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HOW TO PREPARE FOR A RADIO INTERVIEW
"How to prepare for a radio interview"
Radio interviews are an exciting opportunity to have your voice be heard and to help your company be noticed. A radio interview can be a daunting experience if you are not adequately prepared. Take advantage of the opportunity and succeed in your interview by considering these tips.
Know your medium
The nature of a radio interview delivers a one-on-one experience for the listener. To connect with your audience, you must to talk to, not at them.
Radio programs have different tones, whether casual and conversational, or more structured and formal. Knowing the tone of the program and tailoring your message accordingly will help you to connect with listeners.
Know your message
Having a clear and concise message is the key to a successful radio interview as it is more likely to be memorable in the mind of the listener.
It is important to present information in a succinct manner to get your point across. Long-winded answers will confuse your message and your listeners lose interest. This will also make it difficult for the interviewer in maintaining audience engagement with stimulating prompts follow up questions. Ultimately, your message must be delivered clearly, and in a way that resonates with the audience. For tips on how to create key messages go here.
Although you will have a particular purpose for your interview, whether to sell a book or to promote your website, it is important to not oversell yourself or your business. The audience is not interested in hearing a sales pitch, and your interviewer will not be interested in facilitating it. Instead of continually plugging your cause, subtly weave your call-to-action into your answers. This will also help to ensure that your answers are deliberate and purposeful.
Quick tips for a radio interview
1. Headphones: Hearing the host’s voice and your own through headphones during the interview can be very distracting.
2. Remember to relax, as this will help you focus.
3. Visual gestures: Smile and use hand gestures during the interview. This energy will be translated into your voice and make you sound more natural.
4. Provide bio: Send your bio and other information to your interviewer in advance. This will ensure that the host has a clear understanding of who you and your business are.
5. Cheat sheet: Prepare a cheat sheet of keys points for your interview. This will help you to deliver your message and avoid getting side-tracked.
6. Avoid jargon: Use simple language that your audience will understand and connect with. Jargon will only complicate your message and isolate listeners.
Keith V Gilchrist aka The Jazzman
26 THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU RELEASE A SONG OR ALBUM
1. MARKET RESEARCH
How do you know if you suck or not? You’re biased. So are your mom and your boyfriend. Your friends aren’t going to tell you if they hate your music. They will come to your shows to support you. To make sure your music is ready for primetime, you need some unbiased opinions. To hit the general public, you can use Tunecore’s Fan Reviews. You don’t actually have to distribute your music with Tunecore to get it reviewed. To get 100 reviews by these ‘music fans and consumers’ (people who get paid to take surveys) it’ll run you about $40. Otherwise, if you have a strong community around you, enlist some trusted ears to take a survey anonymously. You can use Surveymonkey or Google Forms and they can rank the songs in the order of their favorites, rate each on a 1-10 scale, and offer other kinds of feedback. If you're not super established, I recommend doing some kind of market research before releasing your music. It can also just help to know the order to release your singles.
2. MAKE A TIMELINE
This should include all the elements below. A great song needs a great strategy. The most important thing you can do is know exactly what you have to do each day and each week leading up to your release and what to do after. Be specific and thorough.
At the top of each week, you should already know exactly what you need to accomplish. Which photos and videos are you posting? What emails are you sending? What stories are you telling? Once you have it written out, make sure to use a system that will work for you so you execute with precision. Maybe it's the calendar on your
phone, maybe it's post-it notes on your wall, maybe it’s a fancy project management software. Whatever it is, stick to it. This is your road map to a successful release.
3. REGISTER YOUR PUBLISHING
If you want to make sure you’re collecting all of your publishing royalties wherever they exist in the world, you’re going to need an admin publishing company to help you collect these (if you don’t have a publishing deal). Songtrust, Tunecore Publishing, CD Baby Publishing or Sentric are some admin publishing companies that any songwriter at any level can sign up for and get 100% of their publishing royalties collected
4. SIGN UP FOR A PRO
In America, the most well-known Performing Rights Organizations (PROs) are ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. In Canada the sole PRO is SOCAN. In the UK it’s PRS. You must be signed up with a PRO to get your performance royalties for songs you write. Most admin
publishing companies will register your songs with every PRO in the world (including your hometown one), so you don’t need to worry about registering each song with your local PRO as long as you register those songs with your admin publishing company. If
you don’t have an admin publishing company (uh, see #2), then you’ll need to make sure you register every one of your songs with your PRO.
