What you’re about to read is the preface of how you can get your song on the radio, but I want to be honest with you, the musician: you will need to really look inward and examine where you want to go in order to see this goal through fruition.
This post isn’t written to get laughs if that’s what you’re looking for. I’m writing this because you or someone you know has a genuine interest in becoming a radio talking point.
I have been in the industry for 14 years and it’s the same question over and over…
“How do I get my band on the radio?”
This perpetual question is usually stimulated by ambitious band members who believe the exposure of their music can lead to:
A.) Getting street cred because they were played on the biggest rock station on the west coast.
B.) Grabbing the attention of someone like a record company so they can hopefully contact you to discuss future opportunities.
C.) Getting a national act to notice you and take you out on tour to make all dreams come true.
D.) Earning a few dollars from merch sold on your band’s website.
E.) Get more local gigs to get paid a measly $200 bucks for a 40 minute set.
Honestly, if you’re using any of these tactics, you’re living in a pipe dream.
Look, getting on the radio is only ONE WAY of exposing your band to fans, but I can promise you that it will almost not even happen if you’re a local indie band. If you’re trying to get your band on the radio, you’re probably dreaming a day when you get paid millions of dollars to tour the world, own a mansion, “bang the bitches” and drink until the next morning.
Let’s make money with this band.
Nevertheless, I can guarantee you that the days of careless fun and endless royalties are gone–to a degree. Royalties exist but how you make your living from a band has changed.
Take Advantage of This Generation’s Most-Useful Tool – The Internet
Everyone wants to blame Napster and digital downloading as the end of the music industry itself. Kirk Hammett has gone on record by saying, “Because of things like iTunes and streaming and social networking, it’s destroyed music. It’s destroyed the motivation to go out there and really make the best record possible. It’s a shame.”
The real shame is that Kirk wishes that artists can have the same opportunities that he had when he was starting out in Metallica. Bro, you’re one of my favorites in Metallica, but I’m going to have to disagree with you on this one.
I don’t believe that the motivation has been destroyed for most bands trying to make a dent. I also don’t believe that the art of making music has changed when the technology to create becomes easier to use.
I do believe that the delivery method is different and bands these days have to be more business savvy than the band of 1983.
When I hear that guys like Kirk Hammett and Gene Simmons say the music industry is dying because of iTunes and streaming music, it turns me off of how they do their business. Why not embrace it along with the creativity of 2014?
Which type of creativity?
As a band who is looking to step into the music scene, it’s time to step out of your comfort zone and expose your band’s brand away from locality. It’s time to think globally with the maturity of the internet. It’s time to embrace the one thing that everyone says is killing the industry.
The truth is, I have never seen a local Arizona band (in my time in radio) expand beyond the realm of “local” because they have relied on the aforementioned list for so long. Combine the aspects of par to sub-par music with zero marketing plan and you have a band that “once was”.
Believe me, it’s equally frustrating to not see local bands make a dent in the national scene. I’m a believer that the days of royalties and big tours are gone–unless you have made the right connections and have the ultimate drive. If bands want to earn a living at making music, they have to do it themselves.
So let me ask the question again, “How do I get my band on the radio?”
My answer: getting on the radio shouldn’t be your first priority.
Building your fanbase should be.
Check back with me next Wednesday and I’ll share with you a band that has embraces the challenges of the music industry and harnesses it for their own benefit.
If you want to learn more about me, check out my own website: http://www.shannonjhernandez.com.