How To DIY Radio Promotion Using DMDS

radio promotion

How To DIY Radio Promotion Using DMDS

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Do It Yourself Radio Promotion Using DMDS

This article is essentially a “part 2” to How we got our music on commercial radio in Canada with no money. In that article I explained how we got our single on the radio within a few days of distributing it manually (via email) to about 50 music directors across Canada. We saw super-fast results and the song ended up getting added across the country. Doing it manually (emailing) is quite labourous and takes a LOT of time. Unless radio promotion is your full time job, than you may want to head to DMDS for a little assistance. This article explains how to do radio promotion using DMDS.

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What is DMDS?

DMDS (Digital Media Distribution System) delivers your music tracks and promo materials directly to the email inboxes of music programmers at radio stations in Canada and the US. It’s free to register and only takes a few moments. What they do is develop “destination packages” that are categorized by each radio format, so when you want to send your music to a certain format (in short, where your style of music fits in), you select that package, pay for it, and they instantly ship it off to those stations/contacts. They also give you the option of targeting BDS/Mediabase monitored stations (the stations where spins are monitored to create radio format charts), or sending to all stations within your format.

Essentially, they’ve done all the dirty work for you (finding radio stations that fit your music style, finding the emails of the music directors, packaged up a nice email to send to them).

How To Use DMDS

First you need to sign up and create a profile for your organization (usually a label or radio promoter – but it’s just lonely old me in this case). Signing up is free and only takes a few moments. Once you confirm your registration, you’ll want to start uploading all of your information. The links on the website to upload wouldn’t work for me, so I downloaded the DMDS app for the computer – it makes uploading your music easy and fast – and only takes a few minutes to download depending on your internet connection.

What You’ll Need

Song File (must be WAV), Song Art, Song Title, Artist, Album, UPC and ISRC Codes, Length, Genre, Composer, Track no, Disc no, Songwriter, Publisher, Producer, Contributing artists, Website, Video Link, Publicity, Copyright owners, Lyrics rating (explicity vs. non explicit), Copyright date (the date it was written), BMP, Intro and Outro (cold, fadeout, cold fade), Grid number, CANCON: Full, Partial or Non for each category of MAPL.

Make sure you upload the absolute best quality files of both the songs and your artwork.

UPC / ISRC: These codes are automatically created once you register your song for distribution. We use TuneCore – so I logged in to retrieve the codes from there. You can also get them before you upload the song for distribution. Contact your distribution service to find out how.

CANCON: In order to count as Canadian Content (which has its perks) your song must fulfill 2 of the MAPL categories. Music, Artist, Performance, Lyrics. Meaning it must have been written or recorded in Canada, or the artist must be from Canada.

How Much It Costs

DMDS pricing is dependent on the number of destinations in each package. Destination = each radio station/organization in the package. If there are multiple persons at these stations DMDS delivers to all of them. Each format costs anywhere from $50 – $600. Meaning they’ll distribute the song to all stations across Canada or US (whichever you choose) that fit that format. For example, Canada CHR/Top 40 Format costs $495, which includes 149 radio stations across the country.

List of Radio Formats and DMDS Costs

This list is directly from DMDS and describes what each format includes and how much it’ll cost to send your music to them. NOTE: AC, for example, is one format. You only need to select either 1) Full Format, or 2) Top 50. Full format includes all of the Top 50 as well. For a list of each station within each format click here.

Canada – AC (Full Format) $595
Adult Contemporary (AC) radio stations across Canada. These stations play adult oriented popular songs that are hits from other formats. With few exceptions there is no rap or rock programmed at these stations. Core artists include Michael Buble and Celine Dion, but include artists that have crossed over from the Top 40 and Hot AC stations. AC radio stations are usually the first to play Holiday Music, some beginning around Thanksgiving. (219 Destinations)

Canada – AC (Top 50) $150
Adult Contemporary (AC) radio stations in the top Canadian markets. Includes all BDS/Mediabase monitored AC stations.

Canada – Active Rock Top 50 $150
The top 50 Active Rock destinations in Canada, including all BDS and Mediabase monitored stations. Core artists include Nickelback, Three Days Grace, Disturbed, and some Metal by artist such as Metallica and Pantera.

Canada – Alt/Modern Rock Top 30 $90
The Top 30 Alternative/Modern Rock destinations in Canada, including all BDS and Mediabase monitored radio stations. Core artists include Coldplay, Kings of Leon, Cage the Elephant, Black Keys.

Canada – Campus/Community (Full Format) $195
University, college, and non-commercial community stations across Canada. These stations play all genres of music. (68 Destinations)

Canada – CHR/Top 40 (Full Format) $465
Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR)/Top 40 stations across Canada that play the current hits. These stations play the best of Pop, Rhythm, Alternative and more. (159 Destinations)

Canada – CHR/Top 40 (Top 40) $120
Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR)/Top 40 radio stations in the top Canadian markets. Includes all BDS/Mediabase monitored Top 40 stations.

