Music Promotion: Americana Radio, Triple-A Radio, College Radio, Digital-Streaming Promotion
We believe that radio and streaming exposure ARE the nexus...
WHAT WE DO
"Marketing is nothing more than connecting something interesting to willing ears."
-Jac Holtzman, founder of Elektra Records
Twin Vision is a music marketing and promotion company founded in 1988. We specialize in service to independent labels and artists.
We have a track record of getting new independent artists airplay on significant radio outlets in the US and worldwide.
Our specialty is Triple-A, Americana, and College radio, the primary formats for independently released music. Besides terrestrial radio, we target internet and satellite outlets. We also offer promotion to all the main digital and streaming service outlets.
We consult on how a radio promotion campaign attracts industry connections, increases media traffic, and gets gigs. We advise and direct clients to connections and contacts for marketing, street teams, publicity, international licensing, label affiliation, and booking agents. As a result, we help clients reach their preconceived goals and inspire new ones.
Contact us for a consultation. We will go over the state of radio now and what to expect from a promotion. Expect your horizons to be broadened.
Meet The Team
Founder & CEO
Peter has been promoting to the Triple-A and Americana radio formats since their inception in the early 90's He has developed deep and broad relationships with the Music and Program Directors, many spanning over 20 years. After decades in the music business, he is still doing what he did at the start as a young A&R person: discovering new artists and finding ways they can fit in the marketplace. For more, go to this interview he did for
Director of College & Genre Promotion
Sali handles most of the stations that report to North American College & Community Charts (NACC), which include college/alt-rock and specialty genres, such as folk. She champions independent artists, passionately pushing for their voices to be heard.
Learn More About Sali and her amazing career in radio from her interview with
Director of Digital Media
Kate is your go-to person for all digital-streaming promotions, as well as taking care of all the digital aspects of your radio promotion. She has been working with her uncle Peter and the Twin Vision Team since 2015.
She is passionate about helping independent artists find a larger audience.
Talent Acquisition & Radio Promoter
Karla currently makes her home in Tucson, Arizona. Prior to that she lived in the birthplace of the blues, Mississippi where she earned her Ph.D in English. However, it was the nineteen years living and working in New York City, where she was introduced to the world of live rock music. She has worked for Twin Vision since 2010. In addition to music, Karla’s interests include creating comics and zines, and vegan cooking. She lives with her two tortie cats, Fiona and Ruby.
Why Radio? Who Listens To Radio Anymore?“Who listens to radio? I sure don’t” “Radio’s dead, isn’t it?” What else would one think with Spotify and Pandora and the rest of the streaming platforms sucking up all the music publicity lately. Then there are all those friends you know whose habits have drifted from traditional radio, not to mention all the music and business news stories about the decline in radio’s listenership in recent years. Declines in radio listenership are nowhere near as much as some people think they might be. There are still millions who get their first exposure to new music with traditional radio, particularly the kind of radio we work which is booming with listeners. There are enough listeners to create and sustain a music career for, well, basically forever. Some facts: In 2020, more than 2.3 billion people listened to the radio, almost 45% more than the number of people subscribed to music streaming platforms. Radio retains its dominant lead while streaming has boomed as a music discovery method during the last two years. However, MIDIA research shows during 2020, more than 50% of the market kept using radio as their primary channel to discover new music. Moreover, due to its ease of use, technological adaptability, and lifetime, radio listening habits keep engaging equally with mature and younger audiences. Look at this chart: Here are some points to think about for any artist working in the general genres of Adult Alternative, Americana/Folk/Blues, or Alternative; 1. Why does every established record label, both independent and major, not only service radio but spend massive amounts of time and money promoting new releases to traditional radio. 2. We would submit that any new artist who has broken through in recent years to any significant degree likely used radio to great effect to do so. 3. From what they tell us, all the public radio stations playing Triple-A, Americana, and Alternative music have not only been consistently reaching their fundraising goals but surpassing them. Listeners pony up for well-curated music with local commentary. For many listeners, it’s akin to joining a music club. It becomes a music community that can highlight shows and events in their regions and, most importantly, that introduces them to new artists. 