321 Artists Meets Charlie Ashcroft
We are absolutely thrilled to say this week’s guest on 321 Artists Meets is Amazing Radio’s Charlie Ashcroft, king of new music. As well as his work in radio, Charlie is also a music curator for BT.
Playing live shows is one of the most important, and arguably exciting parts of being a musician, but when you’re not standing on that stage, you’ve got to find other ways of getting your music heard. Even today, radio can still be one of the most recognisable ways of getting your music heard by a brand new audience. Whether it’s a regional radio, or world- known station, getting your music heard by the producers is the first step and when you’re submitting your music along thousands of other musicians, you need to stand out.
Charlie: Simplicity is often the key! When there are lots of submissions to listen to, it’s good for me to come across something that’s concise and to the point, letting the music do the talking. Saying that, I always think it’s nice to receive a little bit of background info on the artist or band in question; even you’re a brand new name and don’t have much of a “story” to tell, I appreciate knowing where you’re from, where you’ve been playing live and why you wanted to start making music in the first place. A picture is great, but not 100% necessary. I don’t need a breakdown of how many Spotify streams you’ve had and which radio stations you’ve already been featured on - it doesn’t matter who you are, or how much momentum you think you’re generating - if your song’s good enough, it’ll stand a great chance of getting played on any station that prides itself on supporting new music.
Charlie is a radio presenter at on one of the biggest radio stations for unsigned, emerging artists ‘Amazing Radio’. They give the opportunity for emerging musicians to be presented to an audience of lovers of music discovery, especially for tomorrow’s new finds.
Charlie: A lot of mainstream stations play new music, don’t get me wrong. But I find the majority of those stations who do, tend either to play new artists outside of daytime hours (limiting the audience size in the process), or usually stick to new releases from more established artists. So to have a station like Amazing who focus solely on emerging artists and new music from across the globe is hugely valuable.
It’s often the place where new artists hear themselves being played on daytime radio for the first time, or conduct their first radio interview, or play their first live radio session. These are good experiences in themselves – irrespective of how confident you are IRL or onstage, sometimes the process of being on the radio can be different, or nerve-wracking, for various reasons. Having a station like Amazing, or other like-minded outlets like Hoxton, Soho, Fubar, Reprezent, NTS and so on, provides an opportunity for newer artists to hone their “media skills” early on, rather than immediately being plonked in front of a mic on a national platform.
For me, the excitement of new music lies in the surprise! I’m always excited by the prospect of finding something new by an artist I haven’t encountered before. The fact that in two months’ time I could have another new favourite band, or a song in my most-played-of-2019 playlist by someone completely unknown to me right now, is such a buzz. And because Amazing works via a song uploader (http://amazingtunes.com), the chances of all that happening are much higher, all because you’re reliant on the artists themselves sending you music which might be your next hidden gem. I still get that genuine buzz from music discovery and being able to share new songs with people who care.
As well as working in radio, Charlie also works as a curator in music for BT. The work sees him curating the on-demand music video playlist for BT TV each week, while his relationship with the music team at BT Sport also puts him in a good position to recommend artists to be featured on BT’s various sports channels and promos. Sync opportunities are a new income avenue for musicians, and is something that should be made the most of. All adverts, VTs, and montages require accompanying music, and providing your pre-made track requires ittle work from you, but can lead to some incredible opportunities.
Charlie: With sync submissions, it’s important to have an idea of where you see your music fittingin. It’s all well and good saying “we think this would work well on a sports channel, or a TV soundtrack” or whatever, but try and explain why. Always think about which programme you feel your music’s suitable for and which part of the song in particular would work best (is there a moment where your feel like the instrumentation or production is at its strongest, or is there a certain lyrical hook which might lend itself well to the sentiment of what’s on TV?)
A bit like when approaching people about online, press or radio coverage, or a streaming service about a possible playlisting, it’s good to get an idea of what kinds of music the TV channel you’re pitching to is using already, to then be able to judge whether your music would fit in with that on-air identity or not.