Everybody knows how important the medium of radio is to artists. Terrestrial radio is still one of the biggest drivers of record sales, digital radio platforms like Last.fm and Pandora are spreading like wildfire, and even Sirius/XM, which is finally profitable, makes a huge difference to the careers of artists everywhere.
But what if your band could have its own radio show? What kind of effect would that have?
Thanks to the recent launch of sites like Spreaker, creating a radio show for your band has never been easier. Unlike sites like Last.fm, which doesn’t allow for banter or chatter or interaction, Spreaker gives you the ability to fold all of the self-promotion activities we spend so much time discussing into one convenient vehicle:
Promote Your Friends and Followers
Promoting and extolling the virtues of fellow bands is an excellent way to market yourself. The positivity is contagious, it helps strengthen bonds with other artists you meet, and helps to establish your profile within any number of scenes. Doing this on your blog or on Twitter is one thing; playing a miniature set of another band’s new songs or inviting them over to your place for an acoustic set on your radio show is quite another.
Debut New Material
One of the reasons that blogs, band pages and streamed concerts are so important for artists is the avenue they provide: you have the option of disseminating small bites of new material to fans in steady chunks. If you have a radio show that you broadcast once a month, you can give them tastes of new material, play them demos or sketches of songs.
Flaunt and Discuss Your Influences
Fans love to read about their favorite bands’ (or celebrities’) musical influences. Music journalists spend hours trying to unpack them, and they provide an easy point at which your fans can strengthen their bonds to you. By discussing and playing the songs and artists that have influenced you on your show, you’ll not only advance your credibility – you’ll give them an additional reason to analyze and dive into your music. Put together a mini set on your radio show dedicated to your love of Grouper, for example, and your fans will have that in the back of their minds next time they put one of your songs on.
Connect With Fans in a Whole New Way
It’s no secret that fans love the idea of being able to talk to artists. If you have a live show, they can call you. If you’re leery of having them call your cell phone or your house phone, set up a skype name and have them call that. Skype to skype calling is free, and it will enable you to connect with your fans in a whole new way. Let them interview you about your next big album! Let them call in and make requests for your set! It’s a perfect mix of intimacy and remove, and it’ll get them to tune in every week.
The key difference, of course, is that a traditional radio station has an audience, and you’ll have to build yours up within Spreaker. But all of the self-promotion activities that we’ve discussed before – releasing steady streams of music for free, promoting and celebrating work by other bands you like, interacting with your fans on a regular basis, finding a non-musical outlet for your personality, and creating special (but still somewhat regular) events for your fans – all of these can be done with a radio show!