Last week I wrote a piece for Matooke Nation about how many radio stations in Uganda require payment before they can play a new or upcoming artist’s song. These payments are not officially sanctioned by the management at most radio stations. They are just a way for presenters and programming directors to make a little money on the side.
For the most part the reaction to this practice was (rightly) negative, but I should point out that not all stations do this and in some ways the paltry sums paid to radio programmers and presenters at the big radio stations force them to do this. Only a select few make a comfortable living just doing radio. Most have to supplement their income in some way- either by having an outside job, or by screwing over desperate young artists, or both.
I have made it a point not to accept money on SNMS. We take songs on their merit. Sometimes we misfire and bring on artists who are going nowhere fast, but every now and then we find someone who I’m sure will make a major impact on the music scene for years to come. (Two names spring to mind immediately, but i’m keeping them close to my chest.)
So… how does one get their song on SNMS? Easy. Send me an email: contact[at]misterdeejaypresents.com. That’s it. I try and reply all the music-related emails I get (although I readily admit I am not the best at that) and all I ask is that you as an artist a) respect my point of view and b) realise that it is just that: MY point of view. Mine is not the be-all and end-all. And my not liking your song doesn’t make it a bad song. It just means it is not for me.
Only about one in ten songs makes it onto the show and even then, sometimes my judgement is wrong and a song gets panned by the audience. (Again, some names spring to mind- and again, I’m keeping them close to my chest.)
There are, however, some ways you can endear yourself to me and my producer. I have to sift through the music, he has to book potential artists for the show.
- If you email an attachment of your songs, be positive and polite. Remember you want me to like you. So go ahead and sell yourself and your music, but refrain from threatening me or cursing me to hell if I don’t play your song. (Yes, this has happened to me).
- Also if you email remember to check your spelling and grammer. I know am fighting a losing battle with this one, but fight I will.
- If you give me a a CD make sure it is in a jewel case or in a plastic sleeve. Remember to include your name, a tracklisting and your contact information on the CD. There is nothing worse than hearing to a great song or one with potential and not knowing who sang it or how to get in touch with them.
- I don’t think it’s necessary to include a media kit with your music, but if you DO include one, your chances of making it onto SNMS increase ten-fold. It shows me that you care about your career and that it is just that: a career. Not something you woke up one morning and decided to give a go.
- Be prepared for rejection. SMNS is an underground show so we have some latitude in regards to which songs get played on air, but I cannot tell you how many people just don’t understand that their music is not yet ready for radio. It is easier for some artists to think I’m putting on airs, or that I have no taste, or that (God forbid) I require some sort of payment than to face the possibility that their song is just not good. Taste in music is a subjective thing, and as such differs from one person to the next. Part of being an up-and-coming artist is proving to others that your music, your sound, your vision is as good as you think it is. And that is no easy task.
Good luck! And keep making that good music.