If you're reading this post and you're not aware of SABC playing 90% local music then I suggest you do two things:
1. Do yourself a favour and get out the studio and get some sunlight, you're probably lacking vitamin D.
2. Head over to the article written up by SAMRO about the SABC's "radical" 90% local music playlists. To read SAMRO's article, click here.
Now that that's out the way, one has to keep in mind that the new stance taken by the SABC will mean more artists will be approaching the music compilers of the 18 SABC radio stations. This also means that it's imperative, I repeat, imperative that you as an independent artist approach each music compiler correctly and effectively from the get go. Here are 5 points that I suggest you really consider before you go on and email your friendly neighbourhood music compiler.
1. Correct Etiquette
When you're about to write your first email to a complete stranger, it's important to be as professional as possible. It's even more crucial to be as professional and concise as possible to someone who has the ability to butter your bread or starve you. When emailing a compiler, resist the urge to use slang words until you've reached a stage where you're more than acquaintances or he uses slang. Always keep in mind that the compiler's first impression of you and your music business hustle is by your emails.
If you're using slang, shortened text (mxit text) and all those other bad text habits in your emails it will scream to the compiler "Next". Go ahead and do some Google research on "Good email etiquette" if you're still unsure. The risks of having bad emailing tendencies are obvious but here are a few:
Your email gets sent automatically to the junk/spam folder
The music compiler will block your email address
You'll indirectly be blacklisted from the radio station
So do the right thing for the sake of your music career and invest 10-20 minutes learning about correct email etiquette.
2. Research & Find The FAQ section
Now that you have your email etiquette in order, the next point of order (just thought of parliament) is to do research on the radio stations you want to submit to. This is important as you don't want to waste your time as well as the music compiler's time. You want to submit your music to radio stations that at the very least have a show that showcases your type of music.
Once you have found enough information that tells you that your music will sit well within the playlist of the radio station that you've chose, head over to the FAQ section of the radio station. All the SABC stations have a very similar format for the FAQ section. In this section you want to get the submission procedure for the radio station. Some radio stations prefer links while others want a mp3 attachment. There are also other details that radio stations require for you to even be considered for playlisting. Make sure you submit all the information that is stated in the FAQ section.
3. Registration and Requirements
Once you've gone through one or two radio station FAQs, you may have noticed that some of them require SAMRO registration and others even require ISRC numbers. SAMRO is a performing rights organization that distributes performing rights royalties. What are performing right:
"Performing Rights belong to the person or people who own the music. That’s music composers, lyricists or music publishers who wrote, created or produced it. They earn royalties when the music is either performed in public, or broadcast on mediums such as TV or radio. And even when it’s used in a telephone message service or played in an elevator - SAMRO makes sure that playback time is payback time. " - taken from samro.org.za
I grabbed that straight from SAMRO's website. Do yourself a favour and go through their website to familiarize yourself with all the possible rights you're entitled to. These rights are how you make money and getting your bread. SAMRO is the minimum requirement by all SABC radio station. If you've registered already and need some help with the online portal, get in touch with me.
4. Quality Music
This point should go without saying. Send music that you feel competes with international standards or at least with the radio stations current playlist. Ask friends and/or neutral people to listen to your track.
The key thing when it comes to asking for feedback is to ask the person you're sending your music to to evaluate something that you are worried about. Simply saying "tell me what you think" is not enough. Ask them "what do you think of my lyrics?","how does the mix sounds?" or something broader like "my beat is too plain, any ideas on how I can make it more exciting?" this way you're forcing the listener to listen more critically and you'll get feedback that you can use to improve your music.
Sensor your music and make sure it's not too long. Radio singles have become very short so save the lengthy tracks for your projects. Anything more that four minutes is usually not considered.
5. Follow Up After 2/3 Weeks
The art of following up is one that I'm no expert at but I do know that music compilers have a lot of music being sent to them. There is usually a sentence in the FAQs that says something along the lines of if you haven't heard anything in five weeks, consider your submission unsuccessful. So following up two weeks and four weeks afterwards. Another sneaky way I used to get on Algoa was to call the radio station and request the music compiler by first name. The name is usually on the submission email so you can use it to get a conversation with a music compiler.
Getting an interview on a radio station is all good and well but the real good stuff happens when you get playlisted. If you can say that on your music portfolio, you're on the right track to becoming an independent artist and not just a bedroom recording artist. If you have any other ideas on how you can get some time on the radio airwaves, let's have a chat on whatsapp +27 83 570 9602 or send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org