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Radio Pluggers - Who are They?:

Radio pluggers are the people who try to make sure that your record is played on the radio. Getting a good plugger can make the difference between a single becoming a hit or a flop and between a band having a successful career or disappearing into obscurity. Radio pluggers are the link between bands/labels and radio station managers, producers and DJs.

What is a Plugger's Job?:

Basically, the job of a plugger is to get the acts they're representing exposure on the radio. The different kinds of exposure they might try to get include:

  • Radio plays for the act's music. Depending on the act, this could mean inclusion on the stations' playlists, spot plays or plays on specialist music shows.
  • Live performance sessions and interviews for the act on radio
  • Organizing competitions on radio that give away the act's CDs, T-shirts, posters, gig tickets, etc, as prizes
  • Getting the act's releases and upcoming live shows mentioned on air.
The Internet:

When it comes to the internet there's a blurred line between press and radio plugging. Many radio stations will have a presence online, plus magazines may have an online radio station and there are internet stations and MP3 blogs. The plugger should be aware of the differences between streaming, podcasts and downloads. Some internet stations ask artists to waive their royalties to avoid paying a licensing fee, but many large labels won't allow this, nor will they allow their material to be used in podcasts or as downloads. Many smaller labels and acts are happy with the publicity that these avenues provide.

How Do I Become a Radio Plugger?:

Plugging companies often take on interns, which is a good way to build up contacts and experience. To set yourself up as a plugger you'll need to build up your contacts list. Station websites will often have show contact details, but if not, you can often hazard a guess (e.g. would be a good start). There are many bands looking for a plugger, but be picky. Don't necessarily start working with the first band that approaches you, or the one that will pay the most. It's important to build up your reputation as a plugger, and that will be best done by working with an act you believe in.

Making Money as a Radio Plugger:

It's up to a plugger to agree a fee with the client. This is best done before the campaign starts, to avoid any dispute later on. Some clients will pay by results - the plugger will get a certain fee when a certain level of exposure is reached. The problem with this model is that a radio plugger can put in a lot of work, yet the track could get very little (if any) exposure. Conversely, a track to get a huge amount of exposure even though the plugger has done hardly anything. A good compromise is that the plugger gets a basic fee, with bonuses for achieving certain results. On top of any fee, the client will be expected to pay the costs of the campaign - postage, phone calls etc. What is included in the costs and what isn't should be agreed before the campaign starts. Sometimes, the artist or label will put a cap on these approved costs as well. For instance, postage may be an approved cost, but if the total cost of postage surpasses X amount of dollars, the artist/label must clear the expense.

Many new pluggers will do a campaign for free, or for a greatly reduced rate, allowing them to get experience. Even established pluggers will do jobs for cost, or cheaply, if they really believe in an act. They may work for free if they think the band are going to go on and become successful, so that they get work from the band later on in their career or for the kudos that will be associated with working for the act.

A&R Careers Agent Cover Art Designer
Manager Music Journalist Music Teacher
Producer Promoter Radio/PR Plugger
Session Musician
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