We live in a world where technology continues to enhance opportunities that were once sought out only by traditional methods. As a prime example, when Elvis Presley was looking for his big break, he physically went down to the office of Sun Records to pay for a few minutes of studio time. His hope was to get a signed record deal.  Today, if Elvis was alive, he’d be sending off Mp3’s to radio stations off of his iPhone and sitting in the privacy of his own home, using the latest digital recording software to create memorable music for fans that could be heard for generations to come.

Intrigued by all the changes that the music industry, and honestly, a little overwhelmed at times, I wanted to gain some unique perspectives from DJ’s and Internet radio hosts, who could shine some light on what has happened in the last decade for radio stations, and the trials and tribulations that come along with the booming world of Internet Radio.

To start off with, the old age question of whether it is best to mail a station a physical CD vs. submitting online seemed to be answered with both pros and cons. Danny Grey, of 503 PDX Radio, felt that “taking care of your CD’s will survive long after your pc dies, and if the internet crashed on top of that, you cannot get another copy of the Mp3 you purchased.” DJ/Owner Neil Noel, of Eclipse Radio commented that “you can hold a CD with artwork, have it be signed and kept in a cool dark place on an enthusiast’s shelf.  The flip side to that is a CD can be scratched, and damaged forever, melted in the heat, or shattered. In his view, “Mp3’s have overtaken CD’s, and looks forward to the next media that takes its (Mp3) place.”  “For venues and for an artist to connect with its audience, CD’s are the best way to go,” says DJ Shaydo, of BodyRock Entertainment

Even though, the Mp3 format has a dominant presence, there does appear to be that old-fashioned nostalgia component to a CD that hasn’t died out entirely, and maybe never will.

The concept of “streaming” that was founded in the early 90’s, helped artists get airplay and it was definitely agreed upon that the top reasons for that was due the ease of contacting stations for direct contact, requests, and the connection with social media.  With internet streaming not monitored by the FCC, there are some drawbacks, especially as independent artists are sometimes held back by their content, meaning their explicit materials within their music.  However, it does allow the artist to remain uncensored, and still get their music to the public.

With thousands of new stations coming forth, it was very interesting to know that the top 5 ranked sites appeared on everyone’s list: Grooveshark, Pandora, LastFM, iHeartRadio, and Spotify.  What’s their secret? Black Hat Ron of http://indiemadmp3.ning.com mentions “good taste and what the public wants dictate what a station needs to be successful and are the reasons listeners return.”

After asking DJ Shaydo about the progress of Internet Radio, his convictions are strong, “No longer do artists have to wait, hope, or be at the mercy of a radio station or a label. The ceiling has been shattered and the walls have been torn down!”

The biggest mistakes that artists make can be frustrating and delay the process of getting their music heard to the public. Black Hat Ron says that “artists don’t fully understand what is required to prepare a digital record. The artist who takes the time and pays the costs associated with production is the one who will most likely get played.” Sending the song in the wrong file format and quality of the track, seem to be the biggest peeves. Also Calvin K. Coley, Sr., of Flashback Tracks Internet Radio suggests artists need to “send promotional material that I can air live. I want to get artists heard and in my opinion, sometimes the track just isn’t enough.”

In the end, Internet Radio seems to be the avenue that is the key for a global expansion of possibilities. In order for independent artists to get others to tune in, they need to define themselves and as Calvin Coley Sr. says “be good at one thing, not okay in a lot of things.”

Guest post by Melissa Arditti and Laurena Marrone of GRIT PR & Promotion