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Get on Internet Radio: How to Promote Your Music the DIY WayInternet radio play for indie artists

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:

* Submit your music to Pandora.

* Listen to Live365 or SiriusXM show ( Sirius does both satellite and internet radio).

* 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.

Getting Radio Play the Easy Way

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  • I have made some progress this way but I'm sure the fact that I made it to Pandora has to do with timing. The line might be quite a bit longer these days.

    rada http://www.pianopassions.com

    • I imagine you're right, since they listen to everything with their actual ears before accepting. And they're getting more and more popular. So the line's gotta be growing and growing.

  • I accept submissions for playlisting on liveradio.co.za. The submission instructions are here: http://www.hollow.co.za/djzephyr/playlisting

    I will play any genre except Spoken Word 🙂

  • Ironically the best podcast with the most listeners and in the top ten globally I am now on is on a station where the DJ approached me. Ironic because I was totally ignored on others who said they’d play my music but never really did or hardly at all.
    You really have to keep plugging away putting you music on every free online site you can find and eventually something will happen and you will ferret out your fans.
    That is how he found me; on another site.
    I also was recently contacted by another person in the process of setting up an online radio site who asked if they can feature my Chemtrails Blues video when they get it together and that they had found online as well.
    Again you have to be relentless. I also write fiction under another name and the 13th magazine I sent a story too bought it. Your audience is out there.

  • Good advice. Relentlessness plus relentlessness! And then keep up those personal relationships with the DJs who DO play your music.

  • Awww. Poor Spoken Word! Thanks for the submission details.

  • alias2u2

    Unsigned Indie bands who are deserving are getting real rotation broadcast radio airplay with the help of the dedicated team at Artist Airplay Advisors http://www.beanbag1.com/AAA.html

  • For podcasts, it's good to have your stuff listed on MusicAlley.com. Not a lot of huge podcasts get stuff there, but a ton of little ones. Everything helps.

    For internet radio I basically followed the steps above and have found it pretty easy to get some play. I work in the comedy music niche so there's fewer stations, but they're pretty open to it.

    DeliRadio.com is another interesting site that mashes up a couple different kinds of models. But the coolest part is that they'll automatically add your stuff to city based stations for wherever you're touring.


    Does anyone know of a on line list of podcasts and their formats? Like in the DIY old days you could find lists of radio stations and their formats. I wonder if there is anything like that on the web and if not there totally should be. People could go on it and register their podcasts and artists could target podcasts who cater to a similar format to send their music to. win/win! If anyone knows of any please email me them at sdpinc@comcast.net thanks and good luck to all!

    • There's gotta be something like that. I'll dig around. If anyone else finds it, please post here.

  • There probably is no shortcut. I really benefit from relationships I have built over the years. So I encourage everybody to keep going even if it doesn't pay off right the other day. I have received best "airplay" through personal contacts, because they don't just put a song on rotation but really introduce it along with a web address etc.

    • Yes, exactly. And the more the DJ talks you up, the more the listener will pay attention.

  • Danny Grause

    Anyone interested in the funky side of country? http://www.dannygrause.com/

  • Finding the right radio stations for your music and following their submission guidelines is tedious work. But, it can really pay off. Do not forget to contact the stations when you are playing a live show in the area and ask for an interview just prior to the show. Many stations will plug your music and plug your show. This gives immediate payoff in larger crowd sizes, more merchandise sales and the opportunity to get rebooked at a higher price from the venues.

  • brian botkiller

    The sad thing about this, though, is that Pandora is horribly picky, and very hard to get onto. They choose what they want, so they’re not really a very reliable music discovery service, as they’re driven by their editor’s choices. I prefer last.fm, personally.

  • Love this post! Very informative! I would just like to add please look out for those who would want you to "pay to play." In my opinion that is so bogus and shady! They are just out to get money for themselves and not even care about the artist. In most cases, if you pay to play, it will be just one time your music might be played. How is that any exposure? There are a lot of great internet radio stations that will play your music with no hesitation and they won't ask you for money. I am an indie artist and I have been in rotation with this new internet radio station, Smack Tongue, and I can't believe the support I have been getting from them and their listeners! For anyone who would like more information about them, or you want to send your music to them, you can email radio@smacktongue.com. You can also check out the music nights on Fridays at 7pm CST/8pm EST/5pm PST or Saturdays at 10pm CST/ 11pm EST/ 8pm PST. I must say, they do have a high rotation of hip hop artists but they have had a good amount of rock and funk music!

  • Patton Fox
  • We are looking for christian and gospel singers, musicians and bands' music for online radio play, etc. Email sound wave/digital files to pastorjrouseshow@gmail.com along with a bio and upcoming events list….allow 2 to 3 weeks advance notice of your upcoming events. If you want to mail it in, email us for particulars and details. Mailed in discs will not be returned.

  • We are presently taking submissions from bands that would like to be played on our streaming radio station that is preparing to be launched: http://www.devnullradio.com/how-to-get-your-band-

  • Guest

    So you want your music played on the radio? Well, I know of a program called DMDS. DMDS allows instant uploads to major radio broadcasters and TV networks like MTV. They recieve your content and can potentially air your single or video or whatever it may be. Give it a try I would seriously reccommend it!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MN83BXP3dk

  • john

    not to mention http://www.radionomy.com, you can create complete stations with only your selection of music. What a great promotional tool!

  • Trizzymothafukin Trill
  • nana avenue
  • Scott Benton

    I was 1/2 of the Scott and Pam radio show and we spend HOURS going through myspace profiles looking for quality bands. Quality isn’t just a good band but also good recordings. Offering up 5-10 CD’s to give away during the show ALWAYS helped get a bands music played. Now I’m back on the musicians side of the coin and working to get my music played. Great article!


    We accept new music for independent gospel artists at http://www.ewordradio.com

  • http://www.AnthonyRenzulli.com

    Any radio station like what they hear please email me for an Mp3 at Anthony@AnthonyRenzulli.com

  • BrianzishBoe

    The New Album “Scardasynoum (Vol. 5) (Explicit)” Is Here!
    Click to Download: bit.ly/ScardasynoumAlbum
    Please Submit this Album to Pandora! Spread the Word!

  • Isaiah Jay

    I’m doing just what you guys are mentioning. http://www.tatemusicgroup.com/epk/?id=24220 Tune in!