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Radio Airplay 101 - Investors, Part 3 of 3

Here are the amounts of money to ask for. Again, the preferred angle is to convince the investors that they are investing in building your awareness (and charting), and that they will benefit by being attached to you. It is too difficult to try to generate a profit (and guarantee your investor a return) on your very first release. And remember, we are talking here of commercial regular rotation (10 to 100 spins/week/station) on well known commercial stations... NOT specialty or mixshow, NOR non-commercial, college, public, web, NPR, or other campaigns. Here we go...

AAA and Smooth Jazz projects have the advantage of requiring the least amount to get started (and to chart)...about $15,000 for entry level. These campaigns are designed to get the smaller and medium markets spinning and charting. Don't expect to hear it in NY, LA, Chicago, San Francisco, Philly, Dallas, Detroit, DC, Houston, Boston, Miami, Atlanta, Seattle, Minneapolis, San Diego, Phoenix, St. Louis, Baltimore, Pittsburgh or Tampa. These are major markets, and they are not entry level.

Campaigns above entry level in AAA and Smooth Jazz are $20K to $50K, But you still have to begin in the smaller and medium markets... which are selected to get you on the bottom of the pertinent chart. The major markets (and higher charting) will come about when they see enough action in the smaller markets, and after you have decided to fund this larger campaign.

Next up are AC and Country. These formats can also be started for about $15K, but due to the large number of stations in these formats, this will be for unrated and non-charting markets only. A better campaign in these formats would be $30K to $50K, and this would move you into the small charting markets. A serious starting campaign (for a new artist and label) in AC or Country would start around $80K, and would still focus on small and a few medium markets. The major markets, however, will not be had in these formats until you go to a much higher level... about $150K, and have already succeeded at the lower levels.

Next are Rock, Alternative, and Urban stations. Since there are really no "small" versions of these stations (almost all are in rated markets), and, since they sell a lot of records, they are expensive campaigns to work. A minimum of $20K is required, and again this is not for the major markets. $50K is a more serious attempt for the small and medium markets, and $100K is a serious amount for medium markets that may move you into a few major markets if things go well.

Pop is the most expensive format to work, because it sells the most records, and because (again) there are really no non-rated markets to work (like there are with AC and Country)... all the stations are in Arbitron rated markets.

$30K would be a minimum to get charting and spinning in the smaller markets. $100K would be a good attempt at both small and medium markets, and $200K would be a hefty attempt at these same small and medium's. The major markets (and higher costs) are best put off until you build a base first.

Keep in mind that all of these costs are radio-only; they do not include any manufacturing, publicity (press), retail promotion, booking promotion, video promotion (or production), much less any payment to the artist. But these radio campaigns do work; they are predictable, and they can put you into the same league as the lessor-known artists at the major labels. (Creed used this path of promotion, and Ani Difranco still does.)

Here are your rough cost breakdowns for the above numbers, which will vary depending on format:

30% Independent Promotion Firm
30% Radio Publication Ads
40% Station Promotions

This would cover one song for up to six months, but for at least three months.


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