I've talked with a lot of artist that say if they could only get their song on the radio that would make all the difference. Well, as manager of an indie artist and now a co-owner of a New Entertainment company/label, I have firsthand knowledge of why that's not necessarily true.
First off let me reiterate "indie artists" are the targets of many industry veterans who have started boutique companies looking to profit off of you, the "indie artist", hunger for stardom. The easy access to music consumption has enabled any and everyone to record something whether audio or video and get it heard and/or seen. And so while the knowledge and assistance of people/companies like these are needed to help the serious artist progress and achieve advancement in his/her career you must do your homework on everyone you're looking to hire to work with you on your career.
It looks and sounds good until half way through, you realize they haven't produced the results they told you "yes we can make that happen" like they said they would.
So you need to have realistic goals and expectations before you get involved with an Independent Radio promoter. Now, independent Radio promoters have the relationships in place with the DJ's and PD/MD's that can get your song on the radio. Now before that you should have a few things in place first to make paying for radio promotion something worth doing.
For many young rappers and singers and their team they're looking to break out from radio play maybe get a few paying gigs and possibly the signing. Depending on who you're dealing with, they'll let you know how many spins you can expect to get within the specified time they've told you they'll work the song at radio and they may have even told you we "GUARANTEE" that your song will get play on the stations we say it will. Let me digress for a bit here to speak on this point a little further. I've gotten emails from online promo companies that Guarantee to get the songs played and will even bolster your Twitter and Facebook "followers" and "likes" numbers and tell you that they promoted some of the songs you like on radio now.
And you know what? That might just be the case however, the difference is, and I know for a fact this is the difference maker and that is, all the artists they're referencing are either already signed or they're part of a team(click or label) that is industry "movers and shakers".
Example, Lloyd banks drops a new single from an upcoming mix-tape and Ashanti drops a new single to reintroduce herself and sound to the public under her new label (cash money). Both hire an independent radio promoter to get their songs to move at radio across a few different markets to test the waters and read public interest in their project.
Now here are the difference makers in these two examples; I'm not sure if banks has a deal at the moment or not but he is known to the public as being a member of the onetime "industry shaking" G-Unit group and label so radio station personnel (Dj's, PD's, MD's) once they came across this song some might have checked it and gave it a few spins just because it's Banks.
Especially in his home market along with other markets G-Unit songs where big could very well have gotten mix-show segment spins for free without the promoter having to turn station personnel on to the song (I'll explain how in other article).
Likewise for Ashanti, granted she hasn't had many successful songs since, well, you know but the difference factor here is who she's with, Young Money/Cash Money!(Universal), they're the difference in her scenario. Young Money/Cash Money has 3 of the biggest artists in music signed to their label so any artist they want to move at radio will run its course the way it's supposed to for their artists.
So while both songs might start out getting played on the mix-show segments at radio, they will manage to get some different day part spins and the all important, prime time (drive home) spins. In most cases, like this example, the song finds its way into rotation and it's golden from there. However, this process is what it is for artist, who like I said, either have name recognition already and/or is running with a team (click or label) that is industry "movers and shakers". You, the indie artist, cannot afford to pay an independent promoter to get your song into rotation (I'll talk about that in another article too).
So to pick up where I left off, because the promoter can point to other songs they've helped get started at radio that means nothing to you, the indie artist, so don't be impressed by it and many times the young rappers and singers and their team get blinded by that.
They end up falling into what we, my partners and I, call the vanity of making a move. That is, it looks and sounds good when they talk about it with others. They seem to be making moves but real progress in these scenarios are in the numbers and if you haven't made any money from incurring that expense (immediate income or ongoing residuals from the effort) then you really don't have much to show for it not to mention, money to pay for the next radio campaign. That's a lesson I hope many of you reading this will learn.