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How to Correctly Submit Your Song for Radio Play (and Where You Might be Going Wrong)

Picture this: You walk into a job interview; you saunter up to the interviewer and chuck your CV on the table in front of them and say, ‘read that’. You then turn tail and walk out.

Do you think you’ll be considered for the job? Do you think, with that attitude — even if you are the best in your field, they will look at your CV? The answer: Not likely. Your CV will end up instantaneously in the bin and you will most likely be blacklisted by the company.

We receive hundreds of e-mails every week from artists wanting to get their music heard. Many of them go straight into ‘file 13’, and here’s why...

Common Business Etiquette

Over the years we have spotted common but unnecessary mistakes that many musicians are making when submitting their music. So, if you want to avoid having your e-mail sent straight to the trash can, we’ve put together a few handy pointers that should help you correct the errors you might be making.

1. Do Your Research

This one should be pretty obvious, but you’ll be surprised how many bands/artists are sending their music to non-matching (music genre) stations. If you’re a Rock musician you’re not going to have much luck on a Hip Hop channel. Spend a bit of time getting some info about the stations on your mailing list. Most stations will have their song submission criteria on their website or Facebook pages or you can just message them and ask.

*Tip – Try and find the name of the person in charge of music submissions, this makes it more personal and will help you and the station form a one-on-one relationship in the future.

2. Introduce Yourself!

I can’t stress how important this is. In this social media driven society we seem to have forgotten our common decency. Please remember that on the other end is a real human being about to read your e-mail and listen to your music. It’s so simple, all you have to say is “Hi, I’m so-and-so from the band (insert artist name)” and that’s it. Can you believe that 50% of the e-mails we receive go something like this: “Click on the link to check out my music” and that’s all they’ll send? (DO NOT DO THIS!).

It’s incredibly generic, spammy, lazy and shows the station manager that you are sending out mass e-mails with no personal touch or effort. If you do this your e-mail will be deleted no matter how good your music is. The pitfall of most musicians is the ego. You may have a considerable fan-base, you may be the best thing since sliced bread with a voice like Freddy Mercury and song-writing skills of The Beatles, however, it will all go down the toilet if you lack ground-level manners. You may know who you are and that your music is awesome and speaks for itself, but we don’t know who you are. If your arrogance precedes your talent, guess where your e-mail is going?

3. Simplify the Body of Your E-mail

This should be kept short and to the point. After introducing yourself you can make your pitch for the desired airplay. Give a short synopsis of the song and your style of music— we’re talking a couple of sentences. Avoid writing out a full bio with artist history, etc. This can rather be attached to your e-mail separately. What is also very important is to include your social media links, but the correct ones, as we’ll discuss next.

4. Insert the Correct Social Media Links

This is very important to add to the bulk of your e-mail. Your social media pages are where radio stations will interact with you. Most stations will share or tag your band/song on their platforms when they do play your music. Therefore, it is vital that they have your Twitter or Facebook handle (This is the @ symbol followed by your brand name etc). Don’t make the radio station hunt for your information, this will start you off on the wrong foot. We recommend inserting the following clickable links into your e-mail.

· Website – This is your HQ and should be the go to place for any info about you.

· Twitter – This seems to be the platform that most radio stations use to communicate with their listeners/featured artists.

· Facebook – Your Facebook music/business page is a great platform for sharing and interacting with your fans, radio stations and their listeners. It is just polite etiquette to share posts and LIKE the page of the radio station that is playing & promoting your music. Failing to do so may result in you being removed from a radio station playlist.

· Instagram – This is a popular platform for sharing anything visual, so if you have a great CD cover or album artwork, you might want to share it with stations that are playing your songs.

Avoid sending these links with you e-mail (unless asked for by the station):

· YouTube – Radio is an audio and not a visual broadcasting platform, so your videos are pretty much useless and will probably never be watched by radio personnel.

· Spotify – Along with Amazon, Apple Music, Bandcamp and Soundcloud. These are all great platforms to be on and are essential for selling your music. However, please don’t share them with radio stations, the chances are slim that they’ll be buying your music.

5. Submit Your Song

Now we get to the actual crux of your submission, the music.

· Submit 1-2 songs max per submission. This is best done by attaching them to your e-mail in mp3 format. Most indie radio stations broadcast at 128 kbps, so avoid sending large file formats like wav/flac (unless asked for by the station).

· Very important is to make sure your songs are properly tagged. Which means that the song title/artist name/album title etc have all been written into the songs metadata. This can easily be done by right clicking on the mp3 file, click properties, click the details tab and there you can fill in the description of the song, click ‘apply and ‘ok’ once you’re done. You can also use a software program like EZ CD Converter to edit your song metadata and bit rate.

· Try and avoid using links to your music. Although Dropbox and Google Drive are widely accepted by stations, attaching your songs to your e-mail is the easiest and quickest way for stations to listen and preview your songs. Just remember they get 50 – 100+ songs each day, you want to make it as convenient as possible for them to access your music. You can also attach your album artwork or a photo of the band for visual context.

Now let’s go back to the beginning of this blog. You’re at a job interview. You’ve introduced yourself to the interviewer, you’ve made an effort with your appearance, you’ve said a little bit about yourself and who you are and what you can do, you’ve been courteous and concise. You now have a fighting chance to be heard.

It’s really quite simple: courtesy and professionalism, coupled with talent, will win you that audience.

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