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Looking to get on the playlist? Some tips to help you be heard

Had the pleasure of being on a radio playlist discussion panel for Hard Working Class Heroes, Ireland’s Annual Showcase Festival & Conference for New Music last Friday. Really interesting chat and it was great to meet so many new Irish acts for the first time in person. As so much came out of it I thought it might be useful to do a post on some of the key points that got raised.

Here’s my top 5 takeaways for new acts looking for radio play. Hopefully it will save you some time, money and heartache.

  • Research who you’re sending tracks to. Nothing more frustrating then getting a track that’s not suited to your show or station. Personalise the message if possible. You have to build a relationship and be patient with who’s listening to your tracks.
  • Don’t waste your time sending massive CD packs in jiffy bags with sheets of paper and moody looking pics. In my opinion it’s a complete waste of time for everyone involved. Save some money and send a stream link, Spotify, Soundcloud or download link. If possible don’t set an expire date on the download. Don’t fill up peoples inboxes which huge WAV and Mp3 files.
  • If you insist in sending a CD please make sure it’s labelled with contact details. No blank CD-R’s with ‘track 1’ scribbled on it. It should be all about the music but unfortunately presentation does matter and you will be judged on it. Be clear, concise and straight to the point.
  • Don’t forget the producers of the shows. Naturally you’ll think of the presenters but showing some love to the backroom staff never hurts. They often have the ear of the playlister.
  • Tour, tour, tour. Play your songs to an audience before recording and sending them out. Although technology has made it so easy to record and distribute your music, it doesn’t mean you should. Gauge the live audience reaction to your tracks and take it from there. If you’re honest with yourself you’ll know when it’s ready.

….and I’ll throw in a sixth. (Top 5 takeaway sounded more catchy in a radio sense but I digress…) Have a story. I don’t really care what studio you recorded it in or that the engineer produced X,Y,Z. Think about how the presenter/journalist/blogger is going to introduce you to the listener/reader. Think of angles. It’s all about attention these days so how are you going stand out from the crowd??

Best of luck getting out there. I’m always happy to answer any questions about submitting demos/tracks so if you need to know anything specific, drop me a line via twitter @alanswan or on email here

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