How To Get Your Music Played On The Radio
Getting your tracks played on the radio can make a big impact on your career and it's a key part of effectively releasing music in 2022, so it’s important to approach radio stations in the right way, to give yourself the best chance of making it onto the airwaves. Airplay is tricky to secure, so be patient, make sure your tracks are water-tight and don’t be too discouraged if you don’t see the results you want immediately.
How to get your song on the radio
Know who to approach
When it comes to approaching radio stations, you need to know who to contact.
If you’re targeting larger radio stations, you should find the contact details of whoever decides which tracks get played. This could be a specific DJ, or the station’s producer, program director or music director. If you’re approaching a smaller radio station, it’s likely they won’t have many staff on-board, so a generic contact (at) radiostation (dot) com should do the trick.
Look on the station’s website or social media to get the contact details you need, or alternatively just give them a call and ask for the producer’s info (they may or may not give it to you - but it's worth a try!).
Some stations will only accept submissions from certain sources or in a specific format, so do some research to make sure you're doing things the right way before sending anything.
For example, BBC Introducing requires you to make an artist profile before you upload your tracks to their system. You can get started on how to submit music to BBC Introducing here!
Know how to submit your music
Have you found the contact details of the decision-makers at the stations you’re targeting, but there’s no clear information on how you can submit tracks?
Creating an electronic press kit, writing a music press release, or sending out one-sheet including links to 1-3 of your best tracks is the most common way to approach radio stations, as well as press publications and blogs. The key is to make your email or press pack stand out and grab their attention. Make sure your tracks are clearly named and don’t send out mp3 files. Instead include links to your songs.
Some people prefer to send or receive physical copies of their music to radio stations, but this is becoming less and less prevalent. Generally, DJs and stations receive the majority of their submissions and demos in digital format.
Target the right stations
Don’t expect to get your track played on a huge national station right away. Radio airplay is incredibly competitive, and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of other artists out there in the same position as you.
But it's ok to start small. There are plenty of independent, student and internet radio stations accepting submissions from up and coming bands and artists.
A few of our favourites are...
- Amazing Radio (UK/US)
- Exile FM (Global)
- XRP Radio (UK)
- Krac Radio (Global)
- Phoenix Radio (Global)
- Radio Wigwam (Global)
- iHeart Radio (US)
- New Music Saturday (UK/US)
These smaller stations won’t be as inundated with submissions either, so you’ll stand a much better chance of getting played early in your career.
Contacting genre-specific stations is also an effective way to get airplay. If you’re an emerging rapper, send your track to a hip-hop broadcaster, or if you play thrash metal, make sure you’re contacting a station that regularly plays your style of music.
Consider your online presence
Building a strong presence on social media and creating online visibility for your music can do wonders when it comes to deciding who gets a coveted radio play spot.
While it may sound a little unfair, plenty of A&Rs won't even give your song a second glance if you're not active on any big social media platforms or have 3 followers to your name. And in some ways, they have a point.
There's so much competition for radio play that there needs to be some sort of deciding factor on choosing who gets played and who doesn't. If a DJ hears two songs and he vibes with both, but he can only choose one, he's more likely to opt for the artists whose put the extra time and effort into cultivating an online following, than the artist whose taken a social media backseat.
Plus, social media is a core element to any music promotion strategy. So show radio hosts and DJs that you're serious about putting the work in to get your music heard, both on and off the radio.
Find out about the best music social media marketing strategies that you can use to build your online presence!
Create a buzz
Ultimately, the most effective (but also most difficult) way to get radio airplay is to create hype around your music organically, develop a loyal fan base, and force the radio stations to take notice.
There’s no guaranteed formula for success when it comes to generating a buzz around your band. Just get out there, play live as often as possible, connect with your fans and the music biz, release music on Spotify and other stores, and most importantly, make great music!
Hire a radio plugger
If you make great music, but you’re struggling to get the radio airplay you deserve, it could be time to hire a radio plugger.
Radio pluggers act as a mediator between you and the radio stations and usually have a long list of contacts they acquired over many years in the industry. These industry professionals will have an existing relationship with radio tastemakers, giving them more influence and sway when it comes to radio stations, DJs and decision makers.
Getting your songs played on the radio isn’t easy. Make sure you’re targeting stations that are suitable for your music and the stage you are at in your music career.
It’s important to be realistic, persistent and most of all, make music that will grab the attention of influencers and radio stations. Good luck!