10 ways for a creative music sell

How to present Lady Gaga and Phil Collins differently.

“Stay tuned to … now coming up: Bruno Mars and his song Count On Me right after Whitney Houston and How Will I Know …” Although this kind of presentation is very popular for most of the public service broadcasters and private radio stations, it is very boring, too. This is what I call an announcement not a presentation. It has nothing to do with that. And yet it is so easy to create a much more thrilling Musicsell at any time. It is our responsibility to create interesting announcements. Counting down tracks and artists is not enough. Our listeners deserve more and in addition, music is the main reason why listeners tune in – don´t you think? Musicsell is the best way to represent the benefit and the USP of our radio station to our listeners. In the meantime we can sell or rather illustrate the benefit and the USP in a very charming way, too. Music is very emotional, it creates a mood, an impression, it is something very special and it tells us a story. In any case, music is more than “now coming up Lady Gaga after Michael Jackson”.

Aside from that, we all only play the best songs, the most favored tracks. We all spend lots of money for music tests and call outs, in order to find suitable music for our target audience. This also is the reason why all people who are in charge for the program or presenters should never be satisfied, by broadcasting: “Taio Cruz with Hangover …”

A „constructive-tool“can help those who want to achieve more ideas and strategies. These can be divided into small modules which then can be used, changed and filled with life, if necessary. I have defined 10 modules which can help to develop a creative Musicsell.

10 ways to sell your music creatively  – Entertainment for your listener and extra value for the station.

Listeners switch us on fort he music but love us for the entertaiment we bring them.

If we want to beat internet services like Spotify, Youtube and Apple’s iTunes Radio and at the same time create a stronger connection between the listener and the the medium Radio, we have a duty to sell the listener’s main reason for tuning-in to radio in a compelling way. And we owe it to the listeners, who are giving us their valuable time, to give them more than boring clichés.

To sell the music you’re playing can be fun, entertaining, informative and of course instrumental to communicatie the station’s strategy, for instance ist music USPs. There’s at least 10 ways to deliver a fun a varied music sell:

1. Topical

For me, this is the Mother Disciplin of Music Sells: to include short topical items in your presentation in a way that the listeners get the feeling they’re getting more than just an empty song announcement. A music sell with topical stories, announcements or happenings shows the listener that we know what’s going on in their lives or in their workplace. For me, it is an essential part of your show prep to check all relevant topical stories from your listeners‘ lives and to see how you can use it in your music sells.

2. Local

There’s a hundred ways to connect to your own city, region or country when you’re selling a hit from the US or another foreign country. You can connect local happeningsm events, companies or sports teams to a music sell. These small things will bring you closer tot he listener and are never a tune-out factor.

Short listener sound bytes from a traffic jam, a coffee shop or a doctor’s office can also spice up your music sell and make your show more local.

3. Personal

A presenter that is personal, is authentic, offers possibilities to identify with him, gives the listeners a chance to become „friends“ and can make a lasting impression with his stories. A personal history with a song turns into a personal music sell. A while ago, I was truly entertained when I was listening to a CHR station in Germany. This young, appr. 20-year old DJ announced this song from the last decade in a VERY personal way. He shared an unforgettable memory with the listeners: to this song, he had lost his virginity… „Who would want to know this??“, you may ask. In any case, this (well-structured and friendly) talk made such an impression on me that I remembered it and that I’ll remember the DJ. He made me smile, so I connected positive emotions to him and tot he station, and next time I’m there I’ll make sure to listen to the station again.

Of course, very personal stories like this can be tricky and they’re certainly not suitable for everyone (or every station, or time slot!). But, if performed well, they’re a whole lot better than a standard song introduction.

4. Memory-based music sells

Do you remember the summer of 2003? All of Europe was suffering from a heatwave that made everybody hide in the shadows for weeks. Definitely a memory for the masses. And which songs did the radio play back then?

