Adding Other Artists
Commercial Airplay Myths
To DVD or Not
Indie Promo I
Indie Promo 2
Payola Part 2
Payola Part 3
Payola Part 4
Retail & Radio
Videos for Radio
Independent Promoter Checklist, Part 2
By Bryan Farrish
Independent Promoter Checklist,
Checklist, Part 2
This issue we continue with what you should look for in an indie promoter.
The following are the more subtle things you should look for when hiring
CONTACTABILITY: This is probably going to be the one thing that you
end up really liking or disliking about the way your indie operates. Some
indies are always there when you call, others are never there. The ones who
never answer will invariably tell you, "I spend all my time on the phone
talking with the stations... Isn't that what you want me to do with your
Good try. What these non-contactable indies are actually doing is spending
"some" time on the phone with "some" stations, and spending a lot more
time dining at restaurants and seeing friends. And if you thought it was
difficult reaching them before you hire them, just wait until AFTER they get
your money. I see this again and again and again. If you think about it, an
indie's sole job is to talk on the phone. Why then, if they are there by the
phone, would they not pick up when you call? What if a station calls?
And that is exactly it: They are NOT there when a station calls... because
they REALLY DON'T spend that much time talking to stations on the phone.
They only want you to think that they do. And worse, if they say they give
clients (and potential clients) a different phone number to call than the one
they give the stations, then you can guarantee that you (the paying client)
will never get that person on the phone when you need them (or much less,
to be able to spend any time learning from them.)
A true indie promoter is a non-stop call center, who gives TOP priority to
incoming calls. They should have several people available to answer calls;
if everyone is still on the phone when the phone rings, someone should
HANG UP and answer that incoming call. Remember, incoming calls are
top priority... it could be a station, and stations normally only call when they
have good news.
REPORTS: Reports are a requirement that well-organized promoters
provide to you. There is no other way you are going to be able to understand
(within an hour) what is going on with your airplay each week... much less
let someone else (stores, papers, clubs) know what is going on, without a
OFFICE: If the promoter does not have an office (even a small one), then
you will be competing with things like the promoter's sleep, TV, neighbors,
ASSISTANTS: If a promoter handles more than one genre of music at the
same time, or if the promoter does college radio at all, then assistants are
mandatory. The phone calls have to be made, and no one person can call
more than 150 stations a week AND do reports AND do faxes AND do
emails AND talk to you when you call. Impossible.
COMPUTER LITERATE: I don't have to go into how important computers
are becoming. But I should mention that as web radio becomes used like
regular radio, those promoters that are not up on computers are going to
have a problem. Already, web radio is used in the college CMJ charts, and
some commercial charts.
COLLEGE RADIO: College should be considered for every campaign,
even if you are doing high-level commercial radio. College radio is
relatively inexpensive, and will make some good looking charts and reports
to show retail, press and clubs.
FAXES: Serious promoters uses faxes; faxing is simply the fastest way to
get a one-page synopsis of info to the stations... with pictures if needed.
They are not cheap, but a good promoter should still include these faxes.
EMAILS: While you may get excited about email, remember that since
email is free, stations get them from every artist on the planet. And all the
emails look the same. So in order to build a project, you must use faxes and
calls, because most artists can't afford them (and that is why you will stand
REFERENCES: Any promoter worth consideration will have a list of
clients or past clients. What you are looking for is a promoter with projects
that are on your (independent) level. A list of "big" clients, however, means
the promoter is used to having massive help from major label staff
promoters, national tours, retail promotions, advertising, not to mention
hundreds of newspaper, magazine, and TV appearances. Since that promoter
will not have these with your project, you will be very difficult for them to
work. You need a promoter who is set up to work with indie projects like
yours. Besides, real "major label" promoters DO NOT take indie projects.
More likely, however, the "major label" promoter was actually not the
promoter that worked the major projects in the first place. They were
probably just assistants in the office, or were mail people, or more often
than not, they were just outright lying. Happens all the time. You will have
to ask the artist directly to find out.
© Bryan Farrish Sept.
Bryan Farrish Radio Promotion is an
independent radio airplay
promotion company. 818-905-8038 www.radio-media.com.
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