ArtsMusicOpinion

Matt Berry’s Guide To Middle-Age Charm and Radio Popularity


“How can I get my song on the radio?”

As music director of Calgary alternative rock station X92.9, this has to be the question I get asked the most. And to be honest, if you literally just want a song played a couple of times, it’s really easy. Just send a WAV file, and a quick bio about yourself to yours truly and we can make it happen. But if you want more than that, these are a couple options.

I would like to preface these tips by saying music doesn’t need to be your career or even your part-time job. You don’t need to be a platinum-selling artist, or have three million streams on Spotify to be valued as an artist. You can do music for fun, and a few free beers. I love that and the local scene needs this. However, if you have a goal of being a mainstream artist then here’s a few ways to help.

Let’s start on the free options you have to get yourself Xposed (this is funny because I host a Canadian indie-focused show on Sundays at 9 p.m. on X92.9 called Xposure).

At your fingertips you have at least five social media apps that you can promote yourself on for nothing — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Tik Tok. All of these platforms are built around one thing: content.

Each of these platforms allow artists to showcase their music to people who never would’ve found it on their own. You can build a fan base by creating engaging videos with your music as the background, performing your music in your living room, sharing stories, and being authentic to people seeing and hearing you for the first time. There is so much you can put out there to get people to follow your fan pages, or stream your music. There’s so much more you can do than just copy and pasting a tour poster and putting it on an Instagram story. Be consistent with marketing yourself and fans will follow. Because it’s free, it is a lot of work, but if it was easy then everyone would be doing it. 

Your other option costs money. Real money. It involves hiring a music promoter — which can be a person, or a team hired to do relationship building in the industry. They can send your songs to Spotify to get on those editorial playlists, they get in touch with music directors for commercial radio, campus radio, and satellite radio, and overall, are hired to hype you. If anyone is gonna believe in your music and champion you, it’s gonna be the promoter who needs to do it. When you succeed, they succeed. 

While none of these tips guarantee anything, here’s something I can promise you: if you work hard on your songwriting, create music that you love, have fun with it, and most importantly, don’t be an asshole, then amazing things will happen.

Success is subjective, and I wish you all the luck.

Matt Berry is music director at X92.9, and host of Xposure. If you see him out after midnight at a show please do not drunkenly tell him about your band. Just send him an email to matt@x929.ca.

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