You’ve just finished recording your latest single. You put your blood, sweat & tears, along with plenty of money, into this track. People have already told you they think it’s your best song yet. Some even went on to say that this song might, maybe, could even be - a big hit.
You know it’s a long shot, especially since you’re not signed to a major record label. You realize that industry connections and financial backing from a label are crucial for getting your song noticed among all the clutter. But you’re really proud of this song, and you know it deserves a shot.
The trendy strategy of the moment is to release a song on Spotify and let “magic” take over. It goes something like this:
Song goes up on Spotify
Song immediately gets streamed and shared thousands of times
Next thing you know, said Song gets picked up by the Spotify Top 100 Playlist.
Finally, all that’s left to do is wait and watch the big bucks start rolling in.
Unfortunately it probably won’t happen this way. More likely to happen is your song will sit on Spotify, and that’s about it. Latest industry reports show that 40,000 songs per day are uploaded to Spotify. Yes, that’s 40,000 songs….. every...single...day. This translates to over 14 million songs per year, which is about how long it takes a good artist to create a really good song. Sorry, but the chances that your song will magically break through to the Top 100 playlist on Spotify are quite slim. Even major record labels, which have personal connections with top Spotify playlisters and basically dominate the platform, have a hard time pushing their so-called hits to the top of the charts.
Don’t worry, here’s a foolproof way to make your record a big hit….
Don’t despair, there are still other avenues that will give your song a shot at becoming a hit, especially some avenues that most artists aren’t focused on anymore.
Remember that thing called “Radio?” It was that old broadcast medium invented one hundred years ago and it entertained the masses for decades? Well it’s still around. True, in the music world, Fm radio has decidedly fallen from being the main driver of promoting artists to basically an afterthought. When promoting their music, today’s artists think Spotify/Apple Music; YouTube, television & movies, blogs, and radio, in that order. Which makes this perfect timing for you, the indie artist, to focus on radio to get your song noticed and possibly break your next hit.
When you begin your promotion to radio, don’t start with a major FM station that plays the same six songs every hour. Instead,try the community or college station in your area. If you live in New York or LA, find a small college like Loyola Marymount or Fordham University and visit their radio station website.
Next, locate and reach out to the DJs with shows that play your genre of music. You should be listening to these stations regularly and get to know what they play. When it’s time to submit your music to them, you’ll be able to tell the DJ which songs they’ve spun and how your song fits with their taste in music. This will make a good impression, and it’s likely to get the DJ to give your song a listen.
Have your Ducks in a Row
If your song gets picked up by a small FM station, you need to be prepared to capitalize on it. This means actually having your shit stuff together before you even submit your music to these stations. When your song is played, any listener who likes what they hear will most likely google your band name or song name. You need to make yourself easy to find on the internet.
Here’s a list of things you need to take care of even before submitting to small FM stations:
Your own website
Other band music pages like Reverbnation and Bandcamp
At least 3 social media pages (Instagram, Soundcloud, Twitter, Facebook).
If a station or DJ promises to play your song on their show, you’ve just taken a big step forward. Treat this relationship like gold. In addition to the airplay you’re currently receiving, the DJ will always give your future songs a first look for possible airplay. Keep in mind, a local DJ is hoping to break a local artist, which in turn will help to break their own broadcasting career. Many DJs at local stations are either former major Fm DJs that are winding down their careers, or new, up-and coming DJs looking to take their careers to the next level at a major FM station. Take advantage of the wisdom from the old-timers, and grow your career with the new guys. And remember to share the love. Announce your good fortune on social media and tag the station, the Show and the DJ.
Next step - Regional, National then straight to the TOP! (not quite)
Can it actually happen that your next single tops the charts without any help from a major record label? I’d love to tell you how quickly your major market FM station picks up your local hit and adds it to their heavy rotation, so next time your out cruising in your Rav4, you’ll be blasting your tune for the whole your neighborhood to hear. And then how easy it is to take your new, local hit to the Regional and National levels. Reality check - it’s still quite the long shot that your song becomes a huge hit from a college or community station. And that’s OK.
Even if you don’t hit it big with a chart-topping single, you’re still making solid industry contacts at the local level. You’re building a fan base and you’re booking bigger local shows. You’re positioning yourself for traction on regional level. These building blocks are key to attracting the attention of major players, including record labels. Without local coverage, labels will have a hard time taking a chance on a random single from an unknown artist.
