If you are in an unsigned band you probably want some airplay.
The object of your band should be to get as much exposure as possible so that more people have heard of you. This will increase your chances of getting paid gigs, selling merchandise, selling recordings, and getting hits on your website and social network sites, which in turn should help put a little bit of money in your bank.
NOTE : You need to have a recording of your own original song before you can do any of this. In most cases it will not be enough to send in a rough demo. You will need to get a proper broadcast quality recording which will cost money. A single mic in the rehearsal studio or at a gig will not cut it.
SOME GENERAL RULES.
The recording should usually be in MP3 format although some stations will accept (or may even prefer) other formats. German radio will need a hard copy of a CD.
Many radio stations will not accept songs with profanity in them and at the very least you should include a warning if there is anything not suitable for a family audience. If you want to get airplay then you need to make the effort. Record a radio friendly version and make it clear which is which if you send both in.
Even the smallest of radio stations will probably have an inbox overflowing with submissions from all sorts of bands. Some will be great, some terrible. But no matter how good your music is, you will likely be ignored if you are rude. Your MP3 will probably just go straight into the waste bin.
Do some research
No point sending your heavy metal tracks to a hip hop show. I know it is obvious but you would be amazed. Try and listen to the show, or check out the website, find out what sort of music they play and if it is only local bands or not. Spell DJs names correctly.
Let them know the style of music, who you have been compared to maybe, if you have an album coming out or some live shows coming up in their area. Provide links to your website, facebook, reverbnation etc. Tell them why you think your music will fit into their show (especially if you have done the research and it is true)
UNSIGNED FRIENDLY RADIO STATIONS
1. Radio stations that will almost certainly play your music.
The following two radio stations have a very relaxed approach to acceptance criteria. That doesn’t mean they are not worth getting onto. The listeners are very interested in unsigned music and some of them are influential. If they like your stuff it could be helpful.
Besides, once you are already getting airplay it looks good when you approach other stations.
They will play almost anything once, and are not worried about profanity, or unsavoury lyrical content.
Absolutely any genre will be considered, and you can often hear Dub-Step followed by cool Jazz, Heavy Metal, and Blues/Folk back to back.
The only rules are that songs must be in MP3 format with ID3 tags and you must include written permission for the song to be aired on the station.
Federal Radio send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Federal currently has two shows a week on Thursday and Sunday (subject to some changes from time to time)
There are also plans to start up a folk and acoustic show soon.
XRP radio send submissions to email@example.com
for full details of submission guidelines for XRP check out here
XRP have a number of different shows some having specific genres in mind.
2. Stations (and shows) that might be a little more choosy
Still likely to play your stuff as long as it fits their criteri
Kate’s Sunshine Cast – Two hour show featuring broad mix of unsigned and independant music from the UK and the rest of the world. Based in Kent but goes out on Gashouse Radio in Philadelphia and online. Tuesdays and Saturdays 1-3pm Philadelphia (6-8pm London, UK)
Songs should be broadcast quality with no profanity. Most genres but extremes are less likely to get airplay. Politeness helps as well as liking the facebook page. Kate’s Sunshine cast can be found on Facebook HERE
Fox’s Den on Vixen 101 – Bill Horncastle and Catweasel briefly held the Guinness world record for hosting the longest ever radio show. Beating Chris Moyles’ previous record, but subsequently beaten by another local radio show. Most of the time the pair play a mix of old and new including quite a bit of unsigned music.
Most styles are welcome but it should be musical, and if you are from East Yorkshire that would be an advantage.
The Voice of North Devon I broadcast a show from this station every Sunday from 15.00 – 18.00 playing two unsigned bands per hour. I try to have an equal spread of local bands to rest of the world, so I am always especially interested in bands from Devon.
We also do “Street Live” with Roy Grimes, which sees local (and touring) bands play live sets in the studio which are later broadcast in the playlist.
Pluto Radio Commercial free online music station with a diverse music policy. Unsigned artists may send their tracks to firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion.
Best of British Unsigned Playing 100% British unsigned music. So British bands only need to visit the website and click on the Send Us Your Music link on the page. That will open a form for you to fill in. The site also has a brilliant map feature showing where each band comes from that has sent tracks in. The terms and conditions are standard stuff plus that you agree to be featured on the map.
VB Nav Radio based in Lincs but plays bands from anywhere in the UK. Rock and metal and generally heavier stuff is preferred. MUST be of good broadcast quality, although there is no problem with profanity here, it is all about the quality of the music.
Thursday nights, from eight o’clock (UK time) is ALL unsigned and is also piped live into a local club.
Send submissions to email@example.com and of course remember to ID3 tag and include permission to play your songs free of royalties.
iPhone site here
Radio Rock Cafe based in Quebec Canada but not limited to bands from that country. Genres played are Nu Rock, Classic Rock, Metal, Punk, Rockabilly/Psychobilly, and similar. You should email first sending links to your band’s social media platforms and/or website so that they can verify that the band’s format fits the radio’s format. Then they will ask you to send files. All details can be found on their website.
Prog Positivity Radio as the title suggests this is a Progressive Rock radio station that plays a mix of signed and unsigned. How far you feel you can stretch the term is up to you, but be aware that if your music doesn’t fit the station’s remit, then you will have wasted your time and effort sending stuff in.
The show is based in Pennsylvania, USA but goes out online worldwide in the usual way. There are DJs worldwide broadcasting shows at various times. The link for artists to submit their own music is HERE
If you are not the artist but you love their music enough to send the station a CD you can do so as well. Just be aware that it has to be an official release that you have bought and paid for and you have to pay postage as well. Probably simpler and cheaper to alert the artist to the show and leave it to them.
TBFM is strictly Rock, Metal, Punk and generally the sorts of genres associated with bikers. No geographical limitations that I am aware of. The output includes plenty of unsigned music as well as everything from AC/DC to ZZ Top
They recommend you register on the website and display the station’s promotional badge on your own website or social network to get airplay. This is a small price to pay for being aired on a station that gets over 2 million hits per month. Full details can be found HERE
Voice FM Rock Show with Ross and Jodie show on Southampton based radio station. Plays a mix of major names and unsigned rock music from local and national acts. No profanity is permitted and tracks must be of professional recording quality, your music will be aired alongside big name rock bands so you don’t want to sound amateurish. You can send tracks to firstname.lastname@example.org
South Devon Sound Friday Rock Show plays a mix of rock and metal as well as up and coming artists in the genre. Email your tracks to email@example.com
If your music isn’t rock enough then Antony will pass it on to another DJ for consideration.
I love the BBC, for all their faults, there is nothing quite like them in any other country than the UK. A huge media organisation completely independant of commercial demands, AND largely independant of government control. We are very lucky to have it and should be glad to pay the licence fee.
BBC radio operates a scheme called BBC introducing which starts at the local/regional level, and then progresses to national level for those bands which prove their worth.
Don’t expect miracles though. The BBC probably gets more new music sent to them than any other organisation and it will take a while to get a result. Upload your tracks but make sure you send them to the smaller stations as well. You will probably have a new album out by the time the BBC gets on to your stuff.