In search of the ideal music format

How to choose the best music format to generate listeners for your digital radio station? The question is difficult because the competition is almost infinite in a world where dozens of new radios are created every day, as if all the good ideas, the good concepts, were all already taken!

There are marketing, communication, social networks, referencing… So many ways to stand out. But beforehand, there is above all the content, i.e. your musical programming, the choice of musical styles, artists, titles, and the way to program them. Here are a few ideas to guide you in the construction of your project.

Which musical direction to choose?

Vast question. Digital radio opens up all possibilities, all niches can be exploited. Digital radio has made it possible to break the FM formats that have been alive for decades (Adult Contemporary, Easy Listening, Active Rock, 80’s Hits…) and nothing is forbidden anymore. Nevertheless, it is necessary to choose a general tone, a thread that can guide your musical choices. It is up to you to decide, but the general principle is to take an alternative path, which allows you to move away from the mainstream, without becoming too pointed. Otherwise, don’t copy FM, but don’t fall into a niche with too little potential.

The mix of genres

To gather a maximum number of listeners, you will have to skillfully mix certain musical genres from the same family. Choosing a single genre is a bit risky. Indeed, it seems a little dangerous to launch into a 100% reggae radio, at the risk of only addressing a rather restricted audience. A lot of people like reggae, but how many are willing to listen to “only” reggae. Very few in fact, or for a relatively short time, which may affect the listening time of your radio station. On the other hand, let’s ask the question: what kind of music do reggae fans like? Rock? soul? funk? It’s up to you… But it is with this type of thinking that you will write your editorial line, the musical identity of your radio station. Philippe Thévenet, the founder of Radio Meuh, one of the leading digital radios in France, explained in Libération (in french): “Our base is black music, around groove and funk. But it’s a fairly broad definition, we don’t forbid anything. We play old disco stuff, electronic music, but not so much new stuff. It’s polished programming, but not too crazy and not too specialized. We pay a lot of attention to it. »

The choice of artists

It will follow naturally from the choice of your editorial line. Here again, you must know how to act with balance. Don’t deprive yourself of very well-known artists who fit into your editorial line, but don’t abuse it either. They will just serve as reference points. On the other hand, it seems counter-productive to broadcast only independent artists, at the risk of offering totally confusing programming. On the brighter side, whatever the mix you determine, you can present your radio as a platform for showcasing new talent, which can only enhance your image.

The choice of titles

It’s the same as for artists, don’t abuse the classics but place some from time to time (1 to 2 per hour?). Above all, before including it in your playlist, listen to each track and ask yourself if it corresponds to your editorial line if it is part of the “musical family” that your radio station has created. Finally, if the quality is important, quantity is just as important. If listeners are turning more and more to web radio, it’s because they’ve gotten tired of listening to the same songs on traditional music radio stations. A playlist of 2500/3000 titles, regularly renewed, will be ideal.

Have your own rotation rules

Precise rotation rules have existed in radio for a very long time and we have already talked about them here. If you can fully apply them, nothing prevents you from creating your own rules. Rotation rules allow you to assign, in general, a daily broadcast frequency to each title by putting each title in a tray that is more or less broadcast. But you can simply use them to dose your programs (25% jazz, 25% soul, 40% lounge, 10% gold for example). The key is to compose a program that is both homogeneous and enjoyable over time. Shoutcast’s RadioManager music boxes, as well as clocks and day templates, will allow you to do this easily.

Work on fluency and listening time

For your radio to be enjoyable over a long period, it is important to know how to accompany the listener on his working day, his car journey, his… shower, by respecting a simple principle: never get tired but never shock. The different styles you propose should follow one another naturally and without the tempo going from single to double. For the sequences, it is necessary to know how to vary, not to do systematically, jazz then lounge, not to give the impression of repetitive mechanics. Shoutcast’s RadioManager’s clocks allow this easily.

Now it’s up to you to create the editorial identity of your radio station. Once you have your idea in mind, get started! Don’t forget that you can create, program, and broadcast your radio very easily thanks to Shoutcast and its RadioManager, which is an ideal tool. It’s up to you!