So start small, think big, and dream bigger. The journey to the top is a long road, and you wouldn’t want your artist career to be reduced to a one-hit wonder.
As regular readers will know we have supported rising Dublin-based artist Aimée since the release of her vibrant debut single, Don’t Bother, just over a year ago. Follow up singles, Break Me and Don't Call Me Pretty, consolidated her emerging presence on Irish Radio (Top 40 airplay), with the latter receiving airplay from across the globe, including in the Dominican Republic, Italy, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Nambia, Spain, Switzerland and the UK (125 radio stations). On Friday, she released her debut EP Confession, which features this upbeat, confident and powerful pop anthem. It was immediately added to Spotify UK’s New Music Friday playlist and the EP entered the Irish iTunes album charts at No.2 (and is No.1 on the pop albums chart too). She has just dropped her Bold Puppy productions music video for this track, which you can watch here. With over two million combined streams, an RTE 2FM’s Rising 2020 addition (the Irish version of BBC Radio Sound Of list), and now this feisty pop EP behind her, Aimée is quickly building a reputation for exciting and powerful pop.
PPL announces £87.6m Q1 distribution, plus additional measures to help the music community (see News)
MMF and FAC survey suggests £50m has been lost to the wider music economy (see Analysis)
Hipgnosis acquires Richie Sambora catalogue (see Deals)
NEWS AND FEATURES
On 31 March, PPL will be distributing £87.6m to more than 26,000 performers and recording rightsholders. This includes £31.2m from PPL’s international collections – the highest ever quarterly total of international monies distributed by PPL. (PPL) In response to Covid-19, it is also working on implementing measures to pay out future royalties earlier than the next quarter payment and will donate a sum of money towards these important efforts to help ensure that its members and others in the music community who are struggling most can receive financial support.
Conference update: Scottish conference and showcase Wide Days has been postponed until 23-25 July. Primavera Proand Primavera Sound Barcelona will now take place 26-30 August. Festival update: All Points East festival has been cancelled and plans to return next year, Lovebox has been cancelled and will return 11-13 June 2021. Parklife in Manchester has been cancelled and will return 12-13 June 2021. Neighbourhood Weekender in Warrington will now take place 5-6 September. Cambridge Folk Festivalhas been cancelled and plans to return next year. The Country2Country festival will return 12-14 March 2021, with the planned 2020 headliners - Luke Combs, Darius Rucker and Eric Church. Henley festival announced it will reschedule its entire 2020 lineup for July 2021.
In the US, combined sales of all formats of albums: digital albums, CDs, vinyl LPs and cassettes fell to 1.52m, the smallest number of albums sold in a week since Nielsen began tracking music sales in 1991. (Billboard)
Starting today with Banquet Records in Kingston, the #recordstoreoftheday campaign will spotlight a different independent record store across the country every single day of the week via the social media. (RotD)
The Royal Society of Musicians (RSM) has announced a £500,000 contribution to musicians suffering financial hardship, to be distributed through the Help Musicians Coronavirus Financial Hardship Fund. (RotD)
Charts: The Weeknd debuts at the top of the Album chart with a figure of 26,000, with Morrissey new at 3. Artist album sales dropped 4.7% week-on-week to 1.48m. Physical sales were down 40.9% to 154,000. Saint Jhn remains top of the Singles chart with Roses. (OCC)
US charts: The Weeknd debuts at the summit of the Billboard 200 with a figure of 444,000, including 275,000 sales. (Billboard) Sales were driven largely by a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer, as well as more than 80 different merchandise/album bundles sold through an official website.
Subscription-content platform Patreon has gained over 30,000 creators this month. (DMN)
A new Apple Music feature is allowing fans to receive updates when their favourite artists release music and videos. (DMN)
Quibi: Short videos aimed at people on the go may not appeal to viewers with nowhere to go. (FT)
Apple has made its professional-grade software for video editing and music making – Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X – free with a 90-day trial. (Mashable)
COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS
Music Managers Forum and Featured Artists Coalition survey financial losses occurring from COVID-19 crisis. (RotD, Pollstar, Billboard) Responses so far from 150+ music managers and artists indicate over £50m has already been lost to the wider music economy. £68m+ losses are predicted if shows are cancelled over the next 6 months.