4. Take a look at WXPN on Philadelphia’s website https://xpn.org/. Notice the many artists mentioned and how the station presents them (podcasts, archived shows, streaming specialty channels). This site is an example of what’s going on with traditional radio today. Show this to anyone who thinks radio is dead. Why would any artist not want to be a part of this? The strength of radio is also in the quality of listeners it draws. The radio formats we target (Triple_A/Americana/College) have adventurous music consumers and proactive listeners who search out new artists. These stations cater to those tastes and needs. They have been doing so since long before the advent of streaming services. Their curating skills go deep. Another frequently asked question: What if I'm not touring? Why would I need radio play? Point one: you don't need to be touring to get airplay. Point two: new releases ideally should be served up to media when they are new. If you wait to promote the music, know that the programmers and reviewers resist older releases. Also, if you skip promoting a release and jump to a newer one, no one may hear the previous music. Programmers want to work with real-time new music. If you are not touring now but may later this year or next year, radio programmers still need to become aware of your artistry and newest release. Even months after the release was in current rotations, when you arrive in their markets, they don't forget who you are. Indeed, they are happy to support shows. A promotion now or in the near future will prime the pump for the time when you play the region. "Without promotion, something terrible happens... nothing!" - P.T Barnum If you cannot tour anytime soon and don't know if you can, radio is a way to get the music heard. Even if you never plan on performing, having the music reach thousands of well-targeted listeners creates feedback that will inspire future music from you. It will also generate industry connections that may lift your career. Isn't that why you made music in the first place: so that many people can hear it?
What is Twin Vision and what does it do?Twin Vision is an independent radio promotion service, sometimes referred to as an "indy promoter" in industry parlance. We are hired by artists, managers, labels, publishers, or anyone who wants radio exposure for the music they are interested in. Our specialty is triple-A and college radio, which Peter considers artist development radio. We have been in this business since 1988. We developed a specialty working with independent artists and independent labels. There are specific approaches to acquiring radio airplay for such projects. Unfortunately, many promotion companies geared to major labels or established artists do not effectively mold their strategy and priorities to the aspiring artist with minimal label clout. The core of the service is making the radio programmers aware of the release and artist, but we also always provide consultation. While working on a promotion campaign, Peter can answer any industry-related questions or provide resources and contacts he draws from his over thirty years in the business. Our team tries to help clients not only reach their pre-conceived goals but inspire new ones. We provide ideas about how a radio promotion campaign attracts labels, increases sales, and gets gigs. Whatever the goals are for this effort, we want to make sure the results are viable.
What's your background in music? How did you come to form Twin Vision?In 1970, Peter graduated from Seton Hall with a degree in Communication Arts and immediately got a job as an A&R staffer and publicity copywriter at London Records, where he worked for eight years. He was responsible for the emergence and initial success of ZZ Top, Dave Edmunds, and Thin Lizzy. Peter also worked with the Moody Blues, Savoy Brown, John Mayall, Tom Jones, and Al Green. During this time, he learned every aspect of the business and professionally associated with some of the music businesses' most legendary luminaries, characters with storied pasts from the '30s, '40s, '50s, and '60s. Twin Vision emerged from Peter's experiences running independent labels (including his own, called NEO Records) from 1980 to about 1988. These indy label adventures included working for Genya Raven's Polish Records, a punk/new wave imprint where he dealt with Ronnie Spector and Cheetah Chrome of the Dead Boys, then on to sundry other labels whose tortured histories included promotion and marketing of reissues, imports, all kinds of dance music, adult contemporary artists, Christian, jazz and blues. Finally, he took all his acquired indy label wisdom and bulging database and farmed out his services as a consultant. One of Peter's clients had a roots-rock band that led him to stations around the country that played such groups (e. g., Los Lobos, Robert Cray). A year or so after he started working these stations, he suggested to a major radio tipsheet (The Hard Report) that they should classify them differently than all the AOR Rock stations that were playing the likes of Bon Jovi at that time. Hard eventually ran with the idea and created the first triple-A (Adult Album Alternative) chart. Soon all the radio trades were tracking these stations, and more sprouted up all over the country; A format was born, and Twin Vision was born right alongside it as Peter boiled down to his consultancy to just working this radio area along with college radio which he had always done.
