I want to start by saying this is how I do business, this is how Radio in general does business. I don’t know how others who aren’t trained in station operations etc. or have no first hand experience in working in radio other than starting their own online station operate, but that’s not the group I fit into.
With all of that said, I want to focus on music from artists that have already been played on stations like KB Radio and KB Country. We have already looked at the differences between mainstream music releases and indie releases. When an artist releases an album or EP, the mainstream focuses on one song, and pushes it for success. Then will move on to a second and third etc, following the same pattern. With Indie music, when an album or EP is released, the indie artists for the most part don’t promote one song in particular. If my station will play one track and another plays a different track then that is fine with them. This, in many ways, is a great method of promotion in basically getting the band or artists name out. However, it can also lead to confusion or negative effects in the case of stations like mine.
There are only so many spots for songs to be played in a given day or week on KB Radio. I have often been told that the mix of songs and entire playlist is really good, and this is something that I take great pride in. This doesn’t happen by accident. I have a rotation that is based on songs fitting in different groups or categories, and rotating songs from each of these groups in a specific pattern. In two separate examples KB Radio and KB Country Radio have two very different lineups or categories of music and each station’s rotation is nothing like the other. Why is that, you ask? It is because it is based on target audience. I approach this completely as a business, although I make nothing from the effort, I will not put out some half cocked bullshit lineup that tries to appeal to everyone. I don’t lead my life that way either, because the bottom line is, you will never please everyone, so I never try to. If you don’t like the music we play, that is totally fine with me and with all due respect, I don’t care. That’s not arrogance, it’s just knowing my audience. You don’t put the NFL Channel on TV to get the latest hockey scores do you? So, if you tune in and don’t like the music, look somewhere else. It’s very simple really.
Okay, I have gotten a little off course, but I think it’s important to understand the operation of stations like mine. Knowing all of those things, let’s get back to the music being released. The bottom line is, Indie Artists, in many ways, are not releasing songs individually. This is where my problem starts to show itself, and I think artists start to slip off the radar when they are missing opportunities for further promotion. So, understanding that my music rotation is set in a specific way for it to function properly, also tells you that each category has a set or approximate number of songs for it to function properly. So, if as an example, Category A has 100 Indie songs in it, if I add 5 new tracks one week, that means 5 songs have to come out. Now again, understanding the system, not all songs come out completely from the rotation. There are options based on a number of reasons and circumstances that these songs will move into a different category instead of being moved out completely. Of course, with a move into a different category, it’s still 1 in equals 1 out. I often tell people how much time is spent each week on putting music into the rotation, and with the second station and the help from Veronica, who came on board a few weeks ago, we are putting in about 20 man hours a weeks just on that one task. On a typical Wednesday night after the Indie Show concludes, I then add the music and make all the lineup changes. That takes about 4 hours to complete.
So, if you are an artist and you sent me an album in July, as an example, and the song we played has done fairly well, but has run its course and ends up coming out of the rotation this week, what do I do with your album now? I know simple right? Just play another tune. So of the 50 new artists I added in the past week, and I ask this with the most sincere of intentions; do you really expect me to go through the list of each artist I have removed and look to see if I have more of their music? Then look to make sure it is something they are still promoting, and they haven’t possibly released something new that I haven’t heard about? Then from there, go through all of that music to find another song to help promote them? Let me ask you this; considering that I do work so hard to help promote Indie Artists, do you really think it’s my job to do all of that stuff? I will give you a hint, if you do, then please respond to this blog and tell me so I can remove all of your music from my system. I don’t have time for your arrogance! I work really well when we work together.
If you are tracking your music being played, which we make it very easy for you to do by live tweeting each song that’s played, then when you stop seeing those tweets, send me an email again saying “hey, can we look at getting another tune into the rotation”. If you sent me an album, you can remind me of that also, which honestly is a very simple thing, or just ask, did I send you the album?
Please, Please do not send me the message, “I guess I am no longer one of the popular kids”. I am not and have not been a teenager for a long time. Comments like these will get ignored or if I am in a bad mood, maybe a file showing just how often your music was played, dates, times” etc. and asking if you always act like a kid.
My current catalogue of Indie Music has more than 1000 artists, all of which have been played at one time or another. I apologize if I don’t remember every single one of them, but most days I don’t know what day of the week it is. If you don’t believe that, listen to one of my shows when I call it by the wrong name because I don’t even remember what I am playing at that moment. LOL
One of the funny things about writing Blogs like this is that in the end, I usually feel like a real shit. I know that isn’t even reasonable, but somehow I feel guilty that I have to explain some things. I guess the easiest way for artists and bands to look at things is like this. Each station or podcast, reviewer or writer is different. We are no different from people you know in your personal life. You won’t talk politics or sex or religion or other topics exactly the same with everyone you know, so why look at this group of people like we are all the same. Get to know the people in the stations or podcasts etc. and work with them individually. Do some research about them and find out what they are doing for you. If you have a podcaster who is doing a segment once a week and you have an opportunity to get your music profiled each week, then use a calendar or anything to remind you. Touch base with that person to find out how often they will play your songs. Maybe you can get a weekly spin. Maybe they can’t because of how much music they get in. Who knows, but the only way you can help yourself is to learn. The old saying Knowledge is Power still holds true today.
I always look forward to comments about my writing, good or bad. Being honest and open doesn’t get you banned from my radio station. We won’t all get along or agree on everything, but being an outright asshole will. Just a thought to keep in mind before you write your response.