File Under: Getting Your Music Heard

There are more opportunities and places to get your music heard than ever. Computers, phones, tablets, TVs, game consoles, watches, and more are all geared towards delivering music and video to people no matter where they are. Every device is tapping into music providers that should have your music so you can be discovered and heard. The devices aren't quite enough until you know who your fans are, and where they hang out. But once you've done the background research, how can you get your music in front of them?

In this new DIY Advisor series, we're going to cover 28 categories of places where you can get your music discovered and into the ears of potential new fans. We envision one article per category, but want to start off by giving you an overview so you know what we’ll be covering periodically in this blog. We’ll continue to go back and link to each one here as we cover them.

The categories -- going in order from the classic (think: radio) to the most recent (think: internet):

1. Commercial Radio Station Rotation.
The rotation on a commercial radio station is determined by the station owners rather than DJs or hosts. Because of this, commercial radio play usually requires a (large) bankroll and a radio promoter or plugger.

2. Commercial Radio Syndicated Shows.
Commercial radio sometimes plays syndicated shows like Little Stephen’s Underground Garage that feature independent music. These shows take music from independent artists, but you’ll likely only get one play if it's accepted (rather than repeated ones). Still, it can get your music in front of a lot of dedicated listeners and potential fans.

3. Commercial Radio Local Shows.
Some commercial stations have local music shows that feature independent artists. A good example from Chicago (where we're from) is 93XRT’s Local Anesthetic.

4. Commercial Radio Talk Shows.
Talk shows on commercial radio have their own producers, and can play music that matches the style or topics that the radio personalities cover. Reach out to the producers if you hear them discuss something that touches on a theme in your music, lyrics, or your genre. Our own band has gotten played many times simply by reaching out to a talk show that requested music. We've also had luck submitting unsolicited music if we had a song on a topic the show covered the previous day.

5. College Radio Station Rotation.
Many college radio stations have a regular rotation that you can get your music added to so it's played by college DJs.

6. College Radio Station Shows.
College radio stations also let their students create their own radio shows on a genre, theme, or topic. When this happens, the host/DJ chooses all the show’s music, separate from its music on rotation. College shows around the country that fits your music style is a potential target for getting your music played and in front of potential fans.

7. College Radio Station Live On-Air Performances.
College radio stations are often happy to have musicians come to their studios to perform live. They are most likely to invite you to play when you’re coming to their area to play a show.

8. Public Radio Syndicated Shows.
Public radio often features new music through syndicated shows such as All Songs Considered. Get your music considered by following their submission process.

9. Public Radio Local Music Shows.
Most public radio stations have local shows that feature events, news, and culture in their town. These shows often cover music from local artists.

10. Satellite/Cable Radio.
Radio shows hosted on satellite radio or satellite radio stations like XMU feature independent music. There’s a submission process you can follow to get your music considered.

11. Streaming Radio.
There is an entire universe of internet radio stations online powered by platforms such as Live365, SHOUTcast, or Radionomy. Each of these sites contain directories of stations that might play your music. Each is a radio station, and thus might have both a regular rotation at the station itself, as well as specific shows that you can submit to.

12. Podcast Music Shows.
There are a ton of music podcasts, each with their own producers and submission guidelines. The easiest way to find them is to search the web with keywords such as “EDM Podcast”, “Heavy Metal Podcast”, or whichever genre that is applicable to your music.

13. Podcast Talk Shows.
Any podcast can play music, and talk podcasts are great places to explore. You can get played, interviewed, or featured. Our band has had a lot of success with this including writing theme music, bumpers, and more for those podcasts. Talk show plays are especially valuable because your music stands out -- there’s no other music to compete against on the show, and thus they make a bigger deal about talking about you and you music.

14. Music Streaming Services.
Pandora and stream music to listeners based on the listener preference. Your music should be on each service -- all it takes is following each service’s submission process.

