UNDER THE LABEL
Radio Promoters, Regional Promotion Managers
Secure radio airplay and playlist placement to grow an artist’s audience
The promotion department (also called the radio department) takes care of promoting the releases to radio stations all over the country. Their goal is to get new radio adds and spins across different radio stations to bump a song on the charts and ensure its commercial success. To do so, they work closely with radio stations to keep them aware of the latest hit song at any time and pitch new tracks, records, and artists.
Since the streaming era, they also got involved in the promotion of songs on streaming platforms. Similar to what they do for radio, they promote new releases to curated playlists, both editorial, playlists curated by editors at Spotify or the DSPs (ex: Today's Top Hits, Rap Caviar, or BEATstrumentals) and user-generated, playlists created and curated by individual listeners or companies.
Finally, the promotion department gets involved in the decision process to choose which song is going to be a single. They also help out with the routing and timeline of the promo tour, especially when scheduling interviews at local radio stations.
REGIONAL PROMOTION MANAGER
Assigned to a certain region, the RPM is an expert on all radio stations. They are in charge of maintaining the relationships. They do not work at the office but more independently in their region, and travel a lot to meet Program Directors.
They market new songs to program directors, music directors, and DJs by relying on a network of professional connections at radio stations across the country.
TEAMS BY GENRE OF MUSIC
Inside the promotion department, you can find teams mandated to one musical format. Some representatives may handle only pop, rock, country, or r&b radio stations (a title example can be ‘Head of Urban’).
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF THE HEAD OF PROMOTION
Promotion @Columbia Records & Promotion @Atlantic Records
THE TASKS OF THE PROMOTION DEPARTMENT
Whom they work with and what they do
- Keep them in touch of the new titles coming
- Schedule interviews with local radio stations during promo tours
(Also called Music Curators)
- Pitch new songs and new artists to be played
MUSIC DIRECTOR (MD)
- Pitch new songs and new artists to independent curators who have their own playlists (≠ editorial playlists)
example: Sound Plate
- Pitch songs to the editorial playlists
MARKETING & SALES
Work hand in hand with these departments to strategize the marketing and promotion strategy together
MANAGER & ARTIST
- Choose the singles
- Strategize how to turn songs into hits (which radio to push the song in - Hot AC, Urban, etc.)
Very good skill for international students who have a natural
understanding of the consumer behavior of people in their home country (popular genres, the way people listen to music, etc.)
Analysis of a lot of radio and streaming data
Specific to Promotion
In promotion, depending on your level you can stay almost all the time in the office (inters, assistant) or you can spend most of your time visiting radio stations (especially Regional Project Managers).
Is a degree required?
Is a degree recommended?
The recommended majors for the international department are marketing, data analytics, and management.
Originating from a time when Billboard Magazine had the practice of putting a bullet sign in front of chart entries that have quickly moved from one position to another. A bullet is an additional sign put in front of a song's name in the charts. This means that the song has gained forward momentum, either through positive radio adds (radio stations are adding your song to their list) or and increased rotation (the number of times a song is played in a day).
A Radio Add means that a radio station has added your song to their playlist.
In broadcasting, rotation is the repeated airing of a limited playlist of songs on the radio. We define rotation with two characteristics. The first is how often a song gets played: light (once every hour) or medium/heavy (multiple times an hour). The second is the time of day at which the song is playing. For example: during off-hours (9 pm-4 am) or high traffic hours (during the day, when people are on their way to work).
When measuring airplay on the radio, the number of times a song is played is measured in spins. Spins are very important for the label as they are one way to get a song to breakthrough. The more spins a song gets on the radio, the higher it will climb on the charts.