Is there a particular genre of music, or segment of the radio industry, that you concentrate on? How does your approach differ by genre, etc.?"We work radio formats open to playing and on a mission to develop independent artists, i.e., Triple-A, Americana, and college radio. We target about 200 stations nationally for Triple-A that we have found regularly play, new, independent artists. Most are non-commercial (a/k/a public or "NPR") stations, but there are many commercial outlets too. We key off those who report their playlists to the major radio publications and charts: JBE, BDS, NACC, AMA, Mediabase. The genres we work fall into what these stations play (singer/songwriter, rock, soul, folk, blues, world, alternative). By the way, Triple-A has been the career launchpad for the broad success of Norah Jones, Lorde, Phoebe Bridges, Lumineers, Kings of Leon, The Black Keys, among others. They all crossed over to mass market exposure after receiving strong support from Triple-A. For Americana, we target stations reporting to national charts like Americana Music Association, NACC/Folk, Roots Music Report, FAI, and Euro Americana (which covers stations throughout Europe). The format is typically thought of as being a roots/country-leaning sound, but many Americanas are more eclectic than that (in fact, more than half are also Triple-A stations). The core performers are Nathaniel Rateliff, Jason Isbell, Jade Bird, Brandi Carlile, Sturgill Simpson, and Steve Earle, but blues and soul artists like Mavis Staples, Yola, Gary Clarke Jr, Black Keys do well too. Americana programmers are typically very open to new, independent artists. Looking at the upper tier of the Americana charts, there are many releases with no major affiliation. Some projects we have worked that had that kind of success include Jess Jocoy, Charlie Marie, Doc Fell, Cej, Dan Bern, Markus James, and Jonah Tolchin. We were responsible for a #2 AMA Album chart release for "King of the Road: A Roger Miller Tribute." College radio genres generally lean alternative (e.g., Snail Mail, Tame Impala, St Vincent, Lucy Dacus, Japanese Breakfast). We key off of the 300 most important NACC reporting stations. Most Triple-A or Americana artists can have success with college radio, and we usually combine these three formats in an overall campaign. Many alternative artists have success at Triple-A, and all our college campaigns include coverage of AAA major chart reporters. Our approach comes from studying station playlists every week and knowing their history (which in most cases goes back many years). Additionally, it is governed by the knowledge of what key aspects and developments specific programmers are impressed by, what they are looking for, and our idea on how a project fits within a particular time frame. Some of the relationships we have developed with programmers go back over a decade. Besides all the research we do, personal touches come into play.
What does a radio campaign consist of? What do you do? How long does it take?We recommend eight weeks for any radio album/EP campaign for optimal results. That period can be extended beyond these time frames. We provide a mailing list to the artist or label who sends the CDs plus a one-sheet/bio (no press kits anymore). We then reach out to all the stations each week. Our team sends attractive links to digital copies, making phone contact with many. The first few weeks involve describing the project and having the music or program director track down and listen to their copy. We then start to accumulate feedback. The reactions will range from enthusiastic acceptance to vague impressions to passing. Often these early responses are based upon cursory reviewing. We persist and eventually get the programmers to listen and reconsider seriously. That's when the magic of the music can take over. Ultimately the music has to have legs. Luckily these programmers are music lovers on a mission to find exciting new releases. They come to the endeavor with "willing ears." The stations interested will start to experiment with airplay for it. Then, we monitor that play while getting other programmers to consider it in a positive light. No one can guarantee how much airplay a release will receive, but we know the potential of a particular release, and we can guarantee we will use our best effort to target programmers and get their attention. Any project we choose to work with has a chance to get effective airplay. Generally, a debut release will have around 20% to 40% responding. Those responses can be much higher if the artist has some track record. Every week, after the impact date, we provide detailed reports. These reports include airplay status (rotations such as Light, Medium, Heavy, but often specific spin counts from various databases we subscribe to). They also have specific comments from the programmers, tracks being played, and short facts about the staff's demeanor and the station's impact on its market. All the reports come with comprehensive and extensive analysis from our team.
