What is radio plugging?

A radio plugger – also known as radio PR or music publicist, is the middle-person between an artist or record label/manager and a radio station or presenter, with the aim of acquiring radio airplay for the artist’s music release. This airplay helps the artist (the client) build their social media presence, receive airplay royalties, find new fans, obtain downloads of their music, create CD and merchandise sales, bolster their Spotify streams, and also enables the client to build valuable music industry contacts throughout the process.

As well as radio airplay, the plugger/PR/publicist will be looking for interview and live session opportunities to try and get more exposure for the client. They may look at running CD giveaway competitions with particular shows or look at getting a “radio premiere” to build the buzz of the release.

A radio plugger would try to get their client placed in rotation on radio station playlists, but as these are usually dominated by artists on major labels, usually their client would get what’s called “spot plays” or “free DJ spins”. There are hundreds of radio stations willing to play music from independent artists though.

The process goes something like this:

Press assets are gathered by the music publicist from the client. This would include things like the WAV of the track, the artwork, the biography, press quotes, social media links, lyrics to the song, press release, quote about the song, and press shots.

Pluggin Baby uses Soundcloud, WeTransfer, Dropbox, and Haulix to distribute the music to radio contacts, and all these platforms need to be populated with all the information on the client that a radio station/presenter/producer needs. Once the song is ready to be “plugged”, hundreds of emails are sent out regarding the client’s release and recipients are invited to stream and/or download the single in order to play them on their show.

As Pluggin Baby has been running for 10 years, we’ve built up quite a lot of contacts who support our clients over and over again. As soon as the music has been sent out, we’ll start getting notifications that the song will be played, as well as feedback – and sometimes reviews – for the track in question.

These plays can then be talked about on Pluggin Baby social media platforms, the client can get behind the plays by following, liking, and making contact with the radio presenter that will be playing their music – as well as talking about the airplay on their own social media.

We update our clients every step of the way, and we also use a radio monitor to show us which radio stations have played the track and when. We report back twice a week and give the client a round-up of airplay achieved so far.

Another benefit of radio plugging and airplay is the effect it has on your Spotify streams.

Radio play, being added to radio show playlists, and being talked about on social media can alert Spotify algorithms. If your release is constantly being placed on playlists next to the new Foo Fighters track, for example, Spotify picks up on this and may start suggesting your track to Foo Fighters fans. It almost certainly means that your Spotify streams will build as people hear the track on the radio and then go and check it out on Spotify later.

So, there you have it. A radio plugger opens doors for you in many ways, introduces your music to radio presenters and producers, as well as new fans. Whilst artists and bands are capable of promoting their music themselves, they will need to spend some time building their own contacts list. It’s certainly a lot easier these days to make connections with presenters, but if you feel you don’t have the time, or really know where to start, then investing in hiring a music publicist will be beneficial to you and get your music to the people that need to hear it.

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