How to get your music played on podcasts

Randy Chertkow & Jason Feehan – DiscMakers (Edited)

 

Podcasts offer opportunities to get your music played. But the best ones to

submit music to aren’t necessarily music-related podcasts, which get buried

with submissions.

As you know, podcasts are audio shows available for fans via their devices on

the Internet. Because fans often subscribe to hear each new episode as they

come out, many podcasts end up getting dedicated listenerships, some with

thousands or even hundreds of thousands of listeners.

 

 

 

Podcasts are an excellent way to get your music into new ears and gain fans.

Why?  Because there aren’t as many barriers to getting your music

played.They’re also a great place to submit music, even if you’re just starting

out.

Pros & Cons

  • On the plus side, there’s a universe of podcasts about every topic you can

  • imagine. As an audio format, there’re plenty of podcasts that like to play

  • songs in the middle of the episode.(midroll)  Many are informal, so it might

  • just take an email to get yourself played 

  • On the minus side, this method of getting heard doesn’t pay royalties. They

  • “pay” you in attribution and plugging your songs and merch. This should be

  • done within the podcast as well as links in the description text. (You might

  • be able to earn a commission or generate an ongoing license fee by creating

  • custom music for podcasts). 

 Still, if you’re starting out, you’re unlikely to make much revenue in royalties at

first, and your bigger issue is to get a bigger fanbase that will buy merch, support

you via Patreon, and come to your live shows.

Four types of podcast 

There are many music-based podcasts, each usually focused on a particular

genre or style of music. But another type you might try are local podcasts in

your city or region. It may be easier to get played on those shows because

fewer musicians are submitting to them. 

**Note – many music podcasts charge musicians to get their music on their show,

and it’s questionable if it’s worth it to spend that money when there are so many

other free options available for getting heard.

  • Music podcasts. 

Most podcasts have a homepage and music podcasts will almost always

include a submission link for musicians. Some are pay-for-play, and you should

be a bit skeptical of any that do this

*We suggest targeting regional or city-based podcasts for music because they

are inclined to feature local artists.

  • Podcast talk shows. 

The majority of podcasts are not music related, instead, they’re talk shows.

However, all of them can play music and are excellent targets since many

have very large audiences. 

Most talk-show podcasts are informally run and happy to play music that

matches the topic they’re covering. An email with a high-quality version of

one of your songs can get your music added to a show and played for their

large audience. 

**Go through your songs and see which ones match a podcast’s theme or topic,

especially if you have lyrics that relate. If you create instrumental music, match

the mood with the type of podcast.

Podcast themes, beds, and bumpers.

Podcasts need incidental audio, just like radio shows do. This includes theme

songs, beds (background music to talk over), and bumpers (audio snippets

played in between segments). You might get commissioned to write music for

them or license songs you’ve already written for their use.

Your podcast. 

There’s no reason you can’t run your own podcast to highlight your music.

You can have a music podcast or make a talk show related to your music.

 

Prep steps to get your music played

MP3s & WAVs. 

You’ll need high-quality, mastered, high-bitrate MP3s and WAVs of your

music ready to send to these outlets.

**Since podcasts are MP3s, give them a high-quality WAV version of your

song

There’s nothing worse than hearing your song garbled because the MP3 you

sent them got re-encoded as an MP3 a second time.

Readable intro bullets. 

To make it easy on the podcaster to promote your name, music, and links,

create a one- or two-sentence intro with that information so that they

can read it during the podcast when they talk about the song. *If your name is

hard to pronounce, give them a phonetic spelling.

Copy-and-paste description text. 

Go one step further by providing the podcaster copy-and-paste text for

their podcast description. Your text should include:

  • your song title 

  • artist name

  • links to your website 

  • where it can be streamed or purchased. 

Keep it short, but make it intriguing so people will want to click on it.

Simple tracking system (spreadsheet)

You’ll need to keep track of who, where, and when you sent your music and

supporting material

– (press/media materials such as a fact sheet and your bio). 

**A simple spreadsheet works fine such as Google Sheets (which is free).

How to make money

If you create incidental audio for the podcaster, such as a theme song, beds,

or bumpers, you can try and negotiate a commission or license fee. 

As for royalties, most podcasts will not generate any, even though,

technically, podcasts should trigger a mechanical royalty. 

Some podcasts are also posted to YouTube or Facebook Video and, if you’ve

added yourself to their AdShare system, it can be picked up and will

generate some video royalties. 

How to get played

Once you have everything prepared, here’s how you can get yourself played

on podcasts.

Podcast talk shows

Although the webpage for these podcasts will usually have a “contact us” link,

they probably won’ have music submission instructions because they don’t

normally play music. 

Ironically, these make them better targets because they may be happy to

hear from artists who make music aligned with the topics they cover. 

  • Match your lyrics or themes with the podcast’s content and offer the song

  • for their show. 

  • Choose podcasts with larger listenerships if you can, since a single

  • placement can get you in front of tens of thousands of listeners!

Podcast themes, beds, and bumpers.

You’ll likely be making these opportunities yourself by reaching out directly to

podcasters and asking them if they are looking for a theme song or incidental

music. 

If you want to make yourself available generally, you can advertise your

services on sites like Fiverr and Upwork as well on the many forums where

podcasters talk about podcast production and seek help and advice.

Your podcast

Naturally, for your own podcast, you just need to find places within your

show to play your music. The “submission” comes from submitting your

podcast to as many podcast directories as possible so you can get new

listeners and promote the podcast.

Make a list of targeted podcasts to submit to:

If you don’t have podcasts in mind, try searching Stitcher, Podbay, Spotify,

or the Apple Podcasts Directory in iTunes.

Submit your music to your targeted list

Once you’ve done your research, completed your target list, and updated

your spreadsheet, it’s time to start emailing and submitting. Don’t forget to

add the dates of where and when you submitted to your spreadsheet.

Keep tabs of the submissions

After submitting, keep track of the responses in your spreadsheet. Some are

automated systems, but if a person gets back to you, be sure to use good PR

techniques, like being politely persistent, to increase the likelihood of being

played.

Set up an automated alert

Make sure to create search alerts with your artist name and the name of the

songs that are part of your podcast campaign to track placement and plays.

You can do this with services like Google Alerts.

What to do once you’re played

Share on social media. 

  • As always, when you see that you’ve been played, share the news with

  • your fans on social media. Podcasts love getting mentioned because it

  • ends up cross-promoting their show.

  • Send thank-yous and update your spreadsheet to include these

  • contacts. 

  • Don’t forget to send a thank you to the podcaster and keep in touch with

  • them going forward. You may even want to send them more songs

  • Ladder up and out. 

  • When you get played, be sure to publicize it and use your success as a

  • reason to reach out to anyone else who hasn’t responded or played you.

  • Provide proof people like and play your music.

Also, use it as a trigger to reach out to new opportunities, along with links to

proof of coverage. Each play you get builds momentum and can be enough to

convince others to give your music a spin, which grows your audience and

your name recognition. Then, the next time you drop a new track, your

universe of contacts is bigger than it was before.