Home URBAN Do Independent Labels Really Need Radio?

Do Independent Labels Really Need Radio?

There is a disagreement going on between several independent promoters and right now. Both have good points and I constantly hear both sides. Let’s address, shall we?

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve heard from several independent labels who are looking for ways to promote their product. They say it costs too much to promote via and they’re not getting the results they want from independent promoters. On the other hand the independent promoters are complaining that the independent labels are not being realistic in their approach, I will leave it at that.

TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY

In an economy like this there are several reasons why both are right. First, we all want to save money but if the old adage, ‘you get what you pay for’ is true this is a prime example. There are some records out there that just don’t stand a chance and the indie label is trying to get the best deal possible so he/she goes with the promoter who is within their budget. There are also some starving independent promoters who will take on a project, knowing it sucks. Radio is not to blame because the single is not a good “fit.” Then the indie label gets pissed because they feel they have been ripped off… and they have. But they are also now burnt and bitter towards anyone else they need to work future projects and their expectations become even MORE unrealistic and stringent when they hire ‘clean up’ independent promoters who may be on the up and up. Now the ‘clean up’ independent promoter has developed a negative perception of indie labels or at least that particular one and word spreads.

On the other hand there are other indie labels that have good product but no capital. In this industry climate, nobody can work for . I know I won’t. But I have also, believe it or not, turned down projects I didn’t believe in that would have paid me. I can honestly say, everything that you see advertised on RFFocus has potential. I listen to everything I promote but not all industry sites do this and not all promoters do this. This is a two-headed coin because I can understand what’s it’s like to be broke too…. in my case I’m just too straight forward to play games and bullsh… people, that has not always worked to my advantage.

IS RADIO THE LAST STOP?

In this technological age, to answer the question, AND NO… all independents perhaps don’t need radio and there are ways to generate some interest in your product that will make radio look for YOU. At least the more progressive outlets who have an ear to the streets. There are MANY who tour based solely on their Internet presence. You need someone to market your product online but if you can do BOTH (radio and online) you stand a MUCH greater chance of success. Do I know of someone who can promote your product online AND get it in front of radio…yes, RADIO FACTS… do I know good, quality independent promoters who can work your project at radio? YES… In addition, you need to be aware of niche (I can’t go into detail here. Needs to be explained).

OUTLET

I am still amazed that so many indies AND urban radio stations continue to ignore an absolutely free worldwide marketing tool.. called the Internet. You would be SHOCKED at how many of the top urban radio stations have the lowest Internet page views, with boring old news and replicated content nationwide. Do they know how much revenue and opportunities to connect with listeners they’re missing? I sometimes wonder if they even give a sh….

DO IT YOURSELF MARKETING?

Some indie labels get frustrated and try to market their own product… ! Especially if you are inexperienced. Indie Labels should NEVER place a whole song on Youtube or any other video outlet UNLESS YOU THE CODE. When you put a whole song on Youtube, why should anyone be interested in downloading the single? Also, MySpace is just too much right now and it’s no longer a great source for independent artists. They’ve gone Hollywood and they are promoting too many major artists. There are ways, MANY ways you can create a groundswell for your product without spending a lot of money, online. This is why when buy ads on RFFocus , for example, we give them their money’s worth. Just placing a stiff ad on a site is not effective. People are in awe when they’re in Times Square but they drive right past a boring ass Billboard (pun intended). We do animation in our ads and blast to radio 4 to 5 times a week and add a link to the audio. We also update the info on our ads for during the time it runs. Our audience is not JUST radio, even though radio is our target.

BOTTOM

Independent labels need to understand that all indie promoters are not cut from the same cloth and many need to LISTEN and understand how the concept works if they want radio on board. On the other hand , is it possible for independent promoters to be at least somewhat more realistic in their approach to working a project. If it’s something that you KNOW is going to have a hard time at radio, is it possible to give the label some options? Finally for the indie label that wants to promote online and get their product in front of radio.. contact me.. [email protected]

CEO of RF Focus, Radio and Music Industry Veteran. Radio DJ, Programmer, Musician and Voice Talent. Graduated from Performing Arts in Buffalo, N.Y. and worked at the legendary KKBT (92.3 The Beat) during its nationwide heyday in the early 90s. Also worked for Stevie Wonder at KJLH.