How to take a song to radio & what it costs?

The road once taken-to stardom now has many twists and turns. With the emergence of online social networks, satellite radio and streaming an artist needs to see themselves as a brand. A 360-degree marketing machine. In order to engage consumers in today’s economic climate artists have to offer different ways to initiate brand awareness.

Terrestrial radio, which comprises the Billboard and Country Aircheck charts, now consists mainly of three corporate giants, Entercom, iHeart and Cumulus. These three companies now have stations in roughly 80% of all rated markets. For all intents & purposes, three gentlemen make all of the programming decisions for what we hear over the air. In addition, syndicated programs have become a significant part of the radio landscape. This presents new obstacles for emerging and established artists.

RADIO AIRPLAY – HOW DO I GET IT?

Once I have a mastered album, how do I get heard on the radio? 

If you already have an album done and just need to get it to the labels with promotion, here is how that works…

Between the producer, the artist, and the management team, a specific song needs to be selected to use as a ‘single’ for radio. If people cannot listen to your song on the radio, how can they buy your album, join your fan club, or even know you exist? Once a ‘single’ is selected you have a few options for distribution.

DISTRIBUTING A SINGLE TO COUNTRY RADIO 

Airplay Access
Why artists/labels use AirplayAccess?

  • No postage expenses, saving you $$$ when servicing your music digitally.
  • No more downtime waiting for radio to receive your CD
  • No need for manufacture CDs to send to radio, cutting CD manufacturing costs.
  • 24/7 AirplayAccess download tracking. Real-time tracking to view who and how much a release is downloaded in your account.
  • Integrated within the radio industry’s leading system, STS.
  • AirplayAccess maximizes your release by sending out announcements highlighting its availability to radio.
  • Your music is available to radio for a minimum of three months. If your music charts, it will remain indefinitely.

WHY RADIO USE AIRPLAYACCESS?
100% free for all radio stations. No fees for radio programmers, ever! Get new releases before your competition. Integrated within the music industry’s leading radio airplay charting source, STS, for easier access to music downloads and new releases. Radio access to National airplay charts to see which songs are most popular or gaining traction.

TECHNOLOGY & RADIO INTEGRATION
Complete detailed data on how radio engages with your music. Know who has listened to your music before you make the call.

THE “RIGHT” RADIO
AirplayAccess is available to commercial and non-commercial radio stations, Program Directors, Music Directors, Syndicated Radio Shows, Satellite and Internet radio stations worldwide.

INTEGRATIONS
AirplayAccess is used by both major and independent record labels and artists/bands worldwide as a cost effective source when servicing their music to radio programmers. Integrated within the leading radio airplay tracking source, STS, giving your music the exposure it deserves 24/7. 

AllAccess — All Access Downloads (AADL) music service. $500/single or $1,500/album (two campiagns each). There are other website and email campaign advertising as well as a radio calls/promotion six-week or life-of-project option.
www.allaccess.com

 

CDX CDX gets you multiple introductions to radio and industry executives. The cost for servicing a track with CDX is $1,400 for Mainstream Country and includes the following benefits:

  • Digital delivery of singles via our proprietary InstaTrack downloading system;
  • Inclusion on the hard copy CD (PDs still like to pop it in their car and listen while they drive);
  • On day of hard copy CD shipment we eblast out again for download the entire song list on the CD being sent;
  • Each single is also blasted out on our phone app;
  • We host and record artist performance visits and include those videos on our highly-visited CDX homepage;
  • All artist performance videos are posted onto our YouTube channel and shared intermittently throughout social media (over 20,000 followers across our social media platforms);
  • We Periscope and Facebook Live all artist performances out to radio programmers, fans, and all social media for an inside, behind-the-scenes look of the artist visit;
  • Any client press releases we receive are posted on our site (over 5000 hits a month by radio programmers);
  • We service artist liners to radio;
  • We follow every artist we service and continue to support them through posting of upcoming events, shows, or stories well after their visit or single has been released through CDX;
  • We build volume-specific Spotify playlists which include both major label and independent artists and promote these playlists throughout social media; and probably the biggest benefit we now offer is real and actionable airplay data that is tracked by our revolutionary airplay monitoring service CDX TRACtion. TRACtion gives you the ability to see where you are getting REAL airplay spins through its powerful radio monitoring application. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER and TRACtion’s monitoring system is EMPOWERING. Because artists, labels, managers, booking agents, publicists, publishers – everyone who works in the music industry – deserve clear and accurate data on when and where their music is being played.

