When it comes to South African music and radio, Catherine Grenfell knows what she’s talking about. A legend in the industry with a long and illustrious career – Catherine recently put together her top 20 tips for musicians and producers for getting their singles submitted to radio stations. Check out what she said:
- Decide on a single. This is really important. Playlisters at radio stations get hundreds of tracks to listen to. They don’t have the time to listen to your whole EP.
- Give a brief intro to your band in the email, with your contact and social media details.
- Attach a MP3 of your single under 5mb for listening purposes.
- Name the MP3 attachment as “Your Band Name” + “Song Name”.
- Give them download links for bigger versions of the file – MP3 and wav format.
- Ask them for feedback.
- If someone gives you feedback, take it as constructive criticism.
- Listen to different radio stations and hear what their format is before submitting. There is no point in submitting a heavy metal track to a radio station that only plays hip hop – you are wasting your time as well as a music compiler.
- If you get no response. Try again the following week, and then the following week. Don’t spam a radio station. And don’t get your fans on social media to spam a radio station. It just pisses them off. And then you’re screwed.
- Make sure the track you are submitting is not a demo. Make sure that it is finished, mixed and mastered.
- Have a strategic plan for your tracks if you have an EP or album. Decide on the first single and then your second single etc.
- If your first single is successful, then keep an eye on how it is doing in charts etc. If it climbing the charts, then hold off on your second single. If it doesn’t chart, or isn’t doing anything, move onto submitting your second single.
- If your 1st single doesn’t succeed in playlisting (after trying a few times) move onto your next single.
- If you are submitting a single to a commercial radio station (FM radio stations etc) then make sure it is clean. Meaning – No swear words.
- If you are submitting to an internet radio station. Give them two MP3 options. The original version as well as the clean version so they can decide what they would like to playlist.
- Make sure that you submit a radio edit. Radio stations generally like songs that are around three minutes. So if you can edit long intros etc. do it.
- Do some investigation into radio stations and find out who is interested in music. Send those people your tracks as well as the music compiler. This means going onto the radio stations website to get the playlist email address. Or following radio people on social media to see if they support music.
- Invite radio people to your gigs. You never know – they might turn up and like your stuff and it helps with playlisting.
- If a playlister says it doesn’t suit their format, then listen to the station and understand that your track possibly doesn’t suit the format. Each radio station generally has a format they like to play. They could possibly only play kwaito, or house, or hip hop or top40 commercial music.
- Don’t give up and don’t be a dick and get upset if a radio station won’t play your stuff!
Follow Catherine on Twitter: @cathgrenfell
Photo by Phat Sparrow Photography