Radio promo 101: assume the listener won't like your music

Radio Promotion 101: assume the listener won’t like your music

That’s basically what Bob Boilen (creator/host of All Songs Considered) advised during the “Public Relations, Public Radio, & More” panel at SXSW, emphasizing the importance of a great artist story when you’re trying to get radio play on NPR.

Ari Herstand wrote a great recap of this panel discussion for Digital Music News, with info on how to pitch your music to different producers and hosts at NPR. But the thing that struck me most about the discussion was Boilen’s insistence on having a good artist story.

According to the DMN article:

Boilen explained that when he was the music director of All Things Considered he always “made the assumption that the person listening to this music is going to hate it. And if you work from that premise then you have to find some way to tell a story and give [the listener] a reason to understand why this person makes the music they make and why they’ve chosen this path in life. You might hate the music… BUT you understand why they’re playing that music.”

“There has to be a story that any person can get excited about whether or not they like the music” – Vince Pearson, Associate Producer, Morning Edition, NPR.

We’ve talked a lot about the importance of building your artist story, and using that story as the centerpiece for your music publicity (and radio) campaigns.

If you’re looking for some tips on how to find and pitch that story alongside your music, check out “How to create and tell your artist story.”

And on a somewhat related topic, since your image is one of the most immediate aspects of your story, check out “How to create an image for your band.

Have you had success promoting your music to radio? What was your “story?” Do you feel like you’re at a disadvantage because you haven’t found your story yet? Let me know in the comments below.

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[Picture of boy listening to music from Shutterstock.]