There is a monthly subscription fee of $195 for this tracking data, BUT as the person submitting a track for CDX to send to radio you will be given login credentials for one month of tracking on your single for free. That’s right – one free month of tracking. So add another $195 in value to the benefits you are receiving as a CDX client.

We service ALL US country radio stations – including the reporters. Additionally, we service:

  • Classic Country and variety stations who play “some country”;
  • Programming services and satellite companies;
  • Trade magazines and country radio programming consultants;
  • Record companies, publishing companies, booking agencies and music industry professionals;
  • Through a partnership with the Country Music Association we service the CMA International member DJ’s/presenters throughout Europe, Asia, and Australia.

PIayMPE — Cost is $350 to distribute a single to Music Row reporting stations only and $750 for distribution of a single to the entire reporting panel including Billboard, Music Row, and Country Aircheck. PIayMPE reaches more program and music directors than any other service.
www.plaympe.com

Now that radio has the 'single' what happens next?

The first thing you need to do is decide if you want to hire independent radio promoters. Individual radio promoters work with each station’s Program Director to get your single added. These promoters work in different territories and regions, which is the reason multiple promoters should be hired.. If you’re currently thinking of hiring radio promoters keep in mind that the cost can be upwards of $15,000 to $25,000 per month.

Each secondary radio promotion company will charge approximately $5,000 for 16 weeks of promotion on a single with an additional $1250 for each month after the initial 16 weeks. Each promoter is paid in advance of the release of the single. The chart serves as the weekly report as to what station is playing the single. Promoters will give insight as to what stations are close to ‘adding’ a single as they get that information.

These promoters can also advise on what stations would like to set up telephone interviews. Some artists travel to visit radio stations and to appear during morning and afternoon drive in addition to conducting telephone interviews. This incurs expenses in addition to the radio promoter’s costs. Whether it is a telephone bill or fuel cost, all of these expenses add up.

NOTE: Radio Promoters are practically the only part of the music business that has NO accountability. Either one week the chart is too tight, stations playlists are frozen, etc. Excuses are fluent with promoters, so your best bet is to hire off of recommendation or personal experience.

Additional streaming options

The music business model shifts as streaming revenue dominates and becomes a discovery tool for new artist.

You need to be on at least the following…

How do I get my music distributed online to the streaming services?

 

Additional Radio Options

Radio Media Tours (RMTs)
Radio tours make an immediate impact for artists of all formats as well as authors, celebrities, corporate brands, and record labels. With the ability to reach upwards of 20 million listeners in demographic specific formats, our radio tours build brand awareness and target consumers with expendable income in your target demographic.

Joining forces with companies like Westwood One, Premiere Radio Networks, Entercom, Envision, and ABC Radio Networks we offer many different options. Multiple radio tours can be scheduled back to back or on consecutive days allowing you to reach the maximum number of potential consumers across different formats or tailored to one specific target group. We can work with you to identify key target demographics such as the 25-54 year old “money demo” or even super-cells of 18-34 year old females.

Station Visits
Radio programmers are no different than anyone else. They like doing business with people they think of as friends. They appreciate the personal satisfaction of being part of a success story. Visiting and developing relationships with Radio is a vitally important part of expanding an artist’s reach. Because everyone pays lots of attention to the larger major market stations, they tend to completely ignore the smaller stations. The smaller stations are vastly more willing to help promote those independent artists that think enough of them to take time to stop in and say hello. These stations are the ones that will start you. They are the ones that will appreciate you, be grateful and respectful of your time and remember, they have listeners too.

An old-school “tower-to-tower” acoustic radio tour is one of the most effective ways to put a face and handshake with the music and can help make a lasting impression on those taste-makers at radio.  This is accomplished by the artist and their tour manager traveling from one station to another-large, medium and small market stations. The tours are typically booked in conjunction with performance schedules and/or single releases. Ideally, a radio tour will take place in the weeks prior to and extending into the initial impact period of a single and will be finished by the mid or 3⁄4 point of the life of the record, while your record promoters are calling the stations and asking for adds.

A well-orchestrated radio tour provides the artist and tour manager with all of the necessary information to complete the tour successfully. From day one the radio tour team in Nashville calls the radio stations well in advance of the artist’s visit to schedule an appointment with the program director or music director of the station. In addition to making and confirming appointment days and times, you receive all of the contact information; including call letters of, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and of course the names and titles of those the artist will meet. A solid tour management team will provide you with turn by turn directions via mapping applications, travel distances and estimated fuel costs based on current market trends.

It is always a good idea to be prepared to play. Many times you will be asked to play live on the air, particularly at the smaller stations. It is also good form to bring 8x10s to autograph for everyone you meet and then follow-up with hand-written thank you notes.