How musicians are making their own radio shows and stations to promote new albums

·3-min read
Dave Grohl and his Foo Fighters bandmates will launch their own limited-run SiriusXM radio station, February 3.

Promoting a new album is no mean feat for musicians, especially since the pandemic hit. Now, some artists, such as the Foo Fighters, are adapting their efforts by launching their own radio shows and stations to help fans discover their latest musical offerings.

After waiting more than three years, rock fans will finally be able to hear the Foo Fighters' 10th studio album, "Medicine At Midnight," from February 5. Dave Grohl and his bandmates have decided to mark the release by launching their own limited-run SiriusXM radio station. The channel will offer fans of the band musical performances, as well as "insight into their new album and the stories behind some of their biggest songs, demos, B-sides and rarities throughout their more than two-decade career."

"Foo Fighters Radio" will launch February 3 on Channel 105 of SiriusXM and its application. Two days after the launch, the American band will head to the SiriusXM studios in Los Angeles for a live performance. And, on the stroke of midnight, the "Medicine At Midnight" album will be played in a track-by-track premiere on the station. The channel is an original way of reaching out directly to fans, who can no longer see the band at live shows or on TV sets, while also standing out in a musical landscape currently saturated by streaming.

Artists and their radio shows

Other musicians have already chosen to use radio as a means of promoting their new albums. Gorillaz, for example, launched their own radio show on Apple Music in October. Each member of the British virtual band hosted an episode of " Song Machine Radio ," featuring musical selections, non-music discussions and special guests. As well as looking back over the band's 20-year career, this radio show served above all to support the release of the seventh Gorillaz album, "Song Machine: Season One - Strange Timez."

And the Northern Irish electro duo Bicep, known for tracks such as "Lyk Lyk" and "Apricots," used a similar strategy. Matt McBriar and Andy Ferguson share a selection of older and more recent tracks that influenced them in a monthly show on " Feel My Bicep Radio ," which ran until March on Apple Music 1. It saw the two musicians reconnect with their past as curators of electronic music, when they ran their "Feel My Bicep" blog in the late 2000s, while presenting their latest album, "Isles."

Radio vs streaming services

While radio has always been part of the promotional circuit for artists, music streaming sites have somewhat changed the game, offering new platforms for drumming up public interest in new album releases. The rapper, Megan Thee Stallion, joined forces with Spotify to present an enhanced "Good News" album playlist , where fans can discover the 17 tracks of the album, as well as videos detailing her creative process. Other artists, including Taylor Swift, BTS and Shawn Mendes, have also used the "Enhanced Album" format to promote their new releases.

Moreover, Apple Music is now looking to radio to set itself apart. In August, the American giant renamed its flagship station, Beats 1, as Apple Music 1, and launched two new stations. Both propose exclusive shows from artists like the Backstreet Boys, Ciara, Alanis Morissette, Snoop Dogg and Carrie Underwood. And the streaming service won't be stopping there, suggests Apple Music vice president, Oliver Schusser: "Now, Apple Music radio provides an unparalleled global platform for artists across all genres to talk about, create, and share music with their fans, and this is just the beginning. We will continue to invest in live radio and create opportunities for listeners around the world to connect with the music they love," he said at the time.