Over the past year, copyright holders have asked Google to remove a little over 500m URLs from its search engine - a 50% decrease compared to a few years ago. At least in part, the decease is likely the result of Google's anti-piracy measures. (TorrentFreak)
How COVID-19 is reshaping entertainment demand. (Midia) "Music streaming: Little more than a modest uptick for the leading music services, following a long steady fall".
HipgnosisSongs Fund has acquired 100% of guitarist, singer, songwriter and producer Richie Sambora’s publishing and writer’s share royalties in his catalogue, which comprises 186 songs. (RotD)
Shaurav D'Silva has signed to Stellar Songs.
Radio 1Xtra has announced a simplified schedule from today which will see the length of a number of daytime and evening shows increase, with the priority being live shows. (BBC)
Radio DJs on the switch to home-broadcasting. (Guardian - Kieran Yates)
21.00 BBC2 The Real Michael Jackson
09.30 Radio 2 Ken Bruce - with Matthew Morrison 23.00 Radio 1 Jack Saunders - The Snuts indie mixtape
ARTIST AND MUSIC FEATURES
Dua Lipa's euphoric second album is the feelgood record we all need now, and should cement her status as an international star. So why is she so nervous about it? (SundayTimes - Jonathan Dean)
Why Dua Lipa is the perfect pop star for self-isolation. (Independent - Kate Solomon)
Dua Lipa: Critics rate Future Nostalgia as the best album of 2020 so far. (BBC)
Dua Lipa’s new rules to success: 10 steps she took to become a star. (Billboard)
Drugs, aliens and psychedelia: When a cult possessed Brazil’s greatest musician Tim Maia. (Independent - Jake Cudsi)
Introducing the soaring melodies of Azure Ryder. (BBC - Mark Savage)
The 25-year-old singer Celeste has captivated everyone from Billie Eilish to Gucci’s Alessandro Michele with her emotional jazz-inspired ballads. (SundayTimes - Scarlet Russell)
The Tottenham-raised singer-songwriter Miraa May on female self-worth, pregnancy, and working with Amy Winehouse’s producer. (Guardian - Aimee Cliff)
Bob Dylan, the unexpected return of R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe and more musical beacons of light in these dark times. (Forbes - Steve Baltin)
Bob Dylan’s surprise song Murder Most Foul is apt for a world living in fear. (Telegraph - Neil McCormick)
Bob Dylan’s Murder Most Foul is a hypnotic and tender 17-minute track. (FT - Ludovic Hunter-Tilney)
Bright and irresistible, K-pop provides the beat to South Korea’s youth culture. But behind the perfect smiles and dance routines are tales of sexism and abuse. (Observer - Crystal Tai)
Once part of the soundtrack of the noughties, Damon Gough, Badly Drawn Boy, talks about depression, giving up drinking, and his gloriously honest new album. (Telegraph - Craig McLean)
Martin and Gary Kemp on Spandau Ballet, George Michael and groupies. (Times - Polly Vernon)
How Will Young's addiction to p--n, booze and shopping drove him to the brink of madness. (Mirror)
‘You still have us’: how Peter Gabriel’s Don’t Give Up became a lifeline for the lonely. (Telegraph - Ian Winwood)
Like the Christian charity from which it took its name, the Village People anthem YMCA deserves its cult status in the US Library of Congress National Recording Registry. (Times - Ben Macintyre)
Musicians create living room concerts in response to coronavirus social distancing. (iNews - Sam Hall)
Road trips, yoga and LSD with the dentist: what the Beatles did next. (Guardian - Craig Brown)
Eel Pie Island documentary: The Stones and Bowie played there, fans went wild and the Sixties got sexy. (Standard - David Smyth)
Dave Peacock on life without his bandmate and best friend Chas, singalongs with Princess Margaret and 'rockney' duo's guilty secret. (Express p6/7 - Olivia Buxton)
The sons and daughters of John Lennon and others tell us what it was like to grow up with a world-famous dad. (Observer)
Relative Values: TV presenter Richard Osman and his brother, Mat Osman, the bassist in Suede. (SundayTimes - Nick Duerden)
Mariah Carey at 50: Her best 10 songs, ranked (Independent - Annie Lord)
Hypochondriac by Fenne Lily and other new tracks (Guardian - Leonie Cooper)