Canada – Christian (Full Format) $120
Contemporary Christian format stations in Canada. These stations play Christian focused music in a variety of subgenres – rock, adult, country, and rhythmic. (42 Destinations)

Canada – Country (Full Format) $475
Country stations across Canada. These stations play artists like Paul Brandt, Carrie Underwood, and Lady Antebellum. (163 Destinations)

Canada – Country (Top 50) $150
Country radio stations in the top Canadian markets. Includes all BDS/Mediabase monitored Country stations.

Canada – French (Full Format) $335
French language music stations across Canada. These stations play a variety of genres including artists like Boom Desjardins, Marie-Mai, and many English Top 40 and Rock songs. (114 Destinations)

Canada – Hot AC (Full Format) $475
Hot AC radio stations across Canada. These stations play adult hits from artists such as John Mayer, Natasha Bedingfield, and Maroon 5. (203 Destinations)

Canada – Hot AC (Top 50) $150
Hot AC radio stations in the top Canadian markets. Includes all BDS/Mediabase monitored Hot AC stations.

Canada – Jazz (Full Format) $50
Smooth Jazz and Traditional Jazz radio stations across Canada. These stations play music from artists such as Herbie Hancock, Joe Locke, and Norah Jones. (17 Destinations)

Canada – Programming Consultants $95
Radio programming consultants based in Canada. Many programmers rely on the advice of consultants in deciding which songs to add to rotation.

Canada – Rock (Full Format) $595
Rock radio stations across Canada. These stations play music from artists like Billy Talent, Foo Fighters, System of a Down, and Linkin Park. (214 Destinations)

Canada – Rock (Top 50) $150
Rock radio stations in the top Canadian markets. Includes all BDS/Mediabase monitored Rock stations.

Canada – Urban (Full Format) $130
Programmers at Hip Hop/R&B/Urban/Rhythmic radio stations across Canada. These stations play artists such as Kanye West, Jully Black, and Chris Brown. (45 Destinations)

Christmas Radio (CAN) $295
More than 80 radio stations across Canada that requested inclusion on a list to receive new Christmas/Holiday themed music for airplay consideration on their seasonal playlist

Christmas Radio (USA) $100
More than 55 radio stations across the US that requested inclusion on a list to receive new Christmas/Holiday themed music for airplay consideration on their seasonal playlist

USA – AC (Top 100) $295
100 of the biggest market Adult Contemporary (AC) stations in the US. Includes all BDS/Mediabase monitored stations. These stations play adult oriented popular songs that are hits from other formats. With few exceptions there is no rap or rock programmed at these stations. Core artists include Michael Buble and Celine Dion, but include artists that have crossed over from the Top 40 and Hot AC stations. AC radio stations are usually the first to play Holiday Music, some beginning around Thanksgiving.

USA – Active Rock (Top 100) $295
100 of the biggest market Active Rock stations in the US. Includes all BDS/Mediabase monitored Active Rock stations. These stations rock harder than the alternative outlets, but there is overlap of songs at both formats. Core artists include Seether, Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold.

USA – Alternative Rock (Top 100) $295
100 of the biggest market Alt Rock stations in the US. Includes all BDS/Mediabase monitored radio stations. These stations play the alternative hits from current artists like Foo Fighters, Black Keys, Cage the Elephant.

USA – CHR/Top 40 (Top 100) $295
100 of the biggest market Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR)/Top 40 stations in the US. Includes all BDS/Mediabase monitored stations that play the current hits. These stations play the best of Pop, Rhythm, Alternative and more.

USA – Classic Rock (Top 100) $295
100 of the biggest market Classic Rock stations in the US. Includes all BDS/Mediabase monitored stations. These stations play the Classic Rock hits from the last 25 years. Some new tracks from core artists do get programmed. Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Pink Floyd, Metallica and more are featured at these stations.

USA – College (Top 100) $295
100 of the top College radio stations across the country including Mediaguide monitored stations and those with the biggest markets and/or signal power. These stations generally have multiple DJs who program many styles of music into their individual shows. Many of these stations have Block programming, which includes several hours of a certain style of music each week, including Alternative, Rock, Acoustic, Americana, Dance, Reggae, Hip Hop, Jazz, Urban, Electronic, and more.

USA – Contemporary Christian (Top 100) $295
100 of the biggest market Contemporary Christian stations in the US. Includes all BDS monitored stations, and smaller market Indicator stations. Current core artists include Casting Crowns, MercyMe, Amy Grant, Needtobreathe, Flyleaf, Switchfoot.

