Getting your song played on the radio has long been a luxury, a service reserved for artists signed to major labels or benefiting from a huge network of influence.
However, in recent years, things have been changing, and new alternatives are being put in place to encourage the discovery of new artists. But how to get your song on the radio?
Why is exposure on the radio still so important?
With the rise of social networks and new distribution channels (Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and other streaming platforms), promoting your music has never been easier or more complex at the same time. It is easy because these options are accessible to everyone. Today, it is possible to distribute your music at a lower price on the main streaming platforms. On the other hand, it’s so complex because it’s difficult to set up an effective strategy that isn’t too adventurous and time-consuming… Currently, over 20,000 new songs are released on Spotify every day and it’s hard to stick out from the crowd without spending a lot of money or wasting a lot of time.
62% of new track discoveries are made via radio, compared to 20% via streaming.
Traditional media such as the press or television have lost their allure over the years, and it is no longer as necessary as before to go through them to make one’s music known. On the other hand, in the face of competition from streaming platforms, radio remains the main source of musical discovery. 62% of new music discoveries are made on radio, compared to 20% on streaming, especially among non-subscribers to a streaming platform. Apps like Shazam allow listeners to listen to your song over and over again… on Spotify for example!
1. Have a solid musical project to get your song on the radio?
Before approaching any music professional, you must have at least some professionalism yourself in order to stand out and, above all, appear credible in your approach. Refer to the following criteria:
- Build a strong and singular visual identity to support your musical project.
- Have a press kit at your disposal or a good biography presenting your project and your background.
- Be active and have a certain visibility on social networks (Facebook, Instagram etc.).
- Have recordings of impeccable quality (.wav, 16bits, 44100htz).
- Fill in the metadata of your tracks (digital information about the music: title, performer, author, composer, producer…).
2. Choose the right single to get your songs on the radio
This is the most critical step in the whole process. You must absolutely submit a work of good sound quality. This means that it must have gone through all the stages of musical creation, from choosing the title to composing, arranging, voice recording, mixing and mastering. The challenge here is to select a “single,” a track that is both representative of your musical universe and that also has a strong potential for listening, and therefore, for the audience. More simply, it is your “big hit.”
3. Respect radio formats
Another essential element in maximizing your chances of getting on the radio is the length of your song. To do this, your track should last between 2min30 and 4min. Beyond that, your chances of getting on the airwaves are often limited. Of course, we do not advise you to restrict your artistic creation. On the contrary, you must extend and express your creative potential to the maximum according to your desires and according to your own rules.
Taking risks and experimenting will help you to assert yourself as an artist. On the other hand, we recommend that you produce a “radio edit” version of your single if necessary. This means that it is a version specially adapted for radio broadcasting, respecting the duration format and excluding any obscene or shocking aspects. This version is also very often used for video clips. One of the most famous examples is Daft Punk’s One More Time, whose radio edit version has a radically different structure than the album version.
4. Takes quotas into account
Think of quotas- if you have a song in the language of your country, you’ll have a better chance of getting it onto national radios! Yes, it’s true. It’s a criteria you have to take into serious consideration if you want your song to be played on the radio. For example in France there’s a quota imposed by the CSA which is designed to protect French-language songs from the invasion of Anglo-Saxon pop songs that are flooding the airwaves.
The law of February 1, 1994 requires private radio stations to broadcast, since January 1, 1996, at significant listening hours, 40% of French songs, at least half of which must come from new talent or new productions […].
By French-language song, the CSA means any work with a text performed or recited primarily in French or in a regional French language. And by new talent, any artist who has not yet obtained two separate gold record-certified albums.
5. Choose the right radio and opt for new networks of influence
Every radio station has its own audience and therefore has a musical genre of reference. The radio station you want to present your song to is therefore also an important choice. For example, it is useless to go and propose a reggae track to a radio station specializing in metal. Choose radio stations that play tracks in the same style as your music and target the ones you are going to approach in a relevant way to maximize your chances of being played.
Fewer and fewer people are listening to radio in its traditional (over-the-air) form and a whole new form of online radio is gaining momentum and providing a new outlet for emerging artists.