Of course, music sells that connect to memories work best on stations that play music from more than one decade, but recent events like the last football World Championship also offer enough possibilities to connect to songs. And these music sells will obviously work even better when you give them a local flavour by connecting music to local events. You may have to invest some time into a sentence like: „In Amsterdam, the first underground Metro line ran from Central Station to Amstel station, and on the Walkman that we listened to in the Metro, was playing…“ but it gives you the opportunity to really connect to you listeners – and isn’t that why we’re behind the microphone?

5. Music sell with fun!

Most of my workshops on Morningshows or general moderation are concluded with what may be the most important tip of the whole day: „Have fun!“. There’s nothing worse than having to listen to uninspired, unmotivated, dull song announcements. The least we can do for our listeners, who give us their valuable time, is to share some fun!

6. Depending on the time of the day

I think one of most important duties of a presenter is to accompany the listeners and to be responsive to their mood. By responding to the time of the day and the current situation of the listener, the Musicsell is being spiced up and the radio show will be recognized again. The easiest way to pimp your Ramp is to enrich the Musicsell. You only need a small amount of creativity in order to respond to the particular time of the day. Listeners then will feel attracted and the radio show will become unique. This is how you will kill two birds with one stone.

7. The benefit

It is important to explain to the listener the benefit of listening to the program of our radio station. This is how you can upgrade the Musicsell and use presentations as a platform for meaningful marketing messages. This is much better than just announcing upcoming tracks and artists. Music is the key for establishing and selling user-orientated information (e.g. to relax, to recharge ones batteries, to create a good mood). USPs, e.g. long lasting music sets or “more up-to-date hits” can be used perfectly for user-orientated presentations. User-orientated music presentations quickly will gain a supplementary strategic value for the radio station, if the broadcaster is being involved. Well, again two birds killed with one stone!

 8. Claim improvement

Going back to the introductory example: “Now coming up: Bruno Mars and his song Count On Me right after Whitney Houston and How Will I Know …”you can always create a valuable Musicsell, which can prove the Claim of the radio station. If you add the decade of the songs, e.g. “Coming up after one of the most popular tracks of the 80ies – you will now hear the summer hit of 2012 …”, you can build in the Claim of the radio station in your presentation, e.g. … you are now listening to the cult hits and the best current tracks on XY …”.

 9. Attaching musical information

In the long run, the preparation of a music presentation needs lots of time. But it is also the simplest way to spice it up. This is what I really love the most. It really fulfills the demands of the songs being played during the program. It proves that only we play the best music. It also demonstrates music competence and it provides interesting information to the listeners. Mostly you only need a single statement which sounds like if it has been vocalized, just like that. A presenter can say “Coming up Gotye with somebody That I Used To Know” or “Coming up a song which managed to stay in the German Charts for almost one year. It´s the number one hit from Gotye.” Another example: “Whitney Houston managed to reach 7 Top Ten Hits in a row”. I know it takes some effort to find out new and interesting facts, but in the end it really sounds great. The listeners receive some information. This enhances the radio station and the broadcaster competency. Music is the reason why people listen to our program.

 10. Creativity

Many wonderful and creative ideas can help to push music forward, to cause fun and to show the listeners that they can enjoy the program by listening to the music. This is how Phil Collins turns out to be the man “who has more awards in his closet than hair on his head” or Rihanna, the woman “who releases her tracks as quick as the fast-food restaurant next door produces sandwiches with hot sauce”. By using ideas, sound effects, short radio pieces, SOT, etc, you can modify a simple music announcement and create a presentation with a fun factor. To entertain and to spread fun are our main tasks. These are also our USPs and the reasons why people listen to the radio.

Selling music and spreading fun, being responsive to the current condition of the listeners, building in exciting music information – this is what mp3-players, Spotify and other services who provide music cannot do. But this is what a radio broadcaster can do. And because of this it should be worth to us to spend more time to create Musicsells and to fill them with life.

Kind regards,
Yvonne Malak