USA – Country (Top 100) $295
100 of the biggest market Country stations in the US. Includes 100 of the most prominent BDS/Mediabase monitored stations. Core artists include Brad Paisley, Lady Antebellum, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert.

USA – Gospel (Top 100) $295
100 of the top Gospel radio stations across the US including all of the BDS and Mediabase monitored panel. These stations play music from artists such as Bebe and CeCe Winans, MaryMary, and Deitrick Haddon.

USA – Hot AC (Top 100) $295
More than 55 radio stations across the US that requested inclusion on a list to receive new Christmas/Holiday themed music for airplay consideration on their seasonal playlist

USA – Mainstream Rock (Top 100) $220
100 of the biggest market Mainstream Rock stations in the US. Includes all BDS/Mediabase monitored and Indicator stations, and some format VIPs. These stations play current Rock tracks with a mix of recurrent and older Rock tracks. Core artists include Three Days Grace, Seether, Nickelback, and Hinder. There is overlap with some Active Rock songs.

USA – Rhythmic (Top 100) $295
100 of the biggest market Rhythmic stations. Includes all BDS/Mediabase monitored, and Indicator stations. Primarily, these stations play the Urban and Hip-Hop hits, but with a Top 40 presentation and sound. Core artists include Akon, T-Pain, Ciara, Sean Kingston.

USA – Triple A (Top 100) $295
100 of the biggest market Adult Album Alternative (Tripel A) stations in the US. Includes all BDS/Mediabase monitored and Indicator stations with some format VIPS (Consultants, trade personnel, etc.). Core artists include Death Cab for Cutie, Mumford & Sons, Florence and the Machine.

USA – Ultimate College Package $450
Hundreds of top College radio stations across the country including Mediaguide monitored stations and those with the biggest markets and/or signal power. These stations generally have multiple DJs who program many styles of music into their individual shows. Many of these stations have Block programming, which includes several hours of a certain style of music each week, including Alternative, Rock, Acoustic, Americana, Dance, Reggae, Hip Hop, Jazz, Urban, Electronic, and more.

USA – Urban (Top 100) $295
100 of the biggest market Urban radio stations in the US. Includes all BDS/Mediabase monitored, or indicator stations. Urban stations play Urban and Hip-Hop hits, with a inner city sound and approach. Core artists include Wiz Khalifa, T.I., Beyonce, Chris Browne, Ne-Yo.

USA – Urban AC (Top 100) $295
100 of the biggest market Urban AC radio stations in the US. Includes all the BDS/Mediabase monitored stations and indicators. Urban AC has roots in Soul and Gospel, and plays virtually no Rap and Hip-Hop. Core artists include Alicia Keys, Mary J Blige, Jill Scott, Maxwell, MaryMary.

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Jamie Johnson
jnewjohnson@gmail.com

I started my career planning educational workshops with some of North America's top artist managers, then moved on to manage commercial radio and internationally touring artists independently. I'm addicted to learning and love sharing what I learn with you here.

8 Comments
  • Gospel Chizzy
    Posted at 17:16h, 06 May Reply

    My Dear,
    thanks for your article. I am a reggae artiste and did not see where i fall in the listed categories or did I miss anything?
    bye
    Chizzy

    • Jamie Johnson
      Posted at 20:28h, 26 May Reply

      Hi Chizzy,
      Depending on your sound I would say you’d want to go for URBAN and RHYTHMIC formats.

  • Carolyna Lovely
    Posted at 10:16h, 21 August Reply

    Great blog, Jamie.
    Looking for a Programming consultant. Got a fave?
    Carolyna Lovely
    carolyna@carolyna.com

    • Jamie Johnson
      Posted at 20:15h, 23 November Reply

      Thank you Carolyna! That depends, where are you located?

  • Thomson Roger Andrews
    Posted at 14:05h, 05 January Reply

    hi ..Im Thomson Andrews, an Rnb, Funk & Pop Artist from India and have an English pop single I need to release out there. Thing is its shot in LA and I got it done when I was traveling in USA last year.

    How do I best promote it on Radio and t.v. and what are the relevant channels on both medium I must aim for.?

    Pls advice.

    • Jamie New Johnson
      Posted at 14:12h, 27 June Reply

      Hi Thomson!

      Great question! For the recording, you should definitely distribute it to all the major digital service providers like Spotify and iTunes first. We use TuneCore to do this for our independent artists. I would also do some research on hiring a STREAMING promotions company, and/or a RADIO promotions company. Streaming promotions is significantly cheaper than radio promotions. If you’d rather not hire anyone, then contact DMDS and ask them which channels you should be submitting to.

      Hope this helps! Best of luck.
      Jamie

  • Kitty Sheryl
    Posted at 18:58h, 23 August Reply

    Very informative. Truly appreciate it.

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