By Bryan Farrish
How Retail and Radio Work Together
Although we recommend that a new label get their radio and gigs
going first (so they can sell their CDs at the gigs), if the label gets
to where it has at least four or five acts, and EACH one is charting in their respective airplay chart, and is doing 100+ gigs
per year, and is getting 50+ articles/reviews per year, then it
MIGHT be time to consider real retail promotion and distribution.
But not sooner, and not with less than four acts. And when we
say retail, we're not talking about consignment, either.
The first thing you'll want to do once your distro is set up (real
distro, not web) is set up a retail promotion, which will cost you
$3,000 to $15,000 with particular chains; this will probably
include ads in the chain's or distro's house publication, and a
buy-in of 500 to 3000 units from the chain. You'll also want to tag
the fact that you are doing radio. If the promotion is big enough
($35,000+) you'll get POP in addition to the listening stations and
ads, but you can go beyond this by trying to get talkers on your
bin or listening stations, on which you would print something like
"As Heard On WXWY"... provided of course you are spinning on
Next up on the cost ladder are co-op ad (or underwriting) buys on
the pertinent stations. In the case of music, "co-op" is you,
paying 100% of the bill. You run the spots for your release(s),
which include tagging of the local retailer. And if you can afford
it, a remote at the retailer would make everyone happy. Remotes
start at about $300 in small/unrated markets, $3,000 in medium
markets, and $30,000 in major markets. Your releases are not
the focus of a remote, but then they don't need to be... everyone
at the station will know who paid the bill.
You'll also want to coordinate drop-bys (or "meet-and-greets" or
full performances) with the stores, while the artist is in-town
visiting stations. While at the stores, ask the GM if he/she would
like to post the playlist of the station somewhere in the store
(hopefully you are on it) if it's not already there. While it's true that
the first thing a station does is try to get its playlist into stores,
extra help from smiling folks like you won't hurt.
Don't forget to ask the stations (or have your radio promoter ask
the stations) for their recommended stores that your product
should be placed in, and further, what is the name of the buyer is
that you or your retail promoter should speak with there. When
you do speak to that buyer, you have a much greater chance of
them caring what you have say if you preface it with "Bob at
WXYZ is playing our record and said you might be interested in
it... can I send you a copy?"
One last area of available exposure would be the community events announcements that stations make. Many stations (even
college stations) have someone who's job it is to collect and
announce what interesting things are occurring in their town that
week. When you have a confirmed appearance/performance at a store, make sure the station hears about it. And if your
announcement is aired, try to get a tape or transcription of it, and
give it to the store GM or buyer to impress them.
Lastly, there is the need to inform the distro's reps about your
project. Even with real distro, you (being a new indie) are just a
single page in their book of 1000 other releases that they take
with them when they meet with buyers. In their twenty minute
meetings, maybe they get around to talking about ten releases;
yours will not be one of them, unless it has more "apparent activity" than all the other 990 releases (most of which are major
labels.) So you have to make it appear to the rep that you have
a lot of things going on, and you do this by informing them, once
a week, of everything that is happening with your project.
Bryan Farrish Radio Promotion is an independent radio airplay
promotion company. 818-905-8038 www.radio-media.com
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