By, Wendy Day from Rap Coalition
A few years ago, I suddenly began getting these weekly emails out of the blue from DigitalRadioTracker. I was excited because they offer valuable chart information for internet radio spins, a growth area I was closely watching. Some of my friends in the music industry have started their own internet radio stations and many others have launched internet radio shows. Additionally, I receive many interview requests and spins for my artists at internet radio. My concern with internet radio has always been that it’s next to impossible to know how many listeners are reached or how many times a song is played.
DigitalRadioTracker tracks 5,000+ radio stations worldwide, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Although most are internet radio stations, they’ve also included some terrestrial, college, commercial and non-commercial stations. This gives access to a good balance of radio beyond the traditional terrestrial FM stations that BDS or Mediabase offer. I can affordably purchase reports for projects (mine or the competition’s) to see the number of spins they are getting or have gotten historically, in what areas, on what stations, and how much total audience was reached.
DigitalRadioTracker has proven extremely effective for use in planning tours, promotional campaigns, soliciting performances, and directly targeting a specific marketplace. Breaking new artists or gaining awareness for new projects for any artist is extremely challenging and without feedback and data, it becomes nearly impossible. I’m able to purchase individual reports about my artist or similar artists to see which cities and areas have the biggest supporters.
Since internet radio is less encumbered by “pay for play” than traditional radio, it signals that these markets contain an organic and authentic following of fans who have discovered the music on their own. For more established artists, it confirms where and when the spins are occurring. This information can be used to plan both domestic and international tours or to book shows in the area where there is increased activity. DRT Reports from similar sounding artists shows which areas can be easily penetrated to expand the artist’s fan-base because there are obviously potential fans there.
The DRT Reports, which are sold individually or in bundles at a discounted price, break out the station, its location, the day the song was played, the time of day it was played, which version of the song was played and the total audience that the song reached that week. There is also a choice of reports from the past going back 8 weeks for my artist or any artist or song I choose to analyze.
After doing some research on this radio tracking company headquartered in Houston, TX, I realized DigitalRadioTracker has the ability to track all songs, even alternate versions of songs such as remixes, live versions and versions with or without featured artists. This is unique to radio tracking. Each report breaks down each version of the song and where it was played. Upon signing up for free at DigitalRadioTracker.com, I was able to purchase three different types of reports for each song I wanted:
- Weekly Overview DRT Reports show the day and amount of spins per day at each station
- Comprehensive DRT Reports detail the day and time of each spin at each station as well as which version was played
- Historical DRT Reports illustrate the 8 week overview of spins per day at each station
Today, there are approximately 41,000 internet radio stations around the world according to Internet-Radio.com (https://www.internet-radio.com). In June 2016, the US government reduced the licensing fee by half for internet-only broadcasts to $.0007 per stream. Performance fees were dropped from 9% to 8.8% and charges for webcasting at non-commercial radio stations stayed at $.0002 per stream.
For a station with 2,000 listeners playing 15 songs per hour, the math looks like this:
- 15 x $.0007 = $.0105 per listener/hour
- $.0105 x 2000 = $21 for 2000 listeners in an hour
- $21 x 24 = $504 per day
- $504 x 365 = $184,960 per year
The fee exceeds the gross revenues of every internet radio station. “It even exceeds the additional revenues made by traditional (terrestrial) stations that also broadcast on the Net. Even the lower rates ($.0002/stream) charged to non-commercial broadcasters are far higher than nearly all of them can afford,” according to Linux Journal (http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/6218).
While SoundExchange tracks these stations and collects the mandated fees from the stations to then pay the artists from those fees, I can’t imagine they can easily chase all of the internet radio stations in the US. I can see where a DigitalRadioTracker Report would come in handy to collect artists’ fees from SoundExchange since it accurately tracks the spins of music by artist and by song. Since it’s their mandate to collect the fees, the artist is due the money.
DigitalRadioTracker has been a wonderful addition to the music industry for artists, managers, record labels, singers, producers, songwriters, publishers and anyone who wants to track songs played at Internet radio, college radio and some terrestrial stations. The DigitalRadioTracker system logs every song played 24 hours a day, 7 days a week without fingerprinting or any special encoding. Unlike other tracking companies, DRT offers a risk-free guarantee! If a song has not received any spins, you get a credit to use towards another song. DigitalRadioTracker specializes in monitoring radio airplay by broadcasters of the following genres such as:
- CHR/Pop/Top 40
- Adult Contemporary
DigitalRadioTracker tracks songs internationally and offers weekly charts in each musical genre. The charts can be found at DigitalRadioTracker.com or you can sign up to receive them weekly via email. They are also posted on Instagram at @DigitalRadioTracker, on facebook.com/DigitalRadioTracker, on Twitter @DRTradiotracker and at http://NationalAirplayCharts.blogspot.com/.
Wendy Day is a 24-year veteran of the urban music industry. She built her career starting Rap Coalition, a not-for-profit artist advocacy organization for rappers, producers, and DJs.
text WENDYDAY to 44222, you can join her free email newsletter list. Follow her on social media @RapCoalition.