Radio is definitely not entirely dead. Getting radio airplay still means that your music will be heard by a huge number of people. Many radio stations only cater to a select few artists, and so many independent musicians it can still be hard to get heard. So then what is the best way to use radio and radio exposure to get yourself some to a as an independent musician, rapper or singer?
There are entire companies dedicated to what is called “radio tracking.”. Getting radio play can be extremely difficult. Radio tracking includes the processes of getting your music and beats for sale on the radio, following up with radio stations and tracking the amount of play you get. These companies however can be very expensive to hire. It is a huge amount of work, even though it is totally possible to do it by yourself. Make sure you have really great music before you try going to the radio. Next make sure your song is properly mixed and mastered. No radio station in the world will take an un-mastered song and add it to rotation. It’s also usually a good idea to get some professional physical CDs made in case the stations you send your music to don’t accept digital download links.
Creating a press kit is also something you’ll need to do. You’ll need a good, professionally written biography of yourself as an artist or group and some professional press photos if you want to do this right. You’ll want a “one sheet” that has your biography, some press quotes and some other information. Also specify 2 or 3 tracks from the album you sent that are your best songs. Reviewers and DJs probably won’t listen to the whole CD so point them in the right direction. Don’t make them go through the entire CD or leave them guessing. Help make their job easier and they’ll appreciate it more. These radio stations get lots of mail so making your package stand out is also a good idea. Everyday hundreds and hundreds of other musicians send in their music too. Make yourself stand out in the pile of others. After this it is time to find radio station’s you’re going to send your music to.
Even though this seems common sense, it is very important and you’d be surprised to see what some artists do. Make sure you know who and where would best receive your CD and send it to them. Do not just send it out everywhere to anyone. Stations that will actually play your music are the only one’s worth going after. As a rapper, don’t send your CD to a country station. Commercial radio (the main pop/rock/urban stations in your area) is probably not the best place to start because they are very controlled and hard to break into. College radio is great for independent artists though because it is less controlled and more accepting to independent and underground rappers and singers. Get yourself a copy of the “Indie Bible” because it is a great resource. It’s a massive book full of contact info for radio stations and places to send your music. Compile a list of stations and get ready to mail your CDs and email your digital links out to them. Even if you have to call ahead, try to find a specific person to send your music out to.
Work in steps when you are sending out your songs on the beats for sale you’ve purchased. Begin by hitting up your local radio stations and then work province/state wide and finally around the rest of the country. Make sure you are following up with everyone you send your music out to at every stage. Contact them to see if they received your CD after a couple weeks. Remember not to be annoying and a pest. But asking if they received the CD or had a chance to listen to it is totally ok. Don’t be fake, pushy or rude and you will go far. Keep radio stations interested in you if they actually do decide to add your song(s) to rotation. Drops and radio promos are great things to offer them. In-Studio performances and interviews are also great ways to keep the buzz going. You should do whatever possible to make the most of the airtime they’re willing to give you on that particular radio station. You can still get some serious exposure on radio stations so work hard at it and it will pay off.