For every stream there are two publishing royalties earned: performance and mechanical. If you only have a PRO you’re only getting about half of your publishing (songwriter) royalties. Admin publishing companies will collect ALL of your publishing revenue from around the world: mechanical and performance.
If you’re scrappy and have a lot more time on your hands, you could register with a PRO and a Mechanical Rights Organization (MRO). In the States the only MRO is the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC). They will collect your mechanical royalties - for
ONLY US streams. They won’t help you collect mechanicals from around the world. To do that, you need a publisher (or admin publisher). If you’re located anywhere else in the world, your local MRO and PROs may be able to help you.
I like to save myself the headache and simply work with an admin publisher to do all of this for me. That way I know that I’m 100% setup with one stop registration.
5. REGISTER WITH A SOUND RECORDING PRO
SoundExchange is how you get paid for Pandora and SiriusXM (and all other digitalradio) plays in the US. Other countries have their own "Neighboring Rights Organizations." Find the one in your country and register for it.
6. REGISTER YOUR COPY RIGHTS
You can currently register 20 of your unreleased songs for $85 with the US Copyright office. You can do everything at Copyright.gov. Make sure you’re protected so when the future Pharell and Robin Thicke steal your song in 30 years, your kids will be able to sue for their retirement! If you don’t register the copyright, you can’t bring a suit.
7. PICK YOUR DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
To get your songs on Spotify, Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon, TikTok and 100+ other DSPs (digital service providers) worldwide, you need a distribution company. There are many distribution companies out there who you can use. I keep an updated
comparison article on many of these companies on aristake.com.
8. GET A SYNC AGENT
If you’re interested in getting your music in TV shows, commercials, movies, video games and trailers, you’ll want to work with a sync agent. Some call these sync licensing companies. You can find a list of the top 25 sync agencies in the world in How To Make it in the New Music Business. You can also learn all about sync licensing
in Ari’s Take Academy’s Advanced Sync Strategies course.
9. CREATE THE FOLDER OF ASSETS
Create a folder in your preferred cloud-based drive (Dropbox, Google Drive, Box) which can be shared with your team that contains:
. Wavs of every song (including instrumentals).
. 320kbps (metadata tagged) mp3s of every song (including instrumentals).
. High-res album cover (at least 3000 pixels x 3000 pixels).
. Stems (for remixes). These are isolated vocals, drums, bass, guitar tracks.
. Hi-res promo photos (no bigger than 10mb per image)
. Press release
. Spreadsheet of playlists, influencers and press outlets to target
. Text doc with credits (break these down by song)
. Short and long bios
. All promo materials (with original files to be able to update and edit)
. All videos (music video, BTS, ads, upcoming posts)
. Text doc containing links to all shareable assets that you’ll need to reference quickly.
10. GET NEW PHOTOS
You should build up a network of photographers in your city. You can never have enough high-quality photos. Every release is a new beginning. It’s a time to update andenhance your image. To rebrand if necessary. Photos give your audience the first
impression of the music. People will judge your project based on the artwork and photography before they choose to listen to the music. So your photos should have the same vibe and energy of your release. Make sure your photographer listens to the new
music. And make sure the photos you release alongside the new music make sense. You need to wear an outfit conducive to the new sound. Your new album needs a story. And those photos need to match the story. Put all the edited photos in your Folder of Assets. Create a separate folder for each single release with the accompanying photos for that release
11. WRITE A NEW BIO AND PRESS RELEASE
Your bio is your story. It is the single most important piece of your release—next to the music, of course. It should reveal why people should care about you. What sets you apart? Why are you unique? And more specifically, what is the album’s story? With this in mind, you can craft your bio. Many outlets will copy and paste your bio for theirneeds. Make sure you have three bios, a long one, a short one (1 or 2 paragraphs, definitely under 500 words) and an elevator pitch (this is just for you and your team when discussing the album).
The press release is different from your bio and doesn’t need to be posted anywhere online. You will send this directly to media outlets. Your press release should include recent media coverage, the release you’re currently promoting, any notable shows and tour dates (past or future), and a snapshot of your bigger picture plan.
