Why You Have To “Promote” Your Music To Radio

Now that you have taken the time to write, record and make a great record, you must put together a viable “plan of action” with respect to obtaining airplay if you hope to have any reasonable chance of success. One of the most misunderstood facts of marketing a record is how and why you must promote it to radio. Sending your release to radio, and actually getting airplay are two separate things. The most common misunderstanding of artists releasing music to radio is that they believe that if you send it to radio, and if everyone starts playing it, then it's a hit. And if they don’t start playing it, then it’s no good. This is not how radio works.

It is important to understand that radio is not going to play your music NO MATTER HOW GOOD IT IS unless you MARKET IT TO THEM.

Who Will Create And Execute Your Radio Campaign

The three biggest factors for you to consider are:

  1. The budget / resources available for radio promotion
  2. The amount of time you have to dedicate to your radio promotions campaign
  3. The end goal of your radio promotions campaign. What are you intending to do with these “radio results” to impact the rest of your “overall” music campaign / career? This is where you can really see the return on investment from your radio promotions efforts and results.

In any business, the more time and money you have to dedicate to a project, the bigger expectations you can have with respect to goals.

These radio results (spins, charting, station IDs, station interviews, station visits, and possibly... reviews in the radio airplay magazines) are best utilized to assist you in the on-going development and accomplishment of a more comprehensive and far reaching strategy for your music; such as selling CDs / merchandise, gaining a traditional (brick & mortar) distribution deal, a digital distribution deal, booking gigs or tours, CD / live performance reviews, to attract and/or impress professionals who can help your career; labels, newspapers, magazines, TV/film producers, managers, law firms, and investors who all know and understand the fundamental value of airplay.

As an independent artist or label there are two available options for planning and executing a successful radio promotions campaign for your music:

  1. You can retain a professional radio promotions firm to partner with you (for a fee)
  2. You can decide to be your own radio promotions firm

We recommend that you take the time to consult (consultation is typically free) with a professional radio promotions firm specific to your genre before you make this decision. AirPlay Direct can refer you to a reputable radio promotions firm if you do not already have one.

If you make the decision to plan and execute your radio promotions campaign yourself, below is a basic outline to guide you in your efforts. Keep in mind that this outline is a very basic self-help tool. Radio promotions firms and in-depth industry guides are much more comprehensive; however, this should provide some insight and guidance on the fundamentals.

Planning And Executing Your Own Radio Promotions Campaign

The planning phase of any successful radio promotions campaign is critical, especially if you intend to do it yourself. The steps below will guide you through the process.

  1. The first thing you need to establish are the goals for your radio campaign. Are you looking to achieve:

One is not necessarily better than the others; they have different purposes depending upon your goals. Below are some information / definitions that may help in your decision making process:


  1. Research
  1. Select an Add Date
  1. Don't Annoy Them!
  • Do not however add radio programmers to any mailing lists, send artist newsletters, media reviews, or send any other e-mails randomly; it will only annoy them and that will definitely not help your cause. Capture your recent “highlights” and successes in your brief weekly e-mail to them.
      1. Follow up is critical
        1. Continue to follow up with all stations until they
          • Add your music, give you airplay and finally tell you they are done with the record
          • Tell you they are not going to add or play your music
        2. In any case, always thank them for considering your music, whether they have given you airplay or not. Hopefully you will be releasing more music in the future and you will want to approach these same people again

    Keep in mind that this is a very basic overview on how to plan and execute a bare bones do-it-yourself radio promotions campaign with no frills. If you are fortunate to have a budget that includes dollars for advertising and / or a PR firm or a radio promotions firm, there are many other things you can do to help bolster your radio efforts.

    However, if all your budget will allow for is the basics, you must rely on your ability to plan your radio campaign well and consistently execute your plan. If you approach radio programmers professionally with a tight concise message they will typically respond.

    Remember…“Luck favors the prepared mind”.

    AirPlay Direct… go straight to the source!



     When writing to Program Directors and DJs it is very important to be brief, succinct and informative. Do not include anything in the DPK that is not absolutely necessary. It is very important to write individual e-mails to everyone you approach. Writing a smart “subject line” including the station’s call letters and your affiliation with AirPlay Direct is recommended. Sending out bulk e-mails and spamming is illegal and annoying. Use of exclamation points, ALL CAPS and bold type should be minimal. Below is a sample letter and e-mail subject line that you can cut & paste into any e-mail program, and then edit / customize to the individual radio professional your addressing; including your specific artist information. If you are planning to try and achieve “Most Added” or trying to “Chart”, do not forget to include your “Add Date” in a visible spot. We also recommend that you display the AirPlay Direct logo prominently on your web site so that visiting radio professionals will know that your “broadcast quality” tracks are available at AirPlay Direct… 24 /7. You can download the AirPlay Direct logo by visiting


    Subject: WXKX, the Digital Dawgs and AirPlay Direct!

    Hello John, Add Date: November 29 th

    My name is Terry and I am a member of the Digital Dawgs, we are an urban, alt. rock group. We have just released our new CD “Dawg Dangerous” and I am writing to you today to ask if you would be open to reviewing our music in consideration for possible airplay.

    We are delivering our music to radio stations globally via a revolutionary, new digital delivery system, AirPlay Direct. This new service is FREE to radio programmers and DJs and allows us to deliver our “broadcast quality” tracks to you quickly, efficiently and cost effectively. You can listen to / preview our music at your convenience, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at and then download only the “broadcast quality” tracks you would like to use; one song or the whole CD.

    Allow me to thank you in advance for your time and consideration and please let me know if I can be of assistance to you or the station in any way.

    Very best regards,
    Terry / Digital Dawgs