15. Social Music Discovery Services.
Spotify and Grooveshark allow users to discover new music and share it with friends and followers. Your music should be on these sites so it can be discovered and shared -- plus they pay per play. All it takes is submitting your music to get it on their services.

16. Social Music Playlists.
There’s a reason why we call services like Spotify a social music discovery service. These streaming services aren’t just jukeboxes -- users can create and share curated playlists which can center around any theme, topic, or genre that other users can listen to and subscribe. The most popular playlists have thousands of listeners. Getting included on these playlists can expose your music to a ton of potential fans since all it takes is one click for them to see your entire catalog and learn more about what they’re listening to. Plus these song plays can immediately drive revenue as these sites pay for each stream.

17. MP3 Blogs.
Music reviewers and diehard music fans love to get their hands on new music so that they can review and share it. Your music can be played on these blogs, the key is to find the ones that specialize in your type of music. Hype Machine has a directory of MP3 blogs where you can find the ones that cover your genre to learn what the submission guidelines are.

18. Music Archive Sites.
Music archive sites such as catalog and store music so it can be downloaded and shared. Your music can be discovered here if you submit it.

19. Live Music Archive Sites.
Sites like Etree allow users to find and listen to a growing catalog of live music recordings. This is affiliated with the Bands That Allow Taping which catalogs those musicians who allow live recordings be uploaded. If you play live and record your shows, your music can be discovered here.

20. Audio Content Hosts.
Sites like Soundcloud, Reverbnation, and Bandcamp do more than just host your music, they all have music discovery features. Joining these sites and uploading your music here can help you reach new listeners.

21. Your Website.
Your own website needs to be a place where potential new fans can explore and listen to your music. You can use Audio Content Hosts or other music players to make your music front and center on your site.

22. Social Media.
Making it easy for fans to share your music using social media can grow awareness of your music and help build your fanbase. Your music should be simple to share regardless of what type of device those sharing it may be using, so make sure that you have a good array of web presences to share your music.

23. Social News & Entertainment Websites.
Sites like Reddit, Stumbleupon, Metafilter, and Digg have discovery and sharing features that can introduce your music to potential new fans and help get it discovered. There are a variety of ways to ensure your music is found at these sites.

24. Song & Album Challenge Sites.
Sites like Record Production Month, February Album Writing Month, and SongFight! challenge you to record music within a set time period and share it with its members and listeners. Participating in these challenges can also generate exposure since these sites include jukeboxes and playlists that showcase what’s been created, which can get you discovered by new fans.

25. Non-Music Websites.
Don’t forget that any site on the web can share music files -- blogs, message boards, forums, news sites, charities, organizations, and businesses can and do post music. Getting your music covered on non-music websites has a fantastic advantage: your music stands out. Also, there are usually no formal submission guidelines: if your music fits what the site covers, you can reach out and see if they’d feature or include your music. Doing so can help you reach entirely new audiences.

26. Live DJs.
Live DJs spin music that they like, and if you can get your music in their hands, you can get them to play you at clubs. This can expose your music to new listeners.

27. Internet Video.
YouTube is the largest search engine for music in the world. You should be there with your own music videos. But don’t forget other video sites like Vimeo and DailyMotion. Since these sites have sharing tools directly built into the video players themselves, they’ve helped make video the most viral media there is.

28. Streaming Video.
Every time you play a live show online, you have a chance to appear in front of new fans. Sites such as or Livestream allow you to broadcast your show so others can watch. You can list your broadcast in the music category so Ustream and Livestream viewers can check you out. And, in doing so, your listing will appear as part a list of current live shows on sites like Stageit. (And when you do, don't forget to make money from your show!)

There you go: an overview of the 28 different categories to get your music heard. Keep in mind we’ll be diving into each of these categories -- and the sites and services they contain -- throughout the year. We'll share details on what to do to get your music submitted and accepted by each platform. That way people can discover you and your music no matter where they listen.


#getheard #gettingplayed #radio #streaming #web

Photo Credit: Philippe Put