What is Radio Tracking?
A lot of people I talk to along my journey in music confuse what Radio Tracking really is. So here it is. Radio Tracking is the systematic tracking of individual songs across all media markets around the globe done by uploading your music into their database as well as using a tiny little code that is embedded into the meta data of a song called an ISRC Code. (International Standard Recording Code). Radio Trackers scan both interactive and non-interactive radio stations and track the number of plays, streams, downloads etc. There are 2 major companies that cover all media outlets around North America and they are the big daddy players when it comes to Radio Airplay Tracking, Music Charts (Billboard, Canadian Music Charts and many more), Magazines, and most retailers and that is BDS Radio (formerly Neilson BDS) and Mediabase. I’ll get back to them in a moment.
Now Radio Trackers gets confused with Radio Tastemakers, whom are the people who pitch your music to various radio stations. This can be quite a costly marketing strategy however very effective. We have discovered some reliable companies that offer artists real radio airplay and have packages that will work within any budget. One of them is Pay MPE, a Destiny Technologies company. In all honesty airplay on physical radio stations is an uphill battle at best. Many of my friends and colleagues got their “big break” from local radio station contests or a “Battle of the Bands” contest or landing a publishing deal for a movie that goes big, like “Spiderman”.
What is Interactive/Non-interactive Radio?
What is Interactive/Non-Interactive Radio?
So, back to Radio Trackers. When I talk about Interactive Radio, I’m talking about Radio or Playlists that can be changed or manipulated. For example, Spotify, Jango, or local radio stations’ playlists or queues can be changed, modified, or requested for different songs by the listener. That makes them Interactive. On the other hand, Satellite Radio Stations have set rotating playlists that are pre-determined and cannot be changed or manipulated by any outside source and they are called Non-Interactive Radio.
What is BDS Radio?
BDS Radio (Broadcast Data Systems) formerly Neilson BDS has been around since 1992 and was established by the “MRC” (Media Rating Council). They soon became the standard for radio and music industry because of their accuracy of detecting, tracking, and monitoring of songs. This is turn eliminated the use of reporting and call-outs to trades and record labels when it comes to adding and testing new tracks saving companies a ton of money. This method also helps track songs that are not released as singles become hits especially for the “Billboard Top 100” charts where radio-only (non-single) songs have reached the very top.
BDS Radio tracks airplay on interactive and non-interactive radio as well as cable music channels. BDS captures more than 100 million songs annually om more than 1600 radio stations in over 140 markets in the US (including Puerto Rico) and 30 Canadian markets. In order to have a chance at making any of these charts’ artists must upload STRIPPED FILES only in high-quality MP3. No music with any junk data, or cover art will be accepted. Wave files do work however they are converted to MP3 automatically when uploaded. KRZ Publishing offers the “Stripping” service as part of our ISRC Codes and Radio Tracking service. You will also need your ISRC Codes for the songs, and UPC for the album if applicable.
What is Mediabase?
Mediabase was created in 1985 by a company called “IHeartMedia” under the name “Mediascan” but changed names in 1987. The now called Mediabase was discovered by Nancy and Rich Meyer and was the first mass-airplay monitoring company. They are a 360% reporting service that has quickly become another industry standard.
Mediabase produces song charts and airplay analysis of songs in more than 2 dozen formats based on monitoring more than 1800 radio stations in the U.S. (including Puerto Rico) and Canada in over 180 markets. They also monitor HD formats, video channels, and satellite radio. They provide vital airplay information and in-depth analytic tools for media professionals. They define the success and popularity of recorded music and give an insight into consumer listening trends thus helping marketing firms and companies plan their campaigns.
Like BDS Radio, Mediabase requires STRIPPED, high-quality MP3’s uploaded as well as all the album, artists, and track info.
BDS Radio VS. Mediabase
It really boils down to this. BDS Radio tracks their airplay using computers. It seems like the ideal way to track anything however there is a downside. Yes, computers are extremely accurate and that is how they built their reputation, but their counterpart, Mediabase uses real people to listen and track their songs. I know what you’re thinking, the whole human error thing right? But the people listening can make notes or special remarks about the DJ’s talking about the song or people calling in, or if it was requested etc. it provides a more detailed and a specific listening experience.
Another point to keep in mind is Mediabase and BDS Radio only monitor 80% of the same stations so in order to get full coverage you will need to upload your music to both entities.
What is Soundscan?
Neilson Soundscan was created in 1991 by Mike & Mike and unlike the first to entities I talked about, they are not Radio Trackers. Soundscan is owned by the same company as BDS and Billboard charts but their sole purpose it to track sales. How many times an Album has been sold, via physicals sales or downloads, as well as song downloads. I include them in the Radio Tracking because they are just as important to register to and it is a form of tracking. It is super important to register your songs, and album with Soundscan. They do not require any audio files but you will need your ISRC Codes for each song as well as a UPC Code for the Album. It is actually two different registrations but same format of registration. It goes without saying that registration is mandatory for any artist. You never know you may have that break out hit you never saw coming and it would be a shame to be invisible to the system when the song hits.
There is no doubt at all that your music should be uploaded and registered with these 3 previously mentioned entities to give yourself the best chance you can in a very challenging and evolving music business. This is something you can do yourself it just takes is your time. Yes, we have stream lined it here at KRZ and we include ISRC Codes in our “BUNDLES” page, but you CAN do this yourself.
The whole idea of KRZ Publishing is to provide all the administrative work a big label, publisher, or manager would do for an artist. We provide these services for a small fee but bind no artist to a contract unless that is desired by the artist and KRZ alike. The ISRC Codes, UPC, registrations, and uploads seems very daunting and it does take some time and that is why we offer these services. You will need the ISRC’s anyways and the File Stripping & Embedding so why not just throw the radio tracking in there? Our BUNDLE PRICING is a great way to get the whole package done in one shot and completed within a couple days!
Need us to upload and register your music? No problem!
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