Heartland Entertainment

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Heartland Entertainment is...

National Record Promotion
Promoting artists and groups to radio

New Music Weekly
Tracking the hits!

St. Cecilia & Grace Antonio Music (BMI)
Publishing for film, TV and independent music


Independent Artists Can Promote Themselves Better Than Ever

As independent record promoters, we have had the privilege to get an inside look at the music industry through the eyes of the radio industry. Talking to more than 400 radio stations a week gives you a good perspective of what it is really like on "the other side." We hear their problems, troubles at the station or in the industry, and get insight as to what radio is really looking for.

The # 1 question that we are asked by up- and- coming groups or artists is," Do I have to be on a major label to get radio airplay?" The answer is, "No!" Since the start of the rap music revolution, stations have been deluged with independent releases. It soon became impossible to keep up with which act was actually attached to a sub-label of a company like Warner or Columbia. Hits were broken on some acts that had no distribution deal in place. Music and Program Directors threw up their hands and went back to the basics, relying on the so-called time tested adage, "if it sounds like a hit, then weíll play it."

As promoters, we are very seldom asked which label the record is on. That only comes to play when there is a need for chart listings for the trade publications. One of the ways to break unsigned bands and new artists on independent labels is through secondary market radio stations. These "starter" stations are critical in order to get airplay for the less known. If the sound order to get airplay for the less known. If the sound fits their particular format, then we as promotion people can "open doors" at a number of station across the country. Once we get enough of these smaller station (amounting to over 250 across the U.S.), we can then graduate into the BDS and R&R stations.

Larry Weir with Mighty Mo Reders (Verve Records) & Producer/Engineer Tom Weir

Larry Weir and Marty Seidel from the Dixie Chicks at a recent CMA event. NRP's Masika Swain, Jay Leno and Larry Weir on the set of NBC's Tonight Show.

BDS represents the monitored stations that, via computer, can detect each time the record is actually played on the air. Both BDS and R&R (a trade publication) are considered "top of the line" in market reporting and more times than most favor major label activity. Most of these station will not respond to new independent product unless it "has a story." That is why we need to build a station count in the smaller markets in order to get these monitored stations to pay attention to what we have going on . If you are not one of the "chosen few" that have a deal with the majors, this is one of the only ways to try and make it happen, a way to have some control of your destiny. Even top labels have had to work these smaller markets in order to get something going for a new act.

As of late, however, many of the major labels have started to ignore small market radio. Most of them are favoring the top 100 markets in the country. The smaller stations have started to feel a lack of support from the majors and have started to turn to the independent labels and promotion people for product and service. Many of our secondary stations have been "cut of" and donít get any product or attention from them at all. A lot of them are furious about this and are starting to pull some major artists off their playlists. It had gotten so bad that some Music and Program Directors have had to go down to their local record store and by the CDís that they need to play on the air. This had opened up an opportunity to get other product on the air that they didnít have to go out and buy.

The #2 most asked question for us is, "Why get radio airplay when I have no distribution?" It is our position that building a strong station count first is the way to give you the ammunition you need to get a good distribution deal. You are then able to show a major label exactly where you record is being played by station call letter, city and state. This lets them know what territories they need to focus on immediately and it puts a sense of urgency in the mix to getting a deal in place. In the interim, you can always work out a nominal consignment deal with a number of independent record stores in just about any particular market place.

Many major labels have people in the A&R departments that do nothing but check small market playlists from all over the country to see what is starting to "break." The bottom line for most of radio is that if the product is good and it is promoted and serviced properly to the right formats, it will get played.

Heartland Entertainment
Ph: 323-658-7449  Fax: 323-658-7699
137 N Larchmont #500 - Los Angeles, CA 90004

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