Promotion vs. Servicing Myths

Bryan Farrish

(Bryan Farrish Promotion is an independent promotion company handling airplay, talk radio interviews, and gig promotion.

One of the new tricks to confuse artists is “digital distribution” or “digital servicing”. This is a service where the following is supposed to happen: You pay a small fee to have your audio sent to radio stations, then the person at the station listens to your track, plays it, and the service then tells you who played it. Problem is, it’s very misleading.

First of all, you have to understand the difference between “servicing” radio, and “promoting” to radio. Promoting to radio means you have dialog/conversation with the person at the station, and this requires phones calls and emails. After all, you want to actively talk WITH the person about his/her activities, gripes and stories. That is promotion. Just getting the music to them is simply “servicing” (which is a subset of marketing).

I don’t have anything against digital delivery itself; we provide it to every client for free (it’s called email). But the real problem with those digital delivery services is what they allow you to believe. We hear a lot of artists who said, “I paid $200 and my song was sent to 2000 stations, and the report said that 600 of them played it on air!” If you are believing this kind of stuff, your career is going to be having a multitude of problems.

First off, no commercial PD is going to be playing anything from “just an email”. It must come from a person/group that he is talking to or has talked to in the past, be it you, a promoter or a label. From just this trusted group of people, the PD is already overwhelmed by thousands of releases. He could never play them all because his playlist is already packed. And how about the “reports” that tell you how many listened and/or played the track? Contact some of the people at those stations and ask them. Also, check the station’s website for their playlist, and for your track on it.

In 2003 you thought getting your music on myspace was a low-cost answer to promotion, but now there are millions on there. It’s kinda like having a phone number: Every radio station and label in the world can call you, but how many do?

So if you’re looking for airplay and want results, be sure to understand the difference between servicing and promotion.


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