D.I.Y. Musician: The New Radio

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So you just finished recording and mastering your latest track, and you know others will love it as much as you do. You just need to get it out there. So what''s your first stop? Radio, right? Not necessarily.

Getting played on radio is an expensive and time-consuming process. Commercial radio is all but shut out for those not on a major label or with beaucoup bucks to spend. Even college radio—the place on the dial most open to new music—is difficult and time-consuming to break into. The good news is that there''s a quicker way to reach new ears, one that''s easily within your reach: podcasts.

Don''t Touch That Dial
Podcasts are the new radio of the Internet. Anyone who ever dreamed of having their own radio show has started one, and because of this, you can find podcasts on just about any topic. Some podcasts have tens or even hundreds of thousands of listeners. And here''s the kicker: Podcasters have to get permission to legally play songs, which most labels rarely grant. As a result, podcasters are hungry for original music that they can legally use. If you make yours available to them, you can get it played and in front of new audiences with relatively little effort.

There are three methods to get your music on podcasts. The simplest, and most passive, is to upload your tunes to a podsafe collective. These are websites that let podcasters browse music that is podsafe (that is, music that is pre-cleared for podcasters to use). In return for using the music on their show, they''ll plug your music and often provide a purchase link for your music on their website. There are two active podsafe communities that you can use: musicalley.com and podsafeaudio.com. Once you read the legalese and decide that you''re comfortable with it, you can upload your music. Then, podcasters who use these services can discover your material based on the keywords you''ve entered to describe your songs.

Method two is to focus on music podcasts. These are shows run by true fans who love discovering and exposing new music. Visit sites such as podcastalley.com or podcastpickle.com and search the music category for podcasts in your style. If you find one that fits, go to that podcast''s website and follow the submission guidelines. Keep in mind that podcasts with large audiences are inundated with submissions. Also, submission guidelines vary; some will have you upload an MP3 and fill in fields on a webpage, while others will ask you to email them. Whatever the process, follow it carefully. Making their life easier raises your chances of getting played.

Wide World of Talk
But there''s no need to stop with music podcasts. Every podcast needs music—even talk shows. Reach out to these shows and offer your music directly. Many talk podcasts insert music as a break in the middle of the show, and others want themes and beds to talk over. Search the podcast sites mentioned above for shows that either interest you or are related to your music. Talk podcasts rarely have submission guidelines, so just reach out with an informal email. Familiarize yourself with the podcast first, and then offer your music based on how you think it would complement the show. Unlike music podcasts, if you get played, yours is likely to be the only music featured, which will make it stand out in the minds of listeners.

When you do get played on a podcast, cross-promote! Blog about it and link to the podcast episode on your site. Not only do you inform your fans, but you expose the podcast to new listeners, making it easier for you when you go back to your new podcaster friend in the future for more plays.

The best part of all is that podcasters that like your songs often request more of them. Just think, when was the last time a radio station asked you for more of your music?

Randy Chertkow and Jason Feehan are authors of The Indie Band Survival Guide: The Complete Manual for the Do-It-Yourself Musician and The D.I.Y. Music Manual, and founders of the open and free musician resource IndieGuide.com.