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Re: Radio Airplay [was: WAYS TO SELL OUR SELVES: ONLINE]

Hi all,

As for getting airplay (and print reviews too) -- I was extremely fortunate to have my CD put out on an actual label (pfMENTUM) that, although small, already had a positive track record (of sorts) with certain kinds of reviewers, publications, radio shows, programing directors, etc. They had a mailing list already compiled of nearly 1000 already proven "semi-receptive" destinations to send my disk to. And, therefore, I sent them.

I sent CDs out to much less than the full list, certainly, but still a very, very large number -- a hideous, expensive, embarrassingly large number -- all in order to get the 30-40 some odd radio stations to play it (the ones I know of which post their playlists online) and the few dozen favorable reviews it got (also just the ones that I know of who sent me tearsheet copies or emails) from folks all around Europe, Canada, the US and in Austrailia. For all that lot, hundreds of disks went out and were totally, completely ignored. That's just the way it goes.

There has been some discussion on the list about the pros and cons of simply giving away your MP3 downloads online. All well and good, I really don't have an opinion to offer on that. But, to the degree that you want to be taken seriously as an artist and get airplay and reviews and some public notice, you have to be prepared to FREELY GIVE AWAY SOMETHING in return for acheiving that goal.

I sent out not mere dozens but literally hundreds of CDs to people who largely recieved it with indifference. In the package was a well-written press release, a nice photo, and a reminder blurbett/flyer about the pfMENTUM label which had sent so many other CDs to the recipient that they had supposedly enjoyed -- connecting in the reviewers mind my new CD (which they were holding) and the hopefully positive memoriy of other disks from the label.

I got airplay in nearly every country in Europe from Norway to Spain an from the UK to Romania and Lithuania and the former Soviet Union (an including, strange as it seems, even Siberia). Several stations in Canada and college stations around the US played it as well and more than a few stations down under in Australia too. Still, with all of that, I cannot get airplay on the local college radio station in my own town. Go figure. Fair or not, that's just the way it is.

I did make a couple of exceptions, cause back in 2001 when my CD came out there were a couple of folks on the LD list that had radio shows of one sort or another. Because he posted a general invite for submissions to the LD list at some point I did send a disk to Billy Fox at one of his stations or another (I forget which). Nevertheless, what he says is true, I should've paid closer attention to what sort of material he was looking for and playing. My disk "Flux Aeterna" was not a particulaly good fit in retrospect. It lurches from post-rock guitar to semi-industrial, to neo space-rock and long stretches of ambient(ish) ear-wash to semi-jazzy languid melodically emotive noodling and totally gnarly electronic experimentalism. It's simply doesn't sit still and do just any one thing, it tries to do several and it kept turning oblique corners stylistically while doing it.

Though there might've been a couple of individual cuts on there that could've fit the program, I'm sure he didn't have time to go looking for them and I certainly didn't give him any clues toward finding them. My advice, if you find yourself in a similar situation where a given programmer is wanting a CERTAIN THING for their show -- direct them to the pertinent tracks that will most likely interest them. Don't send it to them and say (essentially): "Here it is. You're on your own." In other words, what I sent to him was of no use to him. It's not his fault. It's mine for not thinking it through.

Anyhoo, that's what little advice I have to offer. A lot of it is simply "be lucky." The rest of it is to be wise and mail/give away everything you can -- but give it only to the right folks. Also, remember to help those recipients of your CD out a little (if there needs are narrower than your material) by directing them to particular tracks that will most interest them.

More advice . . . if they do in fact listen to your CD they may not listen to all of it. A certain writer for a certain prominent guitar magazine got my CD and must've listened to just the first cut and half of the second and formed a quick opinion (and a clever, from his point of view, way to say it) -- which his magazine then published. That opinion was generally a positive one but it was sort of "off-handed" and also obvious from it that he hadn't actually listened to the whole thing. We met, face-to-face, a year or so later at a NAMM show and he was abashed and apologetic as all get out. Somehow he finally did listen to the rest of the CD, liked it all, and found out how short-sighted and one-dimensional his review was  having been based on only listening to the first couple of tracks and figuring the rest was more of the same. He's a good guy, a very busy one, and an excellent player himself. I was as sincerly appreciative of the press as it was anyway so it was really no trouble to be wholeheartedly forgiving in return.

In short, my advice is to take the bitter with the sweet and hold no grudges. You never know, you may make a friend -- or more likely meet a "fellow traveler."

Best regards,

tEd kiLLiAn

"Different is not always better, but better is always different"


Ted Killian's "Flux Aeterna" is also available at: Apple iTunes,
BuyMusic, Rhapsody, MusicMatch, MusicNet, DiscLogic, Napster,
AudioLunchbox, Lindows, QTRnote, Music4Cents, Etherstream,
RuleRadio, EMEPE3, Sony Connect, CatchMusic, Puretracks,
and Viztas. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Blah, blah, blah. So???