12. CLEAR ALL LICENSES
If you are releasing a cover song or have samples in the track that you didn’t create, you have to clear the licenses. For cover songs, most distributors will give you guidance on how to get the mechanical license (some distros do this for you - for a fee). If you
used a piece of recorded music in your track that you didn’t create from scratch, you have to make sure you’re legally allowed to use it. Many recording programs (DAWs) allow you to use their sounds and loops, but if you took even a split second of a piece of someone else’s recording, you need their permission. Don’t think you’ll get caught? Audio recognition software these days are incredibly powerful. Don’t risk it.
13. CUE UP SPOTIFY FOR ARTISTS
You want to make sure to distribute your song at least 5 weeks before the release date. Once it is officially cued up for distribution, a couple days later it should be listed in your Spotify for Artists backend as an upcoming release. There is an option there to
submit to the Spotify playlist editors. And this is how you make sure your song shows up in your followers’ Release Radar and hits other algorithmic playlists on Spotify. To have success here you need to be clear about your long tail strategy. What support have you had? What press is coming? What can people expect from you for the next 6 months to a year? How often are you releasing music? What's your show history along with upcoming shows? What are some highlights that make you stand out from the noise? Spotify wants to know that you are an artist worth supporting. Spotify asks for this stuff and they will help artists they know have their stuff together. You’re also going to want to cue up the. Canvas (8 second silent video loops) for each song (which plays when someone streams your song on Spotify mobile). Make sure to also set up
Contributions so your fans are able to donate to you directly when they’re on your Spotify profile - you get 100% of this money
14. MAKE A LIST OF PLAYLISTS & INFLUENCERS TO CONTACT
Make a list of user generated playlists that your music would fit on. I like doing this in Google Sheets and include as much info on the playlist as possible. Chartmertric can help with this. Research who the playlist creator is and contact them when your song is released and ask to be included. Start your message with their name and a compliment about the playlist. NEVER pay the playlister for inclusion. This is against Spotify’s terms of service and will get your record removed. If a playlister asks for money, you can respectfully inform them of this policy or simply forward their email to Spotify support (which will get that playlist removed)
When it comes to social media influencers, this is a totally different ballgame. You can contact users on TikTok and/or Instagram and ask them to use your new song in some of their videos. These don’t have to be influencers with a ton of followers. The TikTok algorithm doesn’t merely reward those with big followings. Videos from users with just a couple thousand followers regularly get millions of views - which can encourage others to use your song. Make a list of TikTokers who fit your brand and hit them up. You can pay for this - and many expect it. This, unlike Spotify, is not against TikTok’s terms. If you have a bit of a budget, you could hire a company to do this for you - but that costs tens of thousands of dollars. And it doesn’t always work. So I recommend just putting in the time and doing it yourself (with your friends).
15. PRIVATE SONG SHARING AND STORING
You need a private way to share new music with music supervisors, labels, agents,managers and blogs. Some of the most popular options to do this are Dropbox, DISCO, Google Drive and Box. Put both wavs and mp3s in there along with lyrics and any notes
on the song. This will be the introduction of this project, so make sure who ever gets this link can understand the full picture. You only get one shot at a first impression! Get links for every song (make sure you click the Share button - don’t copy the URL
because it will make them login) and pop these links into your text doc in the Folder of Assets.
16. MAKE A LIST OF PRESS OUTLETS TO CONTACT
Send out your press release to any outlet you think would respond well to your story and your music. But make sure the email is personalized to the writer. Open the email with a compliment about a previous article they wrote. These writers are music fans who are working on their own creative medium. Compliments to their work come few and far between. You want to have pitches out at least a month in advance with regular follow ups (every 4 days or so). Boomerang is a great Gmail plug-in that can automate this. Complete with an option to only send if there is no reply so you can set it and forget it. If you have a budget for a publicist, they will do this for you.
17. CREATE THE VIDEOS
Every song you release should have an accompanying video. It doesn’t need to be a high priced music video, but it should have a video component. There are even inexpensive apps out there that can easily create lyric videos for you. You’re going to want videos of different length and aspect ratio for Spotify’s Canvas, Instagram Stories and other outlets you want to customize the videos for in advance. Make sure the videos fit the vibe of the song and the project.
