As one of our popular Marketplace apps, iPluggers provides a reliable and cost-effective platform for worldwide digital radio promotion. And as we know, radio promotion can accomplish great things for a budding artist. To highlight the benefits of his app, we sat down (virtually) with Founder and A&R Head, Marvin Kuijs, to pick his brain. Check out the interview below, and, if you’re an Orchard client, venture into the Marketplace and try it on for size!
Hi Marvin, thanks for doing this interview with us. iPluggers has been available in The Orchard Marketplace for quite some time now. When did you actually start iPluggers and how did you get the idea to offer musicians radio promotion via a digital system?
Thanks for having me, I’m glad to shed more light on the inner working of iPluggers.
For musicians, the most important way to get heard and get more fans is airplay. But traditional radio promotion is a major investment that is not affordable for every musician or label and certainly independent musicians cannot afford traditional plugging in these times.
For our latest Marketplace case study, we invited the folks at iPluggers to share some success stories from their users. From Latin to Pop, Electronic to Classical, these artists have all seen great results with the service. Read up below, and be sure to check iPluggers out in The Orchard Marketplace. Find out more about them, including special pricing for The Orchard’s clients, on their One-Sheet.
iPluggers is a digital plugging platform, servicing over 30,000 radio stations worldwide. Artists and labels have successfully used iPluggers to get airplay in countries all over the world, further strengthening their fanbase.
We have asked a few artists to share their stories with us.
Bongomatik Genre: Latin / Pop / Jazz Background: JJA Jazz Awards nominee
We choose iPluggers for our radio promotion due to its enormous reach and network: iPluggers spreads our music to radio stations we could have never reached by ourselves.
Before we started looking into digital radio promotion, we hired a traditional radio promoter which would promote our single to radio stations in The Netherlands. Costs were approx. €2500. Although we gained some airplay from his activities, we found that with traditional radio promotion, getting insight in the results is not always that easy.
When we started working with iPluggers, the costs of radio promotion of a single is about 10% of what we’d normally pay, we have direct insight in the results and we reach radio stations worldwide instead of being limited to our own country.
We would recommend that artists who have the resources to pay for traditional radio promotion do both traditional and digital radio promotion. Every band or record label should consider using iPluggers for their (digital) radio promotion: they just do what they promise to do and the communication with them is extremely smooth.
In addition to radio promotion, we make active use of our social media networks like Twitter and Facebook. Additionally, we also send our album for reviews to the press (both online and printed music media).
I get asked about release plans and timelines quite a lot and have put together a fair few in my time, so thought I would share and outline some basic thoughts of mine as relating to the self-releasing musician or band. Keep in mind, every release project is different — what might work for one band may not work for another — however you should hopefully find most of the below tips relevant. Of course there is much more you can do and tailor accordingly, but this should be a good starting point.
An important question to ask yourself first and foremost is how you want to be portrayed, whether this is your first or your fifth release. There are great blogs out there about building up your “brand” and I highly encourage you to look them up. Consistency and quality should be the overriding factors that shape your campaign — this applies to all content, messaging, sales, as well as all live and promotional activities. Please do yourself a favour and read up on all best practices for Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube (or other preferred sites). There is a wealth of great information out there.
4-6 MONTHS BEFORE RELEASE
In my experience, everything in the DIY world takes more time (for the most part). This may not be true for everyone, but when budgets are low, resources limited and favours plentiful, delays are bound to take place. Records take longer to record, mix and master. Videos take longer to film and edit. Website work can drag on, artwork can be difficult to finalise and spec…. you get my point, so be mindful of it.
So, 4-6 months ahead of release would be a good time to:
Get your single/EP/album recorded and mixed
Start work on the artwork
Do a photo shoot
Sort out a distribution agreement: Figure out if physical distribution makes sense for you or whether digital-only is the way forward. Negotiating the right contract for you can take time and be costly if lawyers are involved, so educate yourself as much as possible prior to starting this process. There are of course routes that do not involve distributors at all but in today’s world (2013 at time of writing), having your music out on every major digital store around the world is invaluable.
Start working on consistent social media re-skins: Make sure your FB/ Twitter/YouTube channel/artist website all look visually appealing and consistent
Do you have an official site? If not, register your domain and set one up. If yes, is it up to date or does it need to be refreshed?
