In the afrobeats industry, radio is still a key medium for promoting your music. And unfortunately, it’s a pay to play game; there’s almost no way around it (if you do find one, please let me know in the comments section). If you’re planning on promoting your music through radio and you’re on a tight budget, here are four things you need to consider before diving into paying for radio airplay.
1. Stick to one city
It’s almost always more effective to concentrate your radio promotion efforts on one city. It will help you build awareness in that city first, which will make it easier to promote yourself in another city. If you’re unsure of which city to choose, pick the city that you grew up in. If you grew up in Lagos or Abuja, choose one city from Enugu, Port-Harcourt, Benin or Ibadan. These cities are less costly, but also have a large population of people that actually listen to the radio.
2. Try to avoid promoting in Lagos
Lagos is ridiculously expensive and very competitive. As such, there is barely any room for negotiation with radio stations there, and most of their OAPs are assholes (technically, they don’t have a choice but to be assholes). A N200k budget for radio promotion is peanuts in Lagos, but a massive budget in almost any other city. So if it is your first time promoting a song on radio, don’t start with Lagos. Start with a city that has a decent population, but better radio promotion packages. My recommendations are Port-Harcourt, Enugu, Benin and Ibadan.
3. Do your research
Spend some time finding out the rates and packages of the different radio stations in the city you’ve chosen. Try and work with least 3 different radio stations and make sure that they are among the top 10 in your city of choice. If they are among the top stations in your city, there is a high chance that other smaller stations will pick up the song and add it to their playlist. Knowing the radio stations you want to work with and their rates will help you come up with a reasonable budget, which leads me to my last point on this list…
4. HAVE A STRICT BUDGET!
I can’t stress this enough. You need to have a set amount you want to spend on radio airplay and make sure you DO NOT go above it. Radio promotion can get very expensive very quickly, and, unlike most western countries, you don’t get any form of royalty payments from most of the Nigerian radio stations. So, have a realistic budget, spend within that budget, and once your budget is exhausted, stop spending and move on to something else.
I hope these suggestions were helpful for you. I can’t speak for any other African country, but in Nigeria, radio promotion is still very effective for building brand awareness and getting the word out about your song. If you think I left some things out, or you would like me to discuss a certain topic, please let me know in the comments section. Be sure to subscribe as well to get notified when a new post is published. Keep working and I'll have a new blog post ready for you next week Friday!