You are a local band. You have sweated, bled, and cried your throat out to record songs. You have played the local scene and rocked the audience. You have front lined the major artists and bands that have played in New Zealand. Surely your songs are good enough for commercial radio.

When you approach one commerical radio station after another, you realize that the only thing they are interested in is tossing your CD (or Mp3) straight into the trash can.

Why Local Bands Don’t Get Played

Theories abound on why talented local bands don’t get airtime on mainstream radio stations. They range from murky underhand deals done between the stations and music labels to sinister corporate control that hates diversity. The truth, however, is rooted in financial and practical realities topped with a big cherry of apathy.

Commercial radio stations, or for that matter any radio station, need reliable and regular income streams to stay on air. Advertising and sponsorships are one source; the other source is promotion money received from music labels and independent promoters. The big, money spinning bands are backed by this second revenue source to have their songs played on air repeatedly.

And repeatedly.

Local artists do not have the financial backing that their international peers enjoy. The result – no airtime.

Apart from the financial aspect, there is a programming aspect at play here as well. Hit Radio stations add, at the most, five songs to the existing playlist every week. When a programming executive has only ten songs to work with, they tend to select the proven, platinum selling artists such as Drake, Lady Gaga, Lorde, instead of local talent.

Even if local bands do get airtime on commercial radio, the songs are played in a specialised segment and may feature once or twice before you hear ‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play… And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate… Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake… I shake it off, I shake it off.

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