Out Of The Box Is “Out Of The Box”
Back in the good ol’ days of radio, when a station would add a record “out of the box”, it was just that. You received it, listened enough to KNOW it was going to chart, because of many variables….and you were on it. You would be rewarded later to see medium and major market stations do the same, though months later, if you broke the song in a smaller market. You added it “out of the box”, meaning there was zero wait time from the time you opened the package to the day you added it. Now the “out of the box” phrase still rings true. But it implies more than one meaning. Many stations continue to cookie cutter program. So adding something “out of the box” is almost non-existent. If you’re lucky enough to have complete control over what you’re playing on your stations, and your list reflects that, it’s sad, but you’re in the minority now. But you should feel damn lucky you have critical liberty to do what you want with your station. I’m lucky that I have a GM that lets me drive the ship programming wise. I can’t tell you the number of times a non-established artist from a label I’ve never heard of (and there are tons of them out there these days) will send me something that simply fits my station and it’s on our list. PD’s and MD’s in medium and major markets scoff at this idea, most of them anyway. And, admittedly, there are times that these songs end up as “stiffs”. You’ll find that most of the time, these songs have little or no promotion behind them and the gut feeling was wrong. Not every song I take a chance on does well…..but through the years, I’m way ahead on the ones that did work. Keep in mind what might work for my station and my region may not work for yours. Just as a new restaurant needs to let folks know they are open for business and/or have changed their menu to reflect something different or new, or highlight the addition of a world class chef by advertising, a good promotion person is essential to push your product for the most part. Again, there are some exceptions…..but by and large, you won’t see it in print and there will be little to pique your interest unless somebody has at least brought it to your attention. Out of the box can also mean, these days, adding a song from the “inbox” of your e-mail account. Yep, the days of hard copy shipments and even pressing hundreds of promotional CD’s are going away. Sites such as Airplay Access are going to take complete control within the next five years as the industry continues to look for ways to spend less and get more out of their product. This is a simple downloadable process from a secure website. I’ve had a few folks recently put their music on iTunes and Napster (for a huge price) and, aside from immediate family and friends, it’s a total waste of their time and money. Depending on your popularity and following…..and where people find out about you, that is. Obviously there are artists out there that play on a regular basis in places like Nashville and LA that have networked well, but have little recognition if any nationwide. But if you live in Powell, Wyoming and you’re the next Eminem, how will people, or more importantly, why will people buy your music? Radio has and will always be top of mind in breaking new artists, new music from them, and exposing you to the entire country. And even with small markets, your chances of being noticed, heard, and ultimately played increase greatly with a good promoter.