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14 reasons why Kenyan music is not on air – Joy Doreen Biira

Kenyan artistes have flooded the social media with their complaints of not being given sufficient airplay or radio and TV like their Tanzanian and Nigerians colleagues.

Using the hashtag #PlayKeMusic, the artistes want their songs to be played more on local media stations, even as they contend with accusations of making shoddy music.

Media personality Joy Doreen Biira was keen to enrich the conversation and lined up 14 reasons why Kenyan music is not on air and what the musicians  should do to get their music played.

1. Know how music makes it to playlists or hit lists and on rotation (criteria).

2. Music play is not manually decided or controlled by presenters save for request hours.

3. Music on air play for various shows is scheduled by a music controller (a human being) based on research and popularity of certain songs.

4. When new music is brought in by an artist or agent, it is slotted in the new playlist category after pre listening.

5. Different radio stations have varying target audiences. That’s why one can easily listen to Eric Wainaina’s music play on Classic 105 FM and not NRG or Kiss FM. Know where your music fits best and where it would get most air play.

6. Besides the presenters, know the technical personnel at a radio station. The music “Comp-troller” can advise you on a real good pep talk on making music that sells. That’s their craft that’s what they do all day. Meet the program manager have seek knowledge.

7. When launching an album, have one of the radio stations as a key partner. Best to pick the one that is in sync with your style/genre of music. There you will have made a long term partner.

8. Radio stations pull crowds with the mentions/jingles/ratings/ads etc.

9. Get a good agent/promoter/manager if you can afford one (if your record label is not doing the run-arounds for you) – they will get word around quick and do the formalities for you.

10. Burn no bridges. In the media and entertainment industries. Word goes around so fast. So much so that Record artists who have good music will in some instances miss the air play just because of ONE bridge they burned.

11. The digital age has changed the game & will continue to… Air play is not entirely dependent on media stations. Curate your online profile, master the art of digital cross-platform marketing. If you don’t know how, Hire someone who can set this up for you.

12. Know how the music industry operates. As a singer/rapper or whatever your genre is, make time outside of recordings and song writing. KNOW THE GAME. You’re gonna be in it for a lifetime. Know what it requires of you & become an eternal student of the craft.

13. Do duets (“collabos”) especially if you’re a rising star. Find a record artist you can work with and do music together. These help to get your voice across a whole wide range of fans locally and internationally.

14. Expand your networks within the music industry and outside it. People know people who know people who know things! And you will be surprised at who could know something or someone that gets you to the next level.