googled06bb313055e587a.html Rock N Roll Rehab for the Control Of Rock and Roll Starring Greg Piper and The Tooners: How To Have A Hit Record

How To Have A Hit Record


If your dream is to have a hit record on the radio, so was mine. Here's what I went through to try and achieve that dream.

Back in the early 1990s I decided to do something I always wanted to do since I was a mere child; I wanted to hear my record on the radio. To accomplish this feat I decided to hire a radio promoter. To begin I sent my new CD to about ten different music promoters whose names I found in the pages of a local music magazine. Some said they didn’t handle my style of music, some said they had too many clients to be able to take on any more and a couple said they heard hit songs on my CD and, for a fee, they would promote my music to radio.

One very famous promoter liked it enough to offer to be our producer and shop our CD to labels. This was just what I was hoping for when I sent out the ten CDs since I didn’t want to pay a promoter and market the disc myself. Before he got a chance to really make good on his offer the 1994 Northridge earthquake hit, he was injured and his home damaged and he suddenly had more pressing matters.

Eventually we did strike a deal with a promoter and paid for his services. The music business has changed drastically since then, especially with the Internet, Youtube and iTunes but what I learned about radio promotion may still be useful.

What I learned was that the country is broken up into seven geographical areas such as East, Southeast, Midwest, etc. and to get a national hit you have to promote to all areas at the same time. It’s all a numbers game. You need, at least back then, fifty stations playing your song in rotation in order to be added to the radio charts of which there are several.

College radio and regional radio charts are the first ones a newcomer has a chance to get on as the larger ones such as Billboard choose what songs they’re going to add by watching what records do well on the smaller charts. To get on the smaller charts you promote to small stations, that is, radio stations in small towns and with lower geographic coverage. These small town radio stations and college stations pride themselves on finding new talent and breaking the stars of tomorrow. You need to promote to these stations first in each of the geographic regions. The problem is that radio promoters usually only work one or two of these regions so you have to hire multiple promoters if you want more than just a regional hit which probably won’t get you on the chart since you need fifty stations. Promoters network with each other so one promoter can hook you up with his counterpart in another region but you’ll be paying for both and payment is on a weekly basis.

So now you’re paying at least one promoter per region each week and every time you get on a chart you pay each of the promoters a bonus. Back then it was $500.00 per promoter per chart. The real bad news is that as these promoters network and cooperate with each other to get you a national campaign, the promoters you don’t hire will actively try to sabotage your record, after all, you’re now their records’ competition. This competition between record promoters gets downright nasty so you can’t expect just one or two promoters to do the job. You have to hire all the promoters that handle your style of music just to buy them off from attacking you.

The basic weekly pay per promoter plus the bonuses for the chart adds aren’t your only expense. You also have to supply the promoters with swag. Swag is stuff that the promoters give away to the radio stations which makes the stations like doing business with a particular promoter. If you, through the auspices of your promoter, give a radio station a free boombox that station will look favorably on your record when the time comes that a record is dropping off their playlist and they’re considering its replacement.

Payola is the cash payment from a record company, an artist or a radio promoter to a radio station in exchange for playing a particular record and it is illegal. But giving a station swag is perfectly acceptable. The reason a radio station would want your free junk such as CDs, T shirts, CD players tape decks, etc., is because they can give that stuff away to their listeners who show up at events where the station is broadcasting a live remote or from an event the station is promoting. The free stuff gets the listeners down to the event and the event organizers pay the radio station cash to do a remote broadcast or promote the event through radio ads.

Our promoter had a special deal on boomboxes, a popular form of swag back then, that cost us only $65.00 per boombox, that means $65.00 per station. Now it should be easy to see how expensive a record radio campaign can be.

Back then, before iTunes and digital downloads, if you didn’t have your records in record stores in the areas in which you were getting airplay, when you were getting airplay, then all the plays you get will mean nothing since the fans won’t be able to buy your record if they want to. Getting independent record distribution was difficult unless you could prove you were getting radio adds and then you’d have to press up thousands of copies immediately in order to strike while the iron was hot. Now days that whole area of distribute is provided by the Internet, there aren’t even any more record stores and it also provides a whole new promotion service independent of terrestrial radio, but if you’re old enough to have the dream of hearing your song played on your favorite station while you’re driving around in your car it can be done, if you have the money.

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