What are practical, realistic goals, and how does a client monitor the results?"The immediate goals of the promotion are to develop pockets around the country where the artist will build substantial audiences. The broader goal would be to develop awareness, exposure, and impact for their name and music with major format reporting stations and industry charts. Additionally, this promotion can help attract managers, agents, labels, and publisher/ licensors. We provide regular reports that cover weekly activity like airplay and market significance of each station, along with comments and anything else we think is pertinent. In addition, we gather specific status details from the stations directly and from various tracking services to which we subscribe. As the airplay develops, they can use the reports to map out possible regions for gigging. The airplay, in most cases, will be steady from eight to twenty weeks after it starts. As the campaign develops, we will help arrange interviews and other promotions wherever possible. Everything we develop airplay-wise can work in tandem and be enhanced by social media promotion and a publicist's efforts.
Regarding fees, typically, what might you charge to conduct a radio campaign?"Full-service Adult Alternative/Americana/College promotions for albums or EPs are $335.00 per week (4 weeks minimum) and eight weeks as the recommended number of weeks for the most effective response. We work singles at $200.00 per week with a four-week minimum and six weeks a recommended plan that becomes a life of the project rate. We have a package rate: one single worked for four weeks before an album/EP eight-week campaign for $3,200.00. So that's twelve weeks of promotion. We find that promoting a single in advance is an excellent way to set up the impact of the album/EP. Campaigns for six or even four weeks can be effective if the artist's budget is limited. Payments are usually broken up into three installments. All installments are in advance of the promotion periods. Many bands and artists who make great albums spend no money exposing it. They will move on after about a year to the next release, spending to record and package what it would cost to do a good promotion. Now they have two great albums that virtually no one hears. If they had put the money for the next release into promotion for the last one, they could be heard by a few hundred thousand well-targeted, pro-active listeners. A percentage of those people will be moved to manifest their attraction to this release through sales, response to the radio stations, or in direct contact with the artist. These manifestations can lead to attention from labels, publishers, managers, and licensors worldwide (remember, most of these stations are streaming and have international audiences), creating gigging opportunities. If you make music, why would you not want as many people as is possible within your power to hear it? When an artist or manager thinks of getting exposure, they usually immediately think: "I need a PR agent." As a result, their budgets go to publicity before radio promotion, without reviewing the distinctions and current needs. Ask yourself what creates a more profound impression for new music by an unknown artist, hearing it or reading about it. The press creates ephemeral interest; the exposure/impact comes and goes in a few weeks; radio play brings fans; the exposure can impact multiple times weekly and extend for many months. Press is like advertising; it needs to accompany the music's exposure to be effective. This is not to say that publicists' services are not valuable and eventually needed. The work can be effective in being a megaphone, establishing impact for an artist's name and image. But for the kind of music that fits the radio formats we are discussing, a publicist should be hired as a supplemental enhancement to radio promotion, not as the leading supplier of the bulk of exposure.
