Independent bands necessarily face an uphill battle to get their music played on radio stations, but blindly sending CDs out to every station in a certain area is a recipe for failure. A good submission method is important when approaching any music industry professionals, especially radio stations, if you want your band’s hard work in the recording studio to stick out. Here are a few tips for sending CDs to radio stations to increase your band’s chances of getting played.
1. Research the station. First, find a station in the area that plays independent music; this immediately gets rid of most of the major stations owned by Clear Channel and similar companies. Go for community radio stations or stations with specialty “local” or “indie” music programs, and send letters or emails to the program managers asking for permission to send in a CD. Ask for their advice on sending CDs, too–hey, they know more than anyone else what they’re looking for, so if you can get that information, more power to you.
2. Research the DJs. It also helps to know bit about the DJs you’re submitting material to. If you can send a personalized introductory letter, with some genuine compliments about their shows, it’ll help out your band’s chances of getting that first listen, which is a big thing. Don’t send too long of an introduction letter to radio stations, though; their time is very valuable, so get to the point quickly and save the small talk for another time.
3. Send an interesting, attractive package. A CD-R in a nondescript jewel case won’t catch anyone’s attention. That’s not to say that you should send messy packages–glitter, paint that can come off, and anything like that will immediately raise the ire of radio DJs and program managers, but try to send an attractive package with a CD and a signed personal letter. Mark the songs that you want that particular DJ to listen to, and make sure those songs have been mastered–since radio stations use compression on their signals, your song won’t sound good on the air if it hasn’t been properly mastered.
4. Don’t forget contact information. Be aware that radio stations will often accidentally mix up CDs and cases–after all, they’ve got hundreds of the things floating around. Put your band’s contact information, including name, phone number, website, and email address, on all the materials that you send to the radio station, including the CD itself, any letter you include, the CD case, etc. Otherwise, you can pretty much guarantee that they won’t try to contact you–they won’t know how.