Broadcasting, The Music Scout (Alternative)

The Music Scout (Alternative) - May 2023

Author: Jay Goldberg

Last month I wrote about a way to potentially bring in more listeners, and specifically more
listeners with common characteristics to your station who could attract sponsors and/or
advertisers. It is a show where indie/small label artist songs compete for song of the (week,
month, year). The key was having a prize the artists want to win and only allowing people
actually listening to the show to vote. For more info about this, read last month’s
column. Now the continuation as promised (and be sure to check out the five songs at the end of this write-up).

First up is how to control that only listeners’ votes count. Of course you could have listeners
sign up as members of your station, and include their member ID in their vote, but many
won’t do that. Here are alternative steps you can take:

  1. During the show, monitor the locations of your listeners (you can do that from your
    Live365 dashboard during the show).
  2. Have a 30-minute window after the show for voting.
  3. Use Survey Planet (the free version is fine – to record the
    votes since they give you the location of the voter.
  4. Compare the locations of the voters to the locations of listeners (you may have to check
    Google Maps in case each one records a location differently).
  5. Communicate to your listeners that by location you can box unknown listener A to
    unknown voter A and only matched votes count. And if you want, that ballot box
    stuffing will result in the elimination of that song from the contest.

While exposure and increased airplay are valuable rewards for the contest, there are ways you can make the prize even more valuable for the winner. One way is through press releases, but I’ll save that for next month. But here are other reasonably affordable prizes you can add:

  1. Sites offering promotional services for indie artists (e.g. AirPlay Direct, Haulix). AirPlay Direct offers one year of what I call “passive promotion” (either the artist has to send out their information or radio stations have to find their music by searching the site) for $50, which is a nice prize. Haulix offers one month of “passive promotion” for $22. There are a few genres AirPlay Direct doesn’t cover (e.g. metal, rap) but they do cover alternative and mainstream rock. I don’t know of any limitations by genre on Haulix. Both sites have proactive campaigns as well, but the costs are beyond me mentioning here to use as prizes. However, as you will see in a bit, both would work with my “marketing co-op” in offering meaningful prizes for cross-station contests.
  2. Sites offering marketing services to indie artists such as Tunecore ($19.99 or $29.99 per year), DistroKid ($22.99 or $39.99 per year), CD Baby ($9.99 or $49.99 per release). Keep in mind if a winning artist is already with Tunecore or Distrokid they’ll get their next year free. You can also offer the higher-priced option, which could be an upgrade for them. For CD Baby, they pay per release so this can be for the winning song or, if that is already paid for, their next release.
  3. Sites offering song submissions to major industry entities such as Avenuear ($9.99 per month)

Be sure to arrange these prizes as gift certificates so that your payment information isn’t on file for renewals.

I have also been writing about wanting to start a “marketing co-op” of between 12 and 25 stations that play alternative, new wave, mainstream rock, and/or adult alternative (I also recommend stations with other genres come together and do the same thing). Both AirPlay Direct and Haulix offer a free one-month trial for indie artists. We can add value to the contest winners in the “co-op” by recommending artists with winning songs sign up for a free trial, and let you know when their song is available for downloading. This will allow their song to be added to the other stations in the “co-op.” Basically, this becomes a legal way to share the winning songs among the member stations increasing the value of the win for the artists, and shares the task of finding excellent new songs among the member stations. In addition, I talked with both AirPlay Direct and Haulix and if we run cross-station contests among all stations in the “co-op,” they are very open to providing prizes, and those prizes could contain a proactive promotion for the ultimate winner. AirPlay Direct gave me some potential specifics, and while nothing is set in stone so I cannot write about them here, what we talked about was an impressive award for the contest winner. When the time comes, I will explore if the award could be an album from the “co-op” with each station’s winning song on the album rather than for one overall winner.

The last topic I mentioned I would cover this month is what specific types of companies would benefit from being associated with a radio show where indie artists are among the listeners. Last month I wrote about three different types of advertising done by companies. But for branding and/or association ads, you can look to companies that help indie artists sell music, companies that promote indie artists, record labels, companies that sell music equipment, musical instrument manufacturing companies, online concert venues, etc. And remember, since branding and association are the keys, include promoting the advertiser in your social media posts with their brand message or a statement like “XXXX company is proud to support indie artist radio (or programs).”

Now onto the music.

“Mirage” by George Finizio

When California native George Finizio originally wrote this song it was about mirages in life; for example, in relationships, in business. However, after speaking with him recently he pointed out how mirages have now expanded to include what people sometimes post on social media; not everything is as it seems.

“State of Mind” by Circle the Wolves

Canadian band Circle the Wolves is a metal band, but this song clearly crosses over to alternative rock. Lead singer Michelle Johnson wrote this song about the emotional breakdowns people have who stay in bad relationships because they need to deny the type of relationship they are truly in.

“White Rabbit” by Modern Monsters

Modern Monsters is a rock band from California who count Faith No More and Alice in Chains among their influences. And that certainly shows in their hard-edged cover of this classic Jefferson Airplane song. I love it when bands make covers their own and Modern Monsters certainly did that here.

“It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” by Pandora’s Box

No, this isn’t a cover of Meat Loaf and Marion Raven’s song; this Jim Steinman song was originally recorded by Pandora’s Box. The band consisted of four women, including Ellen “Paradise on the Dashboard Light and Night Court” Foley, and Steinman. I think it’s the best version of the song.

“Remember Yesterday” by John Miles

Remember the song “Music” (“Music was my first love…”). That is John Miles, who may be better known for his work with The Alan Parson Project. This song was a minor hit in the U.K. but is relatively unknown in the U.S. and Canada. 70s stations; rectify that.

All “The Music Scout (Alternative)” content rights reside with the author.

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