For many artists, being listened outside their home country is a dream. This dream is quite achievable if you follow certain rules. Indeed, each country has its own rules, whether in terms of radio formatting, TV formatting and popular music styles. To help you develop your career in France and get your first fans, we asked a few questions to an expert, Ryad, author of the music strategy blog “Up For Music” and French Music Consultant since 2009 who lives in the USA.
Ryad has worked on the musical promotion (PR) of several artists like Alice Merton, the famous DJ Steve Aoki, Kadebostany, Boostee, Parov Stelar, Gala, Bastian Baker and Elektric Park, the largest electronic music festival in France.
- Ryad, are the American and French music promotion markets different?
Indeed, the two markets are totally different on several points. The first point is the quota of French-speaking music. Radio stations in France are required to broadcast a minimum of 40% of songs in French.
This point therefore reduces the chances of other songs (in English and other languages) being broadcast on the radio. But nothing is impossible for a new artist.
- What are the chances for an American artist to break into France?
You should know that most of the English broadcasted songs in France are from American productions! So they are strong in the sense that the French people love the music of American artists.
Every artist can have a chance, if they have a clear strategy from the beginning.
- What do you mean by a clear strategy?
There are several ways to promote music. A basic campaign will consist of listening to a title and deciding to work with the artist on ways to promote it. We contact radio stations, TV’s… and wait for their feedback.
The other strategy is to work hand in hand with the artist even if his song is already produced. Adapting a song to the French market is not something new, many artists, such is the case this year of the Irish artist “Gaving James” who got a duo with the French artist Philippines. It was one of the most played song this year in France !
- How to adapt an American song to the French market?
As explained above, 40% of the songs broadcasted on radio must be in French, but not really. Each track must have a sung duration of 51% in French to be part of the French quota, that leaves 49% of expression in English possible!
When you adapt, especially for new talent, an American artist can record a duet with a French artist so as not to be penalized by quotas and don’t have to sing in French !
When you’re a young talent, it’s a great way to make yourself known.
- So basically, we do a duet with a French artist and we’re broadcasted on the radio?
Not exactly! Having a song adapted to quotas does not mean that it will be broadcast! Radio stations in France, like many in the USA, have a TOP 40, which means that there are only 40 different songs played each day!
Beyond the work to be done to find an artist for a duo, it is also necessary that the song corresponds to the style of music broadcasted. For example, we never had a Country music song in a Top 10 in France, if my memories are good.
In addition to radio stations, the Internet is a good way to communicate, that does not have any limitations in terms of songs promoted per day, as for radio stations.
There is a lot of notoriety work to do beforehand, such as making the artist known on music sites and blogs, on streaming platforms in France… it’s all the work we do with the agency I have been working with, Music Media Consulting, for 15 years now.
Don’t be afraid to get started, you have to start from scratch!