How To: Get Your Song On The Radio

Despite the increase in streaming, radio is still key (if not THE key) to breaking a new artist. It also provides valuable income for the artist from public performance plays. Why is radio still so popular? Because carefully curated playlists make sure their listeners come back again and again!

We had a chat with the Head of Music at Radio X, Mike Walsh, about how YOU can secure a place on a top broadcaster’s playlist and what sort of things a radio station looks out for in new music.


What happens in a playlist meeting?

“At a playlist meeting, there would be a discussion of the current playlist and whether the tracks should stay or move on. Then we look at music research, utilising online research panels for consumer opinions. We also look at other metrics for particular songs or artists. These include sales chart, streaming charts and information on touring such as ticketing and size of venues, all of those give a well rounded view of a particular artist.

At Radio X, we pride ourselves on having all the data but still being led by our gut, this means going with what you instinctively feel will work for all audiences of the station. This has led to us moving on artists early and quickly. We have given some of the first plays and playlists to musicians like Mumford and Sons, Florence and the Machine, James Bay and Hozier.”

How do you decide if a song is suitable for your station?

“We look at what would appeal to our listeners. Firstly we look at genre, Radio X has a largely indie/ alternative log. We also look at age and gender of the target market. As Radio X is predominantly male listeners in their thirties, we play the music that is relevant to that market. Our listeners are also predominantly ABC1, which is important for Radio X as it is one of the highest levels of disposable income on commercial radio. It’s all about targeting and super serving that target. I believe that when you tighten the focus you broaden the appeal. So when you focus on specifics you create a product that is so well honed that it becomes attractive to more people, sometimes even outside your target audience.”

What advice would you give an artist hoping to get playlisted on radio station?

“The most important thing is genre. You need to research what each radio station is playing and know who you want to talk to. You wouldn’t believe how many inappropriate records we get sent.

Along with researching the stations, it’s worth finding out which specialist presenter, if any, would be most likely to play your type of music.

Another little tip; when emailing new music, most people prefer for it to be sent digitally as opposed to through post, but don’t send an mp3 attachment as it can clog up inboxes. You should send a link to download or the ability to stream the track.”

For more help on getting your music out there, check out how to get your mixes sounding professional and ‘how to promote your music