Written By Petra Hule

The days of waiting for your favorite song to finally play on the radio are long gone. Streaming services such as Spotify and YouTube allow users to listen to their favorite tunes on demand.

The radio was the go-to for daily car rides, but now, due to advanced technology, drivers can connect their smartphones and use these streaming services to pick and choose what they like and skip all the adverts and radio chatter. Seems as though radio channels should just pack up and call it a night, right?

Even social media has it better than the radio these days, especially for aspiring musicians. Radio plays add up and all the odds seem to be against the olden days of our time where radio was everything. Today, radio still contributes to a large number of the population.

What Is Radio Airplay?

Surprisingly, radio plays, also known as “spins,” refer to the number of times that your music hits the airwaves. Although it may not seem like it, getting airtime is crucial in your music career. Starting off regionally can give you the exposure you need to kick start your music career. So, how can you get to the point of hearing yourself on the radio? Here are a few simple tips that’ll help you achieve those goals. 

After the world has diverted itself into an online-based technological realm, why the radio you ask? According to Edison Research’s “Share of Ear” Report, terrestrial radio accounts for 39% of audio consumption among those 13 and older, compared to 18% clocked by streaming services.

The Different Types Of Airplay

Opposing commercial radio is non-commercial radio, which is a non-profit radio that can include podcasts and other talk radio stations such as college stations and other small independent stations that anyone can adhere to.

Non-commercial radio is easier to feature on, however, the level and audience are not at the level of prestigious as commercial radio. However, this is not to say it won’t do you and your music wonders. Many mainstream commercial stations scout the non-commercial stations in hopes of finding the next big thing, I mean who doesn’t love hearing a new artist on the radio. 

In saying that, non-commercial radio is easier to get onto doesn’t necessarily mean one could snap their fingers and boom there they are, driving to their local supermarket when all of a sudden, they hear their own voice on the local station. Just a heads up from me to you, like anything worth having, it takes time, energy, effort, and many many ups and downs, but hey, in the end, it’s all worth it, right? The more important question is how?

How To Get Radio Airplay

Picture this, you’re applying for your dream job, but have an average resume, your experience in the field is lacking, and what you bring to the table is just another case of the same old thing just on a different day. Think you’re going to get the job? Highly doubt it. Making it on the radio works the same.

Start Building Your Streaming Profiles

In a nutshell, your “resume” (your brand, music, label) needs to be polished. Remember, the radio is the endgame, so putting your music on other streaming services such as Spotify and sending out mixtapes to record labels who can back you only builds your profile. 

In the evolving world, we live in, even the regulars who work a 9 to 5 job are pushing the boundaries on how they sell themselves to attain the job they’ve always wanted. As each individual job requires certain qualities and attributes one must always adhere to the field they’re looking to find themselves in.

Stellar EPKs Make A Huge Difference

As an artist, a stellar EPK goes a long way. EPK’s or Electronic Press Kits are like your first impressions for a recruiter, to the radio station. EPK’s are essentially a one-stop shop for stations, where they can listen to files of your single, EP, or album and where they can find your social media accounts, website, and everything else they need to know about you.

So instead of a regular resume that plainly states what you’re good or great at, EPK’s are the next step that takes your music game to the next level, if done well! Piling everything together into one space and sending it out only goes so far, so be sure to check out how to elevate yourself and your EPK here. 

Do Musicians Get Paid For Airplay?

So, you’ve created an outstanding EPK and get picked up by a station, what now? Is there any profit in having airtime or is it all for the exposure? In the United States, the profits come in the form of songwriter royalties, not necessarily for the artist who performed the song as radio airplay is considered a public performance.

This is where your label comes into play as they’re not only investing in you, but also looking to earn back what money they devoted to you as an artist. Don’t forget, they wouldn’t have invested if they didn’t see something coming out of it. Thus, this professional relationship works both ways, you need them just as much as they need you. 

We don’t think too often about the money behind the radio, especially not the audience who devotes $9.99 every month to subscriptions such as Spotify Premium or Apple Music, however, the numbers don’t lie and the vast majority of radio listeners add up.

So, I leave you with this, don’t be disheartened if you don’t get the thrill of hearing yourself for the first time whilst strolling the aisles of the supermarket right away, it takes some artists, even the ones you know and love, years and years before they were granted such honor. Keep learning and building yourself and your music throughout every twist and turn of your music journey.