How to Get Radio Play and Album Reviews

It can seem like an overwhelming task to get radio and reviewers to give your album attention. The articles I have read on the subject basically tell you to send it out to every magazine, blog, and college station out there.

If you do not have an investor that can be too much of an expense to think about. And even if you had that kind of money you could very well be throwing it away. Printing the album, then printing a cover letter or press kit, envelopes, and postage on top of that. And how do you know if anyone is even listening to it? (Hint: If you are sending it out without having made an email or phone contact you can follow up with it is probably sitting in a big bin of submissions no one will ever listen to.)

I highly suspect that all those “new” CDs from third party sellers on sites like Amazon come from artists who have blindly sent albums out. The artist is financially shooting themselves in the foot twice by doing this. They have not only paid to send their album to someone who never listened to it, but are also losing a sale to someone who bought their album in a bulk box of albums that were never listened to and are now being undercut.

I have had a fair amount of success in reviews and airplay on my latest album, Soulfisticated. By working strategically, I have not been spending a whole lot of money getting it out there. I will tell you my secret if you click on this link and pay $9.99 for the book. Kidding. I’ll tell you for free, because I am a nice guy.

RADIO

First of all, do a Wikipedia search for “College Radio Stations.” It will bring up a huge list (probably more than you think you can handle) but break it down to an hour or two per day. A lot of the stations will say they only accept hard copy submissions. Don’t worry about that. If you were sending it blindly to the station that would be an issue, but we’re not.

When you click through to the station site look at the schedule and program descriptions. Find the programs playing your genre, and try to find a direct email for them. If you can’t find one email the main station contact with the subject line “ATTN: (show name.)”

The email should include a site where they can stream the music, and a secure link where they can grab the songs they want. These need to be encoded at a minimum of 320kbps.

Important!!!! —> make sure your mp3 have meta data ID tags on them indicating artist, song name, album, and song writers. If you don’t know how read this.

If you are hoping to collect royalties make sure that you register your songs with a royalty collecting agency, and have uploaded your music to Neilson BDS so it gets tracked if it gets played. This is a free service.

Make sure the download link is easy to find when they click through. The free sites that hide the download button in ads and pop ups? Do not use them. It would be better to invest in a secure site and pay a subscription fee as long as you’re promoting your album. You want to look as professional as your music is.

The email should contain a bit of background on your music/sound. Also, look at the playlist and see if there is anyone similar they are playing who you could compare yourself to.

Include any quotes that have been written about your music. It can be hard to get reviewed (especially as a new comer) so get creative if need be. Did one of your engineers work for someone well known? Get a quote from them and mention who they worked with. As a last resort you could use quotes people have left on your YouTube channel or Soundcloud etc. Someone else applauding your talent is always an easier sell than you doing it.

You should also submit to podcasts. Facebook has a lot of groups for fans of podcasts. Spend some time clicking around and using different search terms.

Twitter is also a great source for discovering podcasts. What stations or podcasts are artists who are similar to you following? Follow and contact them through their website.

Make a list of who you contact. I use a spreadsheet, and put anyone I receive positive response from in bold so I know who to contact first when I have new music out.

REVIEWS

Google, and Twitter have been my main source of coming across music blogs. You can approach them in much the same way that I described for radio. Many of them do not require hard copies.

If you send an email regarding get a review and you don’t get a response, do not waste the stamp.

IS IT WORKING?

You are not always going to get a response. I have had instances where no reply was given but I came across a station or podcast playing me, or a site reviewing me.

Set up a Google Alert for your name, set up a Twitter search for your name, and Google yourself for anything the alert misses (and it does sometimes miss them.)

FINAL TIPS

Do NOT send out a form letter or email. It is disrespectful to whoever you are emailing. If you want them to take the time to listen to your music, take the time to listen and read about what they’re doing.

For blogs: read at least a couple entries, and mention that you took that time.

Also, make sure the music is top quality. If you make people feel like your music wasn’t up to par the first time you sent them music, chances are 0.00001 percent you’re going to get a second chance.

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