How to be a radio plugger with Hart Media's Poppy Raine
Studying music at ICMP can lead our graduates into myriad music industry jobs outside traditional roles as players, performers or musicians.
So it went for Poppy Raine, a songwriting graduate who, after a two month internship, landed a full time role as a radio plugger with Hart Media. What do pluggers do? Well their role is to get their clients' music played on the radio so they play a fairly crucial role in helping songs become hits. We couldn't be happier for Poppy and her success and caught up with her to find out more..
For the uninitiated, could you explain what the role of a radio plugger involves?
So as a radio plugger, I primarily work as part of a team behind an artist's single campaign to help maximise the exposure and success of a track! As well as trying to get their music played on as many stations as possible, I also look to maximise promotion by organising interviews and radio tours to help an artist build relationships with stations which help future campaigns.
How did you get into this world? Was it something you'd always wanted to do?
I did the BA Songwriting degree at ICMP music college so I’ve gone in a completely different direction to where I was expecting to go three years ago!
The course made me realise what I love and don’t love about songwriting and being an artist in the music industry whilst also opening my eyes to aspects of the music industry I didn’t even know existed! I loved the music business modules and realised that I wanted to work with artists who have buckets of talent and determination to make it in this difficult industry because I’ve seen exactly how tough it is!
What skills do radio pluggers need to succeed?
You have to be a people person! I spend most of my day nattering with heads of music at radio stations, building relationships and plugging them great music. Being able to make friends extends off of the phone too and means that when I go to gigs, I’m actively talking to people whether they be new artists or industry contacts. That and organisation skills, I’ve never thought a diary was so important!
What did you study at ICMP - and how did your time at ICMP prepare you to enter the industry? What did you take away from your experiences that armed you for a career in the wider business?
Doing the songwriting degree, coming into the industry, I gained so much knowledge on how to plan an effective single release and create a business being an artist. Having such a fresh approach to the industry has undoubtedly helped me when in campaign meetings talking about different strategies as well as setting up a strong foundation of knowledge to aid what I do on a daily basis. It’s something I didn’t really think of much at the time but I’m so thankful for it now.
What does a typical day look like? Is there even such a thing? If not, what are your main tasks?
I have a set list of radio stations who I look after and plug to each week so I’m always talking to them on the phone, trying to get as many playlists for a single as possible. If I’ve got tours on, I’ll be organising artists to go into stations around the country and arranging logistics around the tour. Then sometimes I’ll be out of the office with the artist accompanying them on interviews (which is always lots of fun!) or going to meetings at labels. Every day is different and I love what I do so it doesn’t even feel like a job most of the time!
For anyone considering a career as a radio plugger (or even just a role in the music industry), what would you advise them to do?
I got this job by actively seeking out companies for internships and showing willingness and passion for wanting a job in the industry. I think if that determination shows through, then any company would take on that sort of candidate.
Keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to meet industry contacts at networking events or gigs and go and talk to them. Definitely go to lots of gigs, especially of small up and coming artists, there are always industry people there, they’ll probably have a G&T in hand!
What's keeping you busy at the moment? And what does the future have in store?
I love that my job encourages me to keep on trend and try to find the new undiscovered artist so I’m constantly scouring Spotify! I’ve no idea what the future holds but I love working on campaigns with artists and I definitely want to stick to what I’m doing - it’s so rewarding working on a single or album which carries great success… so who knows?!
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