Up Close: Powderfinger Promotions

Top Indie Radio Promotion Firm:

Since its launch in 1994, Powderfinger Promotions––named after founder David Avery’s favorite Neil Young song––has been one of North America’s most renowned indie radio promoters and PR firms, cultivating success for its artists via radio promotion, publicity and tour support via traditional and new media. The company has relationships with over 600 college, AAA, Americana, jazz and jam band stations, and hundreds of press contacts.

Under Avery’s leadership, Powderfinger was voted the College Radio Promoter of the Year for two years in a row by CMJ New Music Report. The company also promoted the No. 1 jazz albums of the year at CMJ for three straight years, and has helped numerous artists chart in Relix/Jambands.com, CMJ, Americana Music Association, NACC, FMQB AAA and other influential charts. Though Powderfinger has promoted projects for high-profile artists like 311, Moe, Steve Winwood, String Cheese Incident and Robert Randolph, their “bread and butter” is indie and unsigned acts––including The Dresden Dolls, Charlie Hunter Trio, The Sterns, John Brown’s Body and Michelle Shocked.

Enduring Impact of Terrestrial Radio:

Avery, who founded the Boston-based company in 1994, before the onset of the digital and streaming age, shares an enduring truth about the way independent music reaches its targeted audiences: “Terrestrial radio doesn’t go away. For all the many times it’s been declared dead and irrelevant, and even though it’s no longer the exclusive arena for exposure, it’s still the primary avenue for music discovery, ahead of Spotify and YouTube. What hasn’t changed about our business is that it thrives on relationships and word-of-mouth. Our job on behalf of our clients is still to get people at community, college and indie radio stations to listen to and hopefully expose the music we send them. Radio remains the best way to drive people to live shows, still above Spotify and YouTube. And since the pandemic hit, we’ve seen a 10 percent uptick in listenership to these kinds of stations. With nobody able to tour, people are still hungry to hear new music.”

Organic Origins:

Avery’s background includes a year of study at the University of Lancaster (England), a M.M. in musicology from New England Conservatory, two years of doctoral studies at CUNY Doctoral Center in NYC, being a radio DJ and serving as an AAA columnist for CMJ New Music Report. After working initially as music editor for Schwann Publications, he helped to promote a new album by a Boston-based friend of his. He put together a list of college radio stations, picked the brains of people running established music promo firms and started sending out CDs. When word got out about Avery’s initial success in this arena, other bands started calling him for promotion––and soon it dawned on him that he could develop and incorporate an official business.

Publicity, Tour Support & Web Skills:

Radio promoter and web developer Will Glass joined the Powderfinger team in 2014 and has since contributed to developing and updating the company website along with assisting in music promotions. Director of PR/Social Media guru Scott Feldman was the founder of D.I.Why, which brought common sense and measurable results to marketing and publicity via social media campaigns, PR, direct-to-fan integration and strategic marketing. Radio promoter Brett Wilson brings years of experience to the table as an artist, manager and record label owner who contacts radio stations, sets up interviews and offers quality advice.

Contact Powderfinger Promotions, 800-356-1155