Once an artist has gone to the time, trouble and expense of producing and manufacturing/digitizing an independent release, it is usually the case that the artist's goal is to earn exposure for the record, which translates into sales, and, hopefully, a career. Support from radio is key in order to make the masses aware of a new record. Unfortunately, obtaining radio play is difficult and competitive. Hence, an artist should budget for the services of an independent promoter ("promoter").
In order to compete with the major labels, the artist must be able to take the steps that a major label would take in order to promote a record. Since an independent artist does not have a promotion staff to service the hundreds of appropriate radio stations across the country necessary for an effective radio promotion campaign, a promoter is the vehicle to generate airplay. The promoter can gain the necessary radio "adds" for several reasons that the artist cannot, because they: (1) have years of experience, (2) have established relationships with program and music directors, (3) know how to properly pitch a record, and (4) know who to approach with the pitch.
Because a promoter is not cheap to employ, smaller labels and artists will generally just hire the promoter to work the record in a particular region. If airplay becomes significant in that region, often the record will then take on a life of its own and other regions will want to play the record. The hard part is developing the first important adds.
[part 2 next week]
Ben McLane Esq