Welcome to the second of our seven-part interview series ‘Charting the Course: A Radio Promo Discussion’.
The purpose of this series is to explore the world of radio promo, with insights from 6 people who work in and outside of the realm of radio promo, but all of whom have dedicated themselves to advising independent musicians.
Last time we spoke with Kevin Breuner, the Director of Marketing of CD Baby.
Today we hear from Jesse Kirshbaum, the Founder & CEO of New Universal Entertainment (NUE) Agency, which is an international music boutique and also the Co-Founder of SoundCtrl, a music and technology convergence platform and community.
1. Why should an artists try to get their songs on Radio?
Radio is still one of the best ways to break an artist’s music on a mass market scale. When an artist gets radio airplay, it can be an immediate game changer for them in every way. It’s not the only way to break through as a commercial success but it’s probably the most common and direct route.
2. Which format is best to try to get if you are an independent musician?
It really depends on the artist and the music but in general for indie acts, I would focus to start on building the story around College Radio and satellite. Plus there are some local mixshow and internet stations that should show love to a local act with some killer tunes.
3. Do independent musicians have a shot at getting their songs to break on commercial radio in 2012?
They do. One of my clients, Capital Cities is an independent act. They are working a track, “Safe & Sound” to radio and it continues to climb the charts and gain more and more momentum. A few weeks back, they spent some money and hired some of the best radio promoters in the business to service the record. And as a indie act, they are proving they can clock some spins.
However, at this point in time, I do believe in order to move the record to the top of the radio airplay charts you need to have the major label machine. They have the strong hold on the top 100 songs and although an album can go #1 on the Billboard and Itunes Charts as an indie (we saw it with Mac Miller), radio airplay requires deep relationships and financial backing in order to make that really start humming.
4. How do you know if your radio campaign is successful?
You are getting spins.
You are gaining fans.
You’re getting more inquires and requests.
And ultimately, from my perspective, I’ll know it because you are getting more show requests and ultimately warranting a higher fee.
5. How do you make a radio campaign last or have a future impact once you begin to slip back down the chart (assuming you already are up the chart)?
By releasing another song. Follow up and build off of the successes of your current track. Keep feeding your fans and the system that is working for you. Commercial radio has a constant revolving door. Radio culture thrives off of an “in with the new and out with old” mentality. Career artists need to be about a lot more than one campaign or one tune.
6. How can you best leverage social media to work with your radio campaign (or is this not possible?)?
They should work together like peanut butta and jelly. Let them complement each other. Social Media can inform your community of new releases and tour dates and allow you to communicate directly with fans. And most importantly, it’s a medium that the artist can control the messaging of their brand. Let radio build your fan base and populate your social networks. Then the ball is your court to directly connect. A dedicated fan base is an artist’s most important asset.
7. What advice would you give an artist who calls you looking to spend money on a radio campaign?
First and foremost, have the right record for it.
Plus you need the resources to go all the way if the song catches some heat but monitor it so that you don’t just burn resources, especially if you don’t get any traction at all.
Have a team that knows what they are doing, so they can guide your campaign and can maximize efficiently.