their own URL name such as YOU.com.  This way you can have as one of you POP3 email addresses of.  you@yourname.com for easy recall and you show far more stability than those amateur artists who use @yahoo.com/@hotmail.com and other free web based addresses. 

    You should be hosting your web site on a reliable server and paying the hosting and bandwidth fees yourself   Your web site should have contact information, on-line CD sales, brief 30 sec. clips, on-line order forms, latest news, biography/discography, tour/club dates, mailing list for fan club and other features for your listeners and customers of your products.

    Along with your own web site, you should also show all sites where you, your CD and your web site are listed in a directory to show the radio stations and all others that others have already recognized and taken a chance on you.  This also gives you more data/numbers per the volume of visitors and sales you have, in your existing marketing and exposures.

    By recording your project legally, setting up your own domain and web site, and marketing yourself on-line and through other means, you are showing radio stations, record companies, distributors, and promoters that you have already invested into yourself and that you are continuing to do so.  By doing this, you show them that you are investing and believing in yourself and so should they.  You also show them that you are very organized and professional and that you will make money in this venture with or without them.

    Even if you are using many methods of marketing yourself on-line, on the phone and through snail-mail, you may also wish to hire a company or work out an agreement with them to help you get some radio airplay and other forms of promotion.

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