Austin Darbo of Spotify Details How Unsigned Artists can Break With Limited Money

Austin Darbo

Often, artists have battled and wandered in the wild as to how they could break out and get their songs into various playlists around the world.

There is help now! Austin Darbo, Senior Editor of Content Programming at Spotify UK, has taken pain to pen down a number of things unsigned artists need to do to break out and make it main stream.

Although he focuses on the United Kingdom where he plies his trade, it is admissible majority of the things he taks about apply worldwide. He advises on some of the best practices and shows ways to get funding to help your music.

This is what he presents (unedited)




“First its important to say that nothing will beat the experience, knowledge & contacts of a good radio plugger. If you can afford one, do it.

Secondly, if your music is ???????? then no amount of tweets or radio plugging will save you. Im sorry. Make better music.

This guide wont guarantee anything. Radio play depends on bare factors out of your control. Your also competing against 1000s or competitors. Google terms like ‘radio promotion UK’ to find a list of pluggers. Anyway lets start from the beginning – before you start, set a goal…

Make that goal realistic and relative to where your career is at. Some artists can skip from zero to playlist but thats very rare.

This site lists every single radio station in the UK – make a list of the stations you can see playing your music www.media.info. Once u have ur list of stations, break it down into a list of DJs. Remember – evening DJs tend to have more flexibility on what they play

A daytime presenter may have just 3 or 4 songs they can play per show (the rest of their music is scheduled by another team) so box smart.

So now you should have 3 lists:

1. Radio stations

2. Daytime presenters

3. Evening DJs

Now its time to observe and make notes…

Humans are creatures of habit and those that work in radio are no different. With a bit of patience you can clock patterns of support. So browse the sites, look at tracklists, look at what music is played when, see what they tweet – basically stalk them like your cheating ex

When you stop spamming and actually silently watch, you’ll be surprised at what you learn – is a great example of this.

Most radio stations will use ‘producers’ on each DJs show. They are just as important, so you need to work out a way to contact them… Best way to do this is to call each station???? Politeness will get you far so get your mum/friend to do it if u sound like a frog on the phone

Now you have all your contacts- the aim is to start a fire. So light lots of smaller fires (i.e – smaller stations) to build into a big fire.

My opinion is this – if your a new artist forget trying to ‘premiere’ your song. Nobody cares. Leave that to the bigger players for now. Now its all about targeting every producer and DJ individually. Mass mailouts rarely work. Im gonna share some examples of good & bad emails.

Here’s the email I recieved about WSTRN. Simple, straight to the point & most importantly he started small fires 1st.

Copy of mail

Dont waffle in your email. Keep to a few short paragraphs & bullet points. – Intro – How song is performing – Why song could work for them. In the first line of your email, drop a line to ensure the DJ knows its not a mass mail out. Do NOT then tweet them saying ‘just emailed’

Time your email correctly. This is really quite simple. As soon as they tweet, you know their phone is in their hand.

DJs play around 40-50 songs per show. They get 100s of emails per week. Not all good music will be heard. No point crying over this fact.

You have to build a case for your song. Show some evidence of your song working with that station/DJs target audience.

For example, if you make club music – a 30 second iPhone video of crowds going mad to your song could go down a treat.

Oh and make it as easy as possible for people to listen. A streaming link is generally the best option as MP3s can take long to download etc

BMT I’m sure over the years I’ve missed some great music cos I’ve had poor signal and an MP3 has taken long so moved onto next email.

As harsh as it sounds,making good music is not enough.All 100m finalists are good sprinters. Only 3 get medals.I’m sorry, other things matter.



Leave a comment »
Disclaimer: Comments by third parties do not in any way reflect the views of NYDJ Live. We, however, reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comment. [ Terms & Conditions ]
{"error":{"message":"(#4) Application request limit reached","type":"OAuthException","is_transient":true,"code":4,"fbtrace_id":"BFFvXEvOk30"}}