18. PUT THE RELEASE ON BANDCAMP
Bandcamp is the #1 independent music store. It is self-managed by you. You don’t need to use a distributor to get on Bandcamp. You can go to Bandcamp.com and sign up for free. You can offer “name your price” downloads (they also have a streaming library). A fan once paid me $200 for my album (set at $5 minimum). Bandcamp now offers subscriptions and a physical merch store as well. This is an easy way to encourage your fans to pay you money for your music. You ain’t going to be making much from streams, so encourage your fans to enjoy your music on Bandcamp.
19. REBRAND YOUR SOCIALS & WEBSITE
Now that you have new photos, album cover and bio, use these assets to rebrand all your social sites and website. You are bringing an entirely new package to the world. Make it shiny, sparkly and tasty. And put a bow on it! It’s a good idea to rebrand your website every couple years regardless if you have a new album or not. There are plenty of website builders that require no design or coding knowledge. They have beautiful templates to choose from and are very simple to use. I keep an updated comparison on
aristake.com of some of the biggest website builders
20. ENGAGE YOUR MAILING LIST
If you don’t have a mailing list yet, start one. This is the most important fan engagement tool you have. Of course email is important, but text message marketing is becoming more widely used and increasingly a must-have. Mailchimp is great for email.
Community is the #1 SMS marketing platform for musicians right now and enables you to build a text list and regularly engage your followers. Whereas email open rates sit at around 23%, text open rates are around 95%.
21. CREATE NEW MERCH
A new release demands new merch. You can create print-on-demand merch so you don’t need to buy (or store) up front inventory. The merch company will print and ship the item directly to your fan. We keep an updated comparison of print on demand
companies on aristake.com. Also make sure that your merch is linked to Spotify and your other profiles online that showcase merch. Currently, Merchbar is the only way to get your merch onto Spotify. You can signup here. https://www.merchbar.com/artists/partner-with-merchbar...
22. CUE UP THE ADS
Digital marketing is now a must for every release. Running social media ads (for around $5-10/day) is single-handedly how Lucidious went from 100 monthly listeners to 500,000 monthly listeners in 3 years. Cue up those Facebook, Instagram, YouTube ads.
You can learn how to do this in the Ari’s Take Academy course: Streaming and Instagram Growth
23. WIKIPEDIA PAGE
Even all these years later Wikipedia is still one of the first places people go to get a quick glance at your bio. And it’s almost always top of the list in Google search results. It validates you and helps the internet learn about you. If you don’t have a Wikipedia
page yet, there are plenty of people and companies out there you can hire to make you one. You just need a good amount of press under your belt. If you have one already, time to get it updated. Wikipedia doesn’t like when the subject edits their own page
(and it can’t read like a promotional bio), so either disguise your editing, or ask your network to help with this.
24. TRACKABLE LINKS
Smarturl, Feature.fm, Show.co all have ways for you to create custom links that you can use to track clicks on whatever you’re promoting. They also enable you to create Spotify pre-save campaigns and a link tree style album landing page where the fan can choose their preferred DSP. Read a comparison of the services on aristake.com Also, add a one click, landing page link, like linktr.ee, to your Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and other social platforms’ bio section where you want to send people to learn more about you
25. GET ON ALL MUSIC.COM AND DISCOGS
AllMusic is the most inclusive credits database in existence. Discogs is a close second. Even though many of the DSPs are starting to display credits in their platform, they’re not fully inclusive of everyone yet. Your music should be registered on AllMusic.com
and Discogs so people can find out who played the violin on track 3 and who cowrote track 7, because most people won’t ever see your physical liner notes. To get registered on AllMusic, you go to http://allmusic.com/product-submissions and follow the instructions. For Discogs, you can submit the info directly through the site (Discogs.com).
26. FORM A CORPORATE ENTITY (LIKE AN LLC)
This gives you some legal protections, tax breaks and enables you to open a band bank account (and get paid). You should consult an attorney and accountant to make sure you set this up properly. Or if you’re on a budget, Legalzoom can help you get this set up cheaply.
Keith V Gilchrist aka The Jazzman