One to watch: Willaris K (Observer - Damien Morris)
Breaking act: Azure Ryder, plus Hottest Tracks (SundayTimes - Dan Cairns)
Virtually famous: mxmtoon (Standard - David Smyth)
Obituary: Bill Martin, colourful Scottish songwriter who co-composed the Eurovision song Congratulations and sued George Harrison for copying it. (Times p50)
Online tonight at 6.30pm, former MP Tom Watson discusses Covid-19, fighting obesity and who should be Labour leader. (Eventbrite)
SHOWBIZ AND NEWS
Alan Merrill, co-writer and singer of the original version of 'I Love Rock 'N' Roll', has died from COVID-19. He was 69. (HR)
Joe Diffie, a US icon to many country fans for his string of No. 1 hits in the 1990s, has died from complications related to the coronavirus. He was 61. (Variety, Metro)
British reggae pioneer Delroy Washington has passed away after a short illness. (Voice)
Bob Andy, the reggae vocalist who performed a hit version of Young, Gifted and Black as part of the duo Bob and Marcia, has died aged 75 after a short illness. (Guardian)
Liam Gallagher has insisted the Oasis reunion will go ahead ‘with or without’ Noel to raise funds for the NHS. (Independent)
Paul McCartney’s handwritten lyrics for Hey Jude are among 300 items of Beatles memorabilia that are coming up for auction online. (Times, Mail)
Elton John, Billie Eilish, Mariah Carey lead a heartfelt, socially distant coronavirus telethon. (LATimes)
The Who’s Roger Daltrey has urged Britons not to forget about kids with cancer during coronavirus crisis. (Sun p10)
Ronan Keating and his wife have announced the birth of their second baby, a girl named Coco Knox. (iNews p3, Sun)
Katherine Jenkins says she has no regrets about stepping in to stop a mugging in Chelsea. (Mirror p3, Sun p15)
Ozzy Osbourne has told daughter Kelly that not being able to hug her 'breaks my heart'. (Independent)
Robbie Williams pictured with his children after spending three weeks in quarantine after flying to Australia amid the pandemic. (Mail p15, Mirror p8, Sun p9)
Sun Bizarre: Billie Eilish says she doesn't want a relationship at the moment and is worried about being linked to other stars through gossip. Ronan Keating and his wife Storm have welcomed their second baby, Coco Knox. Mel C has confirmed Geri Horner once took a leak in one of Sir Elton John's plant pots. Dave Grohl used the negativity of Nirvana fans to motivate him to make the Foo Fighters. Post Malone is holding an online beer pong tournament to raise cash for charity. Cardi B has started to crowdfunding for Tiger Kings star Joe Exotic. Rita Ora had to writhe around in egg yolk for her new video. Bon Jovi has asked fans to help him finish a new song online. Dua Lipa is on course to score a hat trick on this week's Official Singles Chart.
Metro Guilty Pleasures: Mariah Carey celebrates her birthday at home with her kids. Olly Murs pictured prancing around his bedroom in his pants. Post Malone has set up an online beer pong contest. Dua Lipa to dress up and celebrate with her friends on FaceTime. Robbie Williams reunited with his children after three weeks in self imposed quarantine.
Shabaka and the Ancestors (Observer - 4* Neil Spencer)
Skepta x Chip x Young Adz (Observer - 4* Damien Morris)
Bob Dylan 'Murder Most Foul' (Times - 5* David Sanderson, Guardian - 4* Alexis Petridis)
TV: Slipknot Unmasked: All Out Life. (iNews p37/Artsdesk - 4* Guy Oddy)
One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time by Craig Brown (SundayTimes - Dominic Sandbrook)
A Theatre for Dreamers (Leonard Cohen) by Polly Samson (Guardian)
‘It’s the level of dishonesty’: Former Paradigm staff furious over handling of layoffs. (LATimes)
THE BIGGER PICTURE
National print newspaper sales have fallen by as much as 30% since the start of the coronavirus lockdown. (Guardian)
Four of the biggest funds investing through the tax-efficient enterprise investment scheme (EIS), which is worth £2bn a year, have seen investments plunge by more than half since the start of the year. (SundayTimes)
WarnerMedia will pledge $100 million in relief to workers affected by wide production shutdowns in film and television. (Variety)
Record of the Day
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