The name Caroline Bottomley may sound familiar to you on The Daily Rind. As Managing Director of our Marketplace partner Radar Music Videos, Caroline has already guest written for us to share the merits and best practices of her amazing platform, which connects artists and labels with talented music video directors around the world. Today, she gives us a timeline for promoting an independent single release, beginning 14 weeks from release date, and on an imaginary budget of £5,000.
A lot of promo people we talk to say artists and managers often don’t know what professionals do to promote single releases. So we asked for help from some real professionals. Then we made up an indie band with an established following and a few previous releases. We made up £5,000 to spend. And we wrote this rough guide.
14 WEEKS FROM RELEASE
Commission single artwork, even if it’s for download only — Designer: £300
Commission artist photos — Photographer: £500
TIP: “Commission nice/weird/cool COLOUR band photos, the brighter the better.” –David Laurie, SiC Records
Start social media engagement — Digital Promotions: £500 – £1,000
NOTE: Social media work continues from here up to and after release date.
12 WEEKS FROM RELEASE
Begin promoting. Release advance copies/links to share to monthly press, for reviews, i.e. Q, Mojo, Clash, Uncut. Start with sending out a simple press release announcing the single and put the single into context, i.e. is it from an album or a stand-alone track; and will there be associated shows? — Engage PR: £500 – £1,500
TIP: “There are very few print outlets for singles, a couple of dozen really. It’s ALL about online for singles.” –David Laurie, SiC Records
NOTE: Press work continues from this point up to and after release date.
TIP: “The press release needs to be straightforward and attention-grabbing. ‘Artist releases great new song/album’ just isn’t enough. What’s your story? What’s special about you/the song/album and why?” –Gillian, Million PR and Naked Press.
Engage Agent: 10% of gross
Engage Radio and Video Plugger: £500 – £1,500 Note from The Orchard: We also have a radio plugging partner app in the Marketplace: iPluggers.
Plugging — it’s a word we often hear in relation to promoting something, recommending it, giving it your stamp of approval. iPluggers does just that for your music, and it does it all around the world.
With a 100% airplay guarantee (or your money back), iPluggers provides the platform for you to pitch your music to more than 30,000 radio stations of all genres and all types, including AM, FM, satellite, internet, and more. You can create an artist profile (or online airplay kit) on which to share and promote your tunes in minutes by following the steps below:
Install iPluggers through the Marketplace on the artist of your choice, and select a profile name for your iPluggers page (typically the name of your artist or band). Enter a contact email address on which you can be reached and click Submit.
On the next page, select “add a new release for worldwide plugging.”
This is where it gets interesting. First, choose what kind of release you’ll be plugging (Single, EP or Album). Then, choose a release cover from the pre-populated drop-down menu or upload a new one. Select the title of the release, confirm the artist name and add any featuring artists if needed. Choose the tracks you’d like to promote and click Next.
Once your tracks have been imported, you can choose up to three genres you’d like to target. You also have the option to carve out territories you don’t want to plug your music to. Optionally fill out release information to give radio stations some more background on why they should plug your release and click Next.
The last step before submission is completing your track information. While The Orchard provides a handful of iPluggers’s required metadata, there will still be missing fields. To fill them out, click on Edit Track Details and go through the fields to confirm pre-populated metadata and fill out what’s missing, such as Composers/Writers, Publisher and Song Genres. Click Submit.
Now iPluggers will review your release before approving it to plug. This can take up to 5 business days, and you’ll get a notification as soon as they’ve given it the green light. Once your release has gone through iPluggers’s system, you’ll get to set a plugging date, after which all radio stations subscribed to the genre you chose to plug will receive your release. To increase the likelihood of your release getting picked up, we also recommend that you complete your Artist Profile. Many fields will already be completed thanks to the app’s integration with our API, but you’ll need to tweak it to make it just right for iPluggers.
Track your releases by clicking on the Results menu and download reports for your plugged tracks by clicking on the corresponding link. You’ll be able to track the artist, song, radio station and country as well as when said radio station downloaded your track. While iPluggers can’t track if a specific radio station has actually played the song, the likelihood is high once the song has been downloaded (because stations can preview the song on your artist profile, it’s unlikely they would download it unless they intended to play it). Furthermore, all plays will be tracked via the usual SoundExchange/CMJ/MediaBase channels.
As Next Big Sound shared recently, and against popular belief, radio spins continue to positively impact track sales. Now that you have it all laid out in simple steps, there’s no reason you shouldn’t take advantage of that extra push to bump up your sales!
See below for a more in-depth demo on how to get your music heard around the globe:
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