GM Killed the Radio Star

Radio Feature Image

I just read THIS ARTICLE about how next year, in 2016, 51% of GM automobiles sold in the USA and Canada will have 4G LTE capability and will offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.  Good bye terrestrial radio.Radio GM Logo

If you’re younger, you may not get the significance of this infrastructure to the music industry and marketing.


If you want to be a student of the game.


Radio Apple CarplayYou better read this.



Radio Android Auto







You better read this because you think you know how to market you music. If you have a brain you have spent time dissecting the methodologies in which you were made aware of your favorite artists.


Then, naturally, you’ll want to duplicate that strategy to pave the way for your own success.

Radio 1951 Radio image


You’ve already failed.


Be smart enough to avoid stepping in the hot gum on the street.


Radio Hot Gum



A TON of music is consumed in the car.



Back in the day, terrestrial radio (your local radio station(s) that broadcast in your listening area) was the MOST powerful promotional tool because it was the only way to hear the music from your favorite artists and be exposed to new ones.


Think about this dynamic very carefully. I grew up in Southeastern Wisconsin. I was definitely a hair band metal guy. There were 2 rock radio stations in Milwaukee I could pick up in my small hometown.

Radio Vintage Prison Arrows

My listener experience was this: turn on the radio to my favorite rock station. If they were playing a crappy song or a song I was unacquainted with, I’d change the dial to the 2nd rock station. If they were playing something I didn’t like OR WAS UNFAMILIAR WITH, I would go back to my fav station and listen to whatever they had going on with my fingers crossed that they would play something cool or familiar to me on the next song.

Do you understand how powerful that was?

I had to listen.

I had to wait out the new song from the new band I never heard of in the hopes of hearing something I liked or was more aware of.



Many of those unfamiliar songs became huge hits.

Many of those new artists became icons.


I was forced to be exposed to them because there was only 2 storefronts selling what I liked.

Terrestrial radio literally had a captive audience.

Radio Ruth Hartnup Pez Candy Image

Choices Photo by: Ruth Hartnup

Now they don’t.

Now the consumer has choices.

Choices that include terrestrial radio, satellite radio, HD Radio, Deezer, Pandora, Spotify, iTunes Radio, I Heart Radio, Tidal, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, your own personal play list, etc.

Ask network television, more choices mean less viewers/listeners.

Less listeners means less exposure.

Less exposure means less ad sales.

Less exposure means less record sales for the artist/label.

Radio Artist Ice Cream Cone


Have you paid attention to declining sales in the last 10 years in the record industry?


The bestselling country record of 2004 sold 11 million copies. The bestselling country record of 2014 barely broke 1 million.




I think not.

If a consumer doesn’t like what they are hearing OR is unfamiliar with a new song/artist, they can keep changing the dial to a never ending selection of audio picks that ensures they are going to find what they want.

What they want is what they are familiar with.Radio We Covet What We Know


We covet what we see and hear every day.


This new technology in GM automobiles is a game changer.



Understanding the declining importance of terrestrial radio is a game changer to an any artist, indie or on a major label.

This news is a game changer to every label as well.


Radio Barking


You’d better be barking up the right tree.


It’s your precious resources. That is to say your precious time, money, effort, etc., that you are putting into the game; you have to make it count!

Don’t be nostalgic, man. You’ll lose.



If you are fashioning your hopes and dreams as a new artist on the power of terrestrial radio for your promotion strategy you are wasting your time.

Worse yet, you are waiting to be “discovered” so a major label can just handle that for you.


Terrestrial radio is still powerful, yes, this is true.Radio vintage radio recording


It won’t be by the time you get your act together and make a play.

That said, the artists who OWN the airwaves now are barely selling their music.

Think about that!


Consumers need and expect more than a song on the radio to influence their buying decisions these days.

Radio Relationship

Consumers want a relationship.

This is clear by the abysmal record sales of 2014.


Consumers will purchase from an artist they are familiar with.


Consumers will purchase from artists they feel they have a relationship with.




Taylor Swift knows this. All her fans think they are “besties” with Taylor.Radio Taylor Swift 1989


She had no problem selling 7 million copies of “1989” without any promo from country music radio where all her other records were promoted.


Most of you can’t really comprehend the significance of that feat.



If consumers aren’t familiar with you, they won’t purchase from you and you’ll stay at your day job; your “backup plan”.

Radio Beehive



If you want to succeed, you’ll need to learn how to reach out and find your own beehive, make relationships in that beehive, and deepen relationships in that beehive.

If you want to sell 10,000 records, you will have to shake 10,000 hands which means you will have to meet 10,000 people.Radio Shaking hands


If you figure that out, your bees will make you honey.


Most of you still aren’t taking marketing seriously at all. You think as long as you build the masterpiece, they will come.

Radio FalseThis is categorically FALSE.


You believe this so much that you blow your entire budget on the recording with zero left for marketing.


It won’t happen without marketing.


YOU won’t happen without marketing.

For those of you that do think about marketing, you’re probably still strategizing exactly how to get your music on the radio.

Oh, and you’re oddly antisocial on social media which baffles me.Radio Antisocial

The crappiest most ineffective social media strategy is to NOT BE SOCIAL!!!

You have to make yourself available and adorable and compelling to the consumer so they will become familiar with you.

Get it?

Radio Bailey Instagram

People, this puts the power COMPLETELY in your hands.


We have a 12 year old artist we have been working with for 4 months (ish) and we have built up an Instagram account to over 19,000 followers.  She averages a SOLID 500 likes per post. She averages a solid 50-60 comments per post.


Many of these people will buy her EP, merch, tickets, trinkets, etc.


We are making her available and getting her following familiar with her.



They will buy.

We will create more traffic.

This new traffic will also buy.

She will develop a following.

We did all this from a laptop computer.Radio Laptop Computer

What’s your excuse?


It’s never been easier.


You seriously need to be as good at marketing as you are at making music.


Radio Coffin Meme


GM just put an exclamation point on the demise of terrestrial radio.


Why chase it?







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