What does an artist need to provide you for you to be effective? What kind of digital audio copies should be presented. How important is the packaging? The look of the CD itself? What type of press kit should they provide?Despite all the changes in the technical/digital landscape, CDs are still the preferred presentation for albums/EP at many of the stations we contact; for a new artist, it is a particularly helpful presentation because it creates a physical presence. In addition, the cover art is an effective part of building an image. The number of CDs may vary with the target stations but is likely between 75 and 165 copies. There are digital delivery systems (both streaming and downloads) that we use to supplement the mailing of the CD. Sometimes we do digital-only promotions (primarily for singles). All promotions utilize digital outreach but those also using CDs have more impact than one using just digital. We estimate as much as 35% to 50% more sustained airplay with CDs as part of the plan. The mailing consists of one CD and a one-sheet. We will advise on the look and content of the latter. The CD and materials should look as good as anything on a major label. Presentation is a first and lasting impression. It is also good that the packaging is compatible with the music in terms of image. In most cases, the artist or label will do the station mailing with a mailing list we provide. We offer mailing services for a charge for the labor plus all expenses like postage and packaging. A good one-sheet replaces the press kit. A radio one sheet has apparent features like a bio and quotes and references to the artist's website (which is essential). And it also has several bullet points specifically pertinent to radio programmers. A "Radio Contact" being foremost. They prioritize it when they see it is being "worked" (as they term the process) by an established promoter. We will help design the radio one sheet and review all the copy so it resounds positively and illuminates who the artist is and what this release is all about.
Can you elaborate on your consultation services?Goals, Connections, New Platforms, Ideas, and Inspiration. Any artist or label we work with will also be able to take advantage of our extensive music industry experience, and connections gathered from over thirty years in the business. Our objective is to see any positive results from the radio airplay connected to our clients' broader career and business opportunities. We help clients not only reach their preconceived goals but inspire new ones. We provide ideas about how a radio promotion campaign attracts labels, increases sales, and gets gigs. We advise and direct clients to connections and contacts for marketing, street teams, publicity, A&R, international licensing or major label affiliation, and booking agents. Besides drawing on resources acquired over time, we will share what is working for other clients. In some cases, we have connected clients who share ideas and resources. We want the promotion to inspire the artist and help everyone concerned understand there is a tradition of connecting the music to fans through radio that is as old as the record business and remains even more vital today. There is nothing like knowing your music is being played for tens of thousands of potential fans who are so motivated that they contact the station and request your music. Whatever the goals are for this effort, we want to make sure the results are viable and make the artist consider how to make artistic choices that resonate even more with the audience.
Why can't I do this myself?You don't want to do it yourself because you will waste time not knowing who the best stations are for you, and more importantly, you will not be taken seriously by the significant stations. If they hear from a respected promoter, they immediately know the release is being "worked" to the format, and they, along with the other stations (their colleagues), might be in a position to break a new artist. The release will be considered as any major label project. If you do it yourself, you will be relegated to DIY, which will probably mean no airplay. You can easily say something wrong that you won't recover from. Our main effort (and the main thing you are paying for, along with knowing exactly who the right stations are) is that we call all programmers every week and have known many of them for many years. There is a rather sophisticated strategy at play here, and one has to know what's going on. We not only get the music listened to, but we also make them think they are missing something if they are not playing it. To do that, you need to know what impresses them (usually specific other stations playing the release). All this said, the main reason you can't do it is that it takes considerable time; effective promotion is not a part-time effort. Every hour you spend will cost you in other ways. Ultimately no matter how you balance it, time is indeed money.
How many artists are you promoting at one time?This is the most frequently asked question and because of that Peter wrote an extensive blog on it, found in the section "Hiring A Radio Promoter."
Do you promote to more than just playlists?Yes! Our streaming-digital promotion is not just about getting meaningless streams. We seek to grow your virtual audience by contacting various outlets, including streaming platforms, blogs, and social media. We promote to all the major outlets: Spotify, Apple Music, and beyond... Drawing from a list of about 1000 curators, we customize a target list that hits those most likely to add your tracks to current playlists. We can work with singles (individually or in a series), an EP, or an entire album. The curators and other industry contacts that receive your tracks are selected based on established connections. As a result, artists can expect tracks to be added to playlists and increase streaming numbers within the first month of the promotion.
How will you help me grow my virtual presence as an artist?Having a robust digital presence as an artist can be daunting. Therefore, we provide each artist with tips and guidance on strengthening social media efforts throughout the promotion.
