A Musician, and new to the game? This could help…

I recently followed a conversation on twitter where Kenya’s Record Artists were asking for increased airplay of their music across media stations under the hashtag #playkenyanmusic.
The argument is that media stations both Radio and TV are playing more foreign music than their own talents’ music. Fair argument seeing as the possibility of listening to Cardi B on Capital FM or Burna Boy on Kiss FM is so high. But also it is possible that every day a radio station or TV entertainment station will also play Sauti Sol, King Kaka, Avril, Joyce Omondi or Akothee. It all depends what radio/TV station one is tune in to at a given time.

Are the artists justified in asking for more airplay? Yes! Is the quality of the music up-to-per, I like to think, absolutely (save for some who don’t understand their target audience).

As a Media Personality, with some experience in Radio and Television, here are some tips I’d like to share with Record Artists in Kenya, East Africa and else where.

1. Know how music makes it to playlists or hit lists and on rotation (criteria)

2. Music play is not manually decided/ controlled by presenters save for request hours

3. Music on air play for various shows is scheduled by a music controller (a human being) based on research and popularity of certain songs

4. When new music is brought in by an artist or agent, it is slotted in the new playlist category after pre listening

5. Different radio stations have varying target audiences. That’s why one can easily listen to Eric Wainaina’s music play on Classic 105 FM and not NRG or Kiss FM. Know where your music fits best and where it would get most air play

6. Besides the presenters, know the technical personnel at a radio station. The music “Comp-troller” can advise you on a real good pep talk on making music that sells. That’s their craft that’s what they do all day. meet the program manager have seek knowledge

7. When launching an album, have one of the radio stations as a key partner. Best to pick the one that is in sync with your style/genre of music. There you will have made a long term partner.

8. Radio stations pull crowds with the mentions/jingles/ratings/ads etc. And for all their sponsored shows, one can be sure to get

9. Get a good agent/promoter/manager if you can afford one (if your record label is not doing the run-arounds for you) – they will get word around quick and do the formalities for you.

10. Burn no bridges. In the media and entertainment industries. Word goes around so fast. So much so that Record artists who have good music will in some instances miss the air play just because of ONE bridge they burned.

11. The digital age has changed the game & will continue to… Air play is not entirely dependent on media stations. Curate your online profile, master the art of digital cross-platform marketing. If you don’t know how, Hire someone who can set this up for you

12. Know how the music industry operates. As a singer/rapper or whatever your genre is, make time outside of recordings and song writing. KNOW THE GAME. You’re gonna be in it for a lifetime. Know what it requires of you & become an eternal student of the craft.

13. Do duets (“collabos”) especially if you’re a rising star. Find a record artist you can work with and do music together. These help to get your voice across a whole wide range of fans locally and internationally.

14. Expand your networks within the music industry and outside it. People know people who know people who know things! And you will be surprised at who could know something or someone that gets you to the next level.

15. One last thing, ask yourself, Where does your music play outside media stations? At events, in the club, at a wedding, graduation, birthday party etc etc… who plays that music? A DeeJay.. how many of those have you personally spoken to and given your music?

16. Do Strategic Media Tours. Let the media get to know you, your style of music. Be open to interviews, giving opinion on industry related topics. Stay on their mind. Reinvent.

There definitely is a whole lot more than what I just shared here. Different people will share various tips too. I did radio (as a presenter and show co producer) for about 4years and TV for 10 years and thought to share some of these tips seeing as the Entertainment industry largely compliments the Media Industry. The two cannot do without one another.

Hope this helps someone out there.


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