Let’s be honest; as a DIY musician you’re probably not going to get sudden and sustained airplay on the giant terrestrial radio stations. You simply don’t have the budget for the kind of radio campaign where every DJ in the country starts spinning your single in a short period of time.
So put aside your dreams of breaking into the top of the charts overnight and get used to the idea of building your career at a more measured pace! How?
Running your own radio promotion campaign
Non-traditional forms of radio (satellite, internet, and podcasts) are huge these days. Many of the popular music streaming sites like Pandora have even made the jump from the internet into people’s mobile devices and cars.
The good news is that getting significant play on these new types of radio formats is a far easier task than the commercial campaigns of yesteryear. The obvious trade-off is that you have to do a little more research, as each individual station/program/podcast will have their own submission guidelines.
But the best part is, they actually want artists to submit their music, so you have a real opportunity to form close and lasting relationships with DJs and program directors. Sounds like the beginnings of a sustainable music career to me!
How do I find internet radio stations that will play my music?
It’s important to point out that almost EVERY radio station is an internet radio station nowadays. Even terrestrial stations that broadcast via the old fashioned airwaves are streaming online. But what you want to find are the smaller, niche stations (either exclusively online or indie-focused/community terrestrial stations) that play YOUR kind of music.
Here’s a few places to start:
* Check out this Wikipedia list of popular internet radio stations worldwide.
* Browse through the hundreds of stations (categorized by genre) in your iTunes player’s radio section and make note of the ones that’d fit your music.
* Look through the music podcasts in the podcast section of the iTunes Store. (Podcasts aren’t technically the same thing as internet radio, but hey — we’re not splitting hairs here, are we?)
[Just so there is no confusion, iTunes does not produce the podcasts or internet radio stations that show up in their directory, but merely provide the directory to bring many stations and podcasts together in one place. Locate the shows that are right for your music and then hunt down their submission guidelines individually online.]
Now for the hard part: the personal touch
Here’s the part of the job that’s a little bit of work — but ultimately rewarding: you’re going to have to check out the submission guidelines for each of these stations/radio shows individually; do your research; Google!; follow the blogs and Twitter feeds of your favorite DJs; introduce yourself (but in a non-annoying and non-demanding way); then send them your music, of course.
Yes, it’s more work than blanketing hundreds of stations at once with a generic press package. Yes, it takes time. Yes, it’d be easier to just pay a professional radio promoter tens of thousands of dollars to do the work for you. But c’mon — do you have tens of thousands of dollars? If you approach 200 DJs and 20 of them end up playing your music on their shows, you may’ve won 20 new supporters not just for one song, or one album, but for life!
What have you done to get your music played on internet radio? Let us know in the comments section below.