How Does a Song Get Picked for Radio?

Submitted by Peter Astedt

How does a song get picked for radio? Or a blog or for a review. Probably not in the way you think it would. Of course, if your song is great it will be picked. But let’s say that you get five good ballads at the same time? You really can’t fill the playlist with ballads, it will slow down the format, but all of them are good? In a normal week, you would probably have taken any of them on the list, it’s just they are all in the same genre.

Problems like this can occur while you are going through submissions. Suddenly you have too many good rock tracks, or anything else and you have to skip one song because you don’t have unlimited space.

Then you have a problem when you have listened too long. It happens that you go through about 40 songs and yes you get jaded. Suddenly that weird track that shouldn’t make it, just feels appealing. Or that you need to be that great to stand out in the crowd of mediocre tracks.  

I just fear for those moments. You just go in to just take off tracks. It’s like you are hunting to find errors in songs instead of seeing the beauty in them. Still, it’s a harsh reality and it happens from time to time.

Another thing is the mood you are in. I bet I would take a heartbroken ballad if I just had a bad date. Or if listen to a party track just before I’m going out to have a party. All of these things are things that make the decisions for your track to get on.

It’s also proven that you need to hear a song five times before you recognize it. Listening to a song the first time is not really your final decision, but the time we have to sit and listen to songs is very limited. I’m just guessing how many good songs I just threw away since I didn’t give them a second chance.

Now you think that all of those songs that have been discarded were one of these moments. Sorry, probably it’s not so. Most of the time you can easily hear a song and feel that you are attracted to it. It just takes less than one minute to decide on those really good tracks. You can just feel it.

The ones that you so much struggle with are closer to being perfect but just a bit over mediocre. In the end, it’s better to write a song that you get hooked to direct than a just-above-average song. Then though who is to decide if a song is a smash hit? In many cases, the smash hit is just that a bunch of people decided to play it more than five times and you happened to listen and start recognizing it.

It’s an art form to pick songs. And it’s just based on personal taste. In the end, you just need to find those million people that are out there that will love your song. That is the hard part.