So, here are Chris Juergensen's real-world tips on self-marketing your music to podcasters:
Marketing your Music Through Podcasting
Podcasters are looking for podsafe music for their podcasts and this offers you a cost effective method to market your music. Podsafe music, by the way, is music that they can legally play without having to pay a performance royalty. Keep in mind, by offering your music royalty free to a podcaster, this does not mean that your music is royalty free for anything and everything, only for podcasters. Being signed to Magnatune, your music can already be used free of charge by podcasters but there are some simple steps that you can take to help get your music included in podcast programming. With a little bit of time an effort you may find yourself being promoted all over the world.
What is a Podcast?
First off, let me explain a little bit about what a Podcast is. Podcasts have only been around for a few years yet millions of people have heard one. Basically podcasters create a thirty-minute to one-hour internet radio program that can be downloaded and listened to at the listener's leisure. A constant internet connection is not necessary. A podcast can be listened to directly from ones computer or from his or hers iPod.
As I said, podcasters are looking for podsafe music, music that can be broadcast without having to pay a royalty. One would assume that both the paperwork and the financial obligations of playing music that is not royalty free is a hindrance. Regardless, podcasters are not looking for typical commercial music. They are looking for new music, music that their listeners have not heard before. Let's face it; if the listener wanted to hear platinum selling hits, they would prefer FM radio. They want your music but may not know where to find it.
The Podsafe Music Network
The main site that offers royalty free music to podcasters is the Podsafe Music Network. You can upload your music free of charge and when a podcaster finds it, listens to it and decides that he want to play it, can download it and use it on his podcast. He will also most likely link to your site, a form of proper internet etiquette. I would suggest that you go to the Podsafe Music Network site and upload your music as soon as possible.
Although the Podsafe Music Network offers a very valuable service free of charge, there is one drawback for the podcaster, and this is where Magnatune comes into the picture. You see, any artist regardless of the quality of his or hers music can use the Podsafe Music Network as their distribution tool. What this means is that the podcaster has to sift through a lot of music to find what he feels appropriate for his podcast. In my various communications with podcasters all over the world, I generally get the sense that they are frustrated with the amount of effort it takes to find music that they feel works for their podcasts. This is why Magnatune is perfect for podcasters.
Magnatune and the Podcaster
Magnatune has taken care of this problem for the podcaster. As you know, you as a Magnatune artist were picked from hundreds of submissions. John Buckman filtered his artists to make sure a minimum standard quality exists. Feel confident that your music is high enough quality for the podcaster. I must stress however, as an independent artist you must be proactive in your efforts, do not wait to be approached, do your own research and submissions.
First you must locate podcasts that work well with your music. I can't stress this enough; you must get to know the podcast and podcaster by listening a few times at least. If you like the podcast, know the podcaster by name and feel confident your music works well with the podcast, you are ready to submit. You can locate podcasts by a few different methods. One is by simply doing a search on your favorite search engine for; "your genre + podcasts," in my case: "Blues + Podcasts." This will give you plenty of places to start listening. You can also search podcast directories like:
Submitting your music
As an independent artist you should know by now, unlike what I call the "commercial music business," things get done on a personal level regarding the "independent music business." We like to work with each other on a first name basis, like making friends and need and want to include these friends in our business network. This goes for the podcaster also. After you find his or her site, listen to a few podcasts, if you decide to offer your music you should do it by e-mailing him first. Make sure to read the submission policy if one is available on the podcaster's site. Take the time and search for it. If the podcaster specifically requests a CD, send one. I have found that unlike commercial radio, most podcasters will be perfectly satisfied with a high quality MP3 but don't assume such. When you are ready to submit your music, follow these guidelines in your e-mail:
- Include his name; you will most likely have to listen to the podcast to make sure. "To Whom it may Concern" works fine for the "commercial music business" but not here.
- Explain who you are and what your music is about.
- Explain that you are signed with Magnatune and that your music is free of charge to him for his podcast. Give him the login information for downloading your music from magnatune. Explain that he can download MP3s or WAV files. If you don't know the login information for your music, e-mail Magnatune and get it. Include it in the e-mail.
- Explain to him that other Magnatune artists are also available free of charge to him and that all the artists are hand picked from submissions. I actually suggest a few artists other than myself.
- Offer to link to his site form yours and to include any podplay in your newsletters.
- Attach an MP3 also. He is more likely to listen to this first before deciding whether or not to actually download your entire CD. If you don't have an MP3, download it yourself from Magnatune using the same login information as above.
What you should expect
I received prompt and courteous replies from every podcaster I submitted my music to. Yes, every single one. I am confidant that if I sent a CD and letter to every commercial radio station in the United Sates, I would still be waiting for replies that would never come. And have been included in every podcast that I have submitted to, with the exception of one (who may include me in a future podcast).
If the podcaster plays your music, thank him from the bottom of your heart in a follow up e-mail. Remember, podcasters and independent musicians must work hand in hand for both to be successful so treat the podcaster in a respectful manner and value your relationship with him.