What makes this promotion different than the other playlisting promotions out there?This campaign has a grassroots feel and attention to personal detail that other streaming services lack. It isn’t dealing with a digital streaming machine with blanket email blasts and farm playlists. It isn’t full of empty promises. It isn’t going to break the bank. Instead, it is an earnest effort to get your music heard by the right taste-makers on all digital platforms. We do REAL promotion: All our pitches are personal, reaching out to individual curators whose music choices we study with a background of 30 years in music promotion. A suggested minimum campaign period is three months; contact us for a formal proposal including rates.
The Most FAQ: How To Hire A Radio PromoterA blog post by Peter Hay: As an independent record promoter, the most frequent question I get from artists or their representatives is how many projects do we usually work on at one time. This question is so intuitively perfect that it may be the most important way of evaluating whether to use one promoter or another. Yet, I rarely ever get a follow-up question. Instead, the average response is silence, which leads me to believe that the layperson does not have a barometer to evaluate the response. Here are some parameters and perspectives to evaluate the information you get from the promoter (assuming they are honest). You would be right to assume that it is hard for the average radio station music director to absorb the stories and pitches on numerous releases, particularly since they hear from about thirty other promoters covering more than 100 releases that week. I find that six to eight projects can be served effectively. For projects submitted to me that go over my limit, I usually try to schedule their campaigns for other times (which sometimes causes a loss of business). Within those numbers, another dynamic makes this number manageable: Some campaigns are just starting, some are in the middle, and some are winding down. These stages create flexible emphasis on different aspects of each project. Ultimately the effort is to give every project their days in the sun and make sure all their potential is fulfilled. It takes a bit of juggling, but that is what makes for a professional. I must know how much a particular programmer can absorb and what to emphasize with each call. Some promotion companies are working on fewer releases; they are usually still getting established. There is no real advantage to that smaller number as long as you convey all that needs to be conveyed to create a positive impression you are doing the job. How am I assured that my project will remain a priority? Some promoters have so many releases they naturally start to emphasize the ones that seem to be happening or hot and neglect to highlight those that need the most help. When that happens, you need a promoter to promote the promoter. However, there are ways to ensure you are not in that position. To assure that your project will not slip through the cracks, you must stay on top of the promoter, asking every question that occurs to you each week. Check to see what stations are priority targets in a particular period, and make sure you get the details of their conversation with those stations. You should get extensive, detailed reports weekly. Do not hire any promoter that does not provide that. Also, keep them posted on developments like gigs and press; everything related to your career and this release may have some relevance. Do not worry about being a pest. You deserve face time at least once a week, if not with the head of the company, then the rep who is handling your project. (More on that later.) Here's the question that should be asked right after how many projects are they working on: How many major label projects are you regularly working? By "major," I would include all labels associated with the powerful conglomerates or established independents. Let your common sense tell you what the number should be while keeping in mind that you would be right to suspect that major label clients could get more emphasis. What promoter would not want to deliver for the regular clients? Securing that Add at a good station may come down to you or the major's project. Should you hire a promoter with a list of "name" artists on their resume? If they delivered for Norah Jones or Death Cab For Cutie, they must be good for you. Well, maybe. Of greater importance is how the promoter expresses themselves about your music. Listen closely to the tone and enthusiasm they convey about your project; you will get a hint of what they will say to the stations about you. Ask not only what the promoter thinks of the music but also what they will say about it. What will they highlight as the "story" to introduce the artist? You are listening for details, nuance, and maybe even something no one has ever noticed about this music before. Who will do the actual promoting? Who exactly are you interviewing when you call a promo company for information? In many cases, the head of the company or the person you talk to is not the point person calling the bulk of the stations. When you contact a promoter who personally sells you on the services, you absorb how much of an expert they are, how they sell, and, most importantly, if they show some passion for your music. You don't get any comparable impressions when the promotion is delegated to an underling. All these intuitive questions that occur to you are right on the money. And you probably have a sense of what is right even if you don't have specific references. So I hope I gave you something to back up your gut instincts.