Getting your music on the radio can do wonders for your career but where do you even start? It may seem impossible if you don’t have a music PR company plugging away but getting your track in front of the right people is possible to do independently, if you have the right pitch that you’re sending to the correct person. This simple guide will take you through the step by step process in getting your music on the radio, all the way from choosing which track to pitch, to getting played to BBC Radio 1.
1. You’re pitching the wrong track
The first thing you must consider when plugging to radio is whether your track is radio friendly. A song that is radio friendly is under 4 minutes, has no swearing or derogatory terms and doesn’t have a strong political or religious message. The reason for this is the censorship rules in the UK, as the BBC are very strict and you’ll find they deem many songs unfit for air due to breached rules on religious grounds, drug references and attacks on the monarch.
You may have a full EP or album and you don’t know which track to pitch to radio. The best thing to do in this situation is choose the most catchy, commercial sounding song from the collection. Once you think you’ve done that, ask around and get multiple opinions as you may be bias to your favourite. You’ll soon find there is a clear winner and that is the most radio friendly track.
2. You’re pitching too many tracks
If you’re pitching multiple tracks, ask yourself why you’re doing this. If you think all your songs from the EP/Album are worth pitching, you’re wrong, there’s always a more radio friendly track. You want to focus all your energy and time into one song and off the back of this, your full EP/Album will be gaining attention.
However, if you feel your EP/Album has multiple styles throughout, that’s when you can look at promoting more than one song. If one track is a commercial pop and the other is a dance remix, you can push the remix to dance stations, giving you more areas to connect with and therefore more radio plays.
3. You don’t know how to pitch a track
Radio plugging can be a lot harder than general online music promotion, as producers and presenters are bombarded with tracks daily, hence radio pluggers are so expensive, as they have taken years to build their contacts. However, if you’re pitching correctly, you can get the same results.
You must start by uploading your single to SoundCloud as a private link. This is the easiest way for producers and presenters to stream your music. DO NOT attach it as an MP3 or just sent a link to download as this will block their inbox and they don’t have time to download something they’re not sure they will like. Your email will go straight into the bin!
Now you have the SoundCloud link, you must also create a link for the song to be easily downloaded. The most popular and easy to use are WeTransfer and DropBox. The MP3 must be titled correctly also as ‘Artist Name – Song Title’.
You need to include both the SoundCloud and the download link within your pitch as this mean the producer/presenter can easily listen to the track to know if they want to download it, then download it to play.
To start writing your pitch, you must copy and paste your press release into the email. You can read more on how to write a press release here: https://burstimo.com/run-a-diy-pr-campaign-for-your-music/
Above your press release you will have your pitch. Your pitch can follow the format below:
“Hi (insert name),
Hope you’re well? I am (insert name) from (insert band name). I was hoping to get your thoughts on our upcoming single (insert song title) for a play on your radio show (insert radio show title).
You can stream (insert song title) here: INSERT PRIVATE SOUNDCLOUD LINK
Or download it here: INSERT DOWNLOAD LINK”
From here you insert important facts from the press release e.g. who you’ve supported, who you’re influenced by, information on the song and any previous press.
Finish the email with what you’re asking for from them.
“I’d love to hear your thoughts on this for a play and if of interest, we’re available for interviews.
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.
The most important part is the ‘important facts’ as this is what will make you stand out from the hundreds of other sending similar emails. Examples of ‘important facts’ that will make you stand out are…
- Big names you’ve supported
- Any large press/blogs that have covered you in the past
- Producer for the single
Another way to stand out is to search a similar artist to yourself. For example, if you felt you sounded like Tom Misch, you can search to see where Tom Misch has been played and then approach the correct producer for that show saying…
“I noticed you played Tom Misch last week. I’ve got a very similar sound with my latest single (insert song title), so I’d love to hear your thoughts.”
By doing this, the producer/presenter will know what sound to expect but it’ll also prove that you know and listen to their show.
*Bonus Tip: When doing this, you can use the BBC to search. Simply search BBC Radio, then search the artist you’re looking for and click ‘Music’. You’ll then find their artist profile, with their tracks at the bottom. If you click each track, it’ll show you which show it was last played on, which you can use to know which shows could potentially play your song.
4. You’re pitching to the wrong people
So, you have your pitch but who do you send it to? Your first task is uploading to BBC Introducing and Amazing Tunes. These uploaders are the perfect gateway to national radio play, with Amazing Radio supporting emerging artists and BBC Introducing working as a springboard to BBC Radio 2, 6 Music and even 1. If your track is played by either Amazing Radio or BBC Introducing, you’ll be notified by email, so you can listen to it being played on air. If it is to be played, follow up with the correct producer thanking them and also letting them know you’re available for interview or sessions (that’s if you are!).
Now to the real pitching. You need to start small and build up and there’s no better place to start than with your local stations. If you’re from Cambridge, you can look at sending your song to Cam 105 and if you’re from Wandsworth, you could pitch to Wandsworth Radio…I think you get it. Simply search your location on Google, with the word ‘radio’ after and you’ll find tons of results. Don’t just stop there, you can look into student radio stations in your area and even online stations. This may take you some time but if you’re patient, you’ll soon enough have a portfolio of plays for your song.
Genre specific radio stations are the next path to go down. You can find these with a simple Google search or even looking through social media. Use the above tip we gave for standing out by searching for a similar artist, for finding correct radio stations too. If you think you sound like No Hot Ashes, search on Google and social media to see which radio stations have played them in the past. You can also find smaller radio stations that may have shown them support by looking at their Twitter followers.
If you’re getting stuck on where to approach next, here’s a fantastic site that may help: http://www.radiostations.co.uk
Getting Played on National Radio
Getting played on national radio stations is extremely hard, as you’re not just battling with emerging bands but also internationally renowned artists that have people plugging their music constantly to contacts they work closely with. Don’t be disheartened, this doesn’t mean the producers will just ignore you, as you could be the next big thing that they want to have spotted first but you have to pitch to them as if you are.
Make sure you’ve collected your portfolio of plays from the lower level radio stations first and have already confirmed a BBC Introducing play. Once you’ve done that, use the above pitch but really use those ‘important facts’ to make yourself stand out. You need to have that one thing that makes them listen, whether that be previous press, a major support slot or working with a big-name producer.
Be certain that you’re sending it to the correct producer and show. If you’re an electro pop band, don’t send your track to BBC Radio 1’s Daniel P Carter Rock show, you’ll piss off a lot of people and that’s not the right way to get your foot in the door. Each radio show has a description of what they play on their site, so you can see if it’s relevant to your music. If you’re not sure after reading the description, listen back to it for 10 mins to see if you can picture your track being played on it.
Once you’ve sent the email, wait a week to see if they get back to you. These people are very busy so may need at least one follow up, even 2/3 but don’t bombard them and be polite in your following up.
This whole process of plugging your track to radio will take a few weeks but if you have the patience and time, you’ll get the results