Industry Insights

Why Colleges Are an Independent Musician’s Goldmine

Why Colleges Are an Independent Musician’s Goldmine

by Kenny Love

Most musicians, independent or major, understand that the college market is one of their prime markets, if not their leading market for radio airplay and media coverage.

In contrast, however, most musicians do not seem to take complete advantage of this market and “milk it for all it is worth,” so to speak.

As an example, artists send their CDs to college radio stations and newspapers seeking radio airplay, feature interviews and/or music reviews. Even if you get airplay or press coverage, it is, at best, limited and short-lived.

However, since colleges also present the lowest rates for affordable and consistent advertising, musicians should take ongoing advantage of this market’s low-cost advertising rates through its various available media outlets.

In fact, many (if not most) musicians can afford to place a simple text line ad in a college newspaper that runs during the entire Fall and Spring school semesters (to economize, be sure to first select the college papers that publish weekly, as opposed to the ones that publish daily. You can always “move up” at a later time).

Doing so will keep your ad in front of college students, whereas, many students may have missed your airplay or press coverage.

Also, most college newspapers will also place your ad (at no additional charge) on their college newspaper websites, which is where many of the students read their school paper.

There’s no need to get into an expensive situation by running large display ads that include your photo or CD cover (students can see them when they visit your website, and eliminating the photos and CD cover from your ad piques their interest and causes them to visit your site).

At this point, the idea with the ad is to get the maximum results for the least cost.

You can limit your ad size to three text lines that simply consist of:

* Your band’s name * Your band’s genre description * Your website url

And, since college papers’ advertising sections tend to be fairly spacious, there is usually no need to worry that your ad will get “lost” among a glut of other ads (that is, unless a thousand musicians read this particular article and select the same college paper that you do). 🙂

The great benefit of the college market is that:

* It is diversified (practically, any genre is accessible)

* It is a HUGE market (The University of Texas alone has approximately 40,000 students during regular sessions)

* It is open-minded (meaning, it is ready and willing to give you a chance, whereby, much of normal society is jaded, cynical and doubting)

* One of the primary products college students spend their money on consistently throughout the year is *MUSIC*

This is a perfect time (October) to get started with setting up a regular advertising schedule with colleges, since students have settled down to a regular session for a few weeks now.

Again, don’t simply stop or be cut short of earning a great income from music sales all school year long by only going for college radio airplay or media coverage.

Take advantage of both free media publicity coverage as well as continuing sales through college media ads after the publicity has long disappeared.

And, a peripheral benefit is that, by continuing your ads in the school papers or on the school radio or television station, you should also get some regular gig interest from various campus organizations as well.

By the way…while you’re talking to college newspapers, be sure to also check with the college radio and television stations to learn what their ad rates are.

You may be very surprised to learn the positive sales results that you could have already been getting through colleges for some time by maximizing the potential of this market goldmine.

Kenny Love is president of, a multi-service music firm providing radio promotion, media publicity and more for independent musicians and recording artists. Get complete details at

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