Publicity & Promotions25.07.2010
Publicity & Promotions
Getting noticed in the music business is no easy task since an untold number of bands are out there trying to win the admiration of the same music fans, get written about by the same magazines, online media and bloggers and get their music added at the same influential radio stations. Publicists and promotions professionals like Indie Power spend all their time trying to get the artists they represent as much media exposure as possible.
Publicists' role in life is to get media exposure for the artists they represent. A good publicist will be able to develop a story around their artist then leverage their existing relationships with influential magazines, newspapers, online media, bloggers, TV executives and specialty radio shows to get them exposure. Securing a featured article, positive review or interview with influential media has a very big impact on artist awareness, music sales and show attendance. Publicists might work directly for the record label or be independent and hired for a specific project or release. The publicist will typically be responsible for planning and coordinating a PR campaign for an artist around the release of a new CD. They will develop and good bio for the artist and the new release and a pitch letter that makes the writer's job much easier. Publicists will create a list of target list writers who typically like and write about the genre or style of music the artist has created then send them a promotional copy of the CD prior to it being released. The goal is to get as much press coverage as possible in the form of feature articles, interviews or reviews as close as possible to the street date or date of release of the new CD to build momentum for sales of the CD. The publicist will provide a weekly report to the label and artist showing which targeted writers have agreed to cover or review the new release or interview the artist.
Radio airplay is a very important in driving artist awareness and sales. The definition of radio airplay has expanded from traditional AM & FM stations to now include stations that simulcast on the web, to web only stations and satellite radio. Radio promotions people are responsible for getting the artist's release as much airplay as possible on as many stations as possible. Radio promotions are sometimes handled directly by the record label plus often times the record company will hire independent promoters to work a release as well. A good radio promoter will work hard to help build long-term relationships with the artists they promote and the program directors and DJ's at the influential stations in each market. The radio promotions group responsible for promoting the record will create a list of radio stations to target that typically play the artist's genre of music and are influential in their given market then send them an advance promotional copy of the CD with the goal of getting the station to add one or more of the tracks into their regular rotation or include one in a specialty show. When the promotional CD is sent it usually includes information on the date the track or tracks can be added, which tracks on the CD the record company is pushing and if there are any tracks that include language that could get the station in trouble with the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) if they play it on air. A report is generated each week for the record company showing the number of stations adding the artist's song or songs into their rotation and how many times they play it each week.
Radio promotions will set up CD giveaways or artist interviews to promote a new release and arrange on air performances and concert sponsorships or ticket giveaways with radio stations when the artist is on tour in each market.
Touring is an important way for an artist to not only make a connection with their existing fans and gain new fans but also can be a good source of revenue from ticket and merchandise sales. Touring also has a proven direct effect on music sales (both online and retail sales in the markets where the artist plays) and radio airplay.
Promoting a tour is critical to getting fans to attend the show and can be the difference between a tour making and losing money. Tour promotions basics include making sure the venues have posters advertising the artist and show date up prior to day of the show and getting flyers distributed around town announcing the venue, date and time of the show. It's important to communicate the artist's tour dates to their fans by posting the dates on the artist's website and Myspace page, record label website, and venue website plus regularly email tour dates to the artist's fan email list.
A well publicized tour will have artist interviews, articles and new release reviews in the local press in the days leading up to the show and arrange on air interviews, in studio performances, ticket or CD giveaways at the local radio stations. It's also important to coordinate tour stops with the distributor to make sure the artist's CD is available in the area music stores and that there is adequate retail advertising.
Lifestyle promotions and marketing is a growing trend as record labels and artist continue to diversify the ways they reach music fans and generate new revenue streams. Lifestyle promotions often includes any type of marketing or awareness campaign that falls outside the traditional marketing channels for music and include placement in movies, TV shows, commercials or sponsorships. Companies like Ocean Park Music Group work to place and license independent music for use in movies, TV and commercials on behalf of the copyright holder. Having an artist's music played in a retail store with an attractive demographic or in a hip club can be a great way to build awareness for an artist. DMX and Muzak specialize in providing music for retailers tailored to their specific demographics of their customers and companies such as Sin City Marketing coordinate special events such as listening parties and get the music of the artists they represent into the hands of the right people at influential clubs and retailers that play music.
New Media Promotions
The importance of new media promotions continues to grow in importance as the digital side of the music industry continues to gain influence with music fans buying habits. Digital retailers, online video outlets and mobile providers now have artist features and promote special features or exclusive content. Many labels now have promotions people dedicated exclusively to getting exposure for their artist roster with the constantly growing number of new media outlets.
How to Buil Your Bands Electronic Press Kit
Much has changed for musicians with the rise of Social Media from marketing to artist-fan relations to the distribution of music. This has forced artists to rethink how they communicate with labels, the press and fans. A traditional form of presenting music to industry stakeholders is the press kit. These typically have included a demo, photos, printed reviews, biography, etc. But with the various resources available with Web 2.0, such as MySpace Music, artists essentially have an electronic press kit that is available to anyone at all times. This doesn't mean that all artists use their MySpace page for this reason or even should. Instead they should use it as one element in creating an electronic press kit (EPK) versus a traditional press kit. The following are 3 simple steps towards creating your very own EPK:
1. Create a MySpace Music or Website
Thanks to MySpace, it's no longer absolutely necessary for musicians to have their very own website. Instead, they can use their MySpace to showcase their music/videos/pictures and provide any additional biography/tour related information. Having a website doesn't hurt though because it could make you look more professional and allow you to be found through search engines. Whatever you decide to do, the link you provide in your EPK to your MySpace or website should include your work because, ultimately, this is what labels/venues care about the most. Whether you provide a link to your MySpace page or to your website, make sure that the music is easy to find. The idea is to get them to voluntarily listen to your music rather than feel like it's being forced upon them, which could potentially turn them off right away. However, MySpace isn't the only tool you can use. YouTube is increasingly popular and not only can you display your music but can even include a video of yourself talking about it.
2. Create a "One Sheet"
In addition to your music you should include some information about yourself but limit it to one side of a single page. This page can include a short bio, marketing plans, tour dates and any other information you deem relevant and important. You can use bullet points or titles/subtitles to make the text more organized and easier to read but try to keep it as simple as possible and not too fancy. Labels receive an overwhelmingly large amount of press kits all the time, which is why it's important to be concise and to the point. If you do decide to send your press kit via snail mail, make sure it's not highly elaborate and easily accessible. In other words, don't shrink wrap your CD or fill your press kit with glitter.
3. Send Your EPK
Typically, there are two places you send your EPK to: venues and labels. If you're sending to a venue, they're going to want to know how many audience members you're going to bring. This information can be included in the e-mail before you link them to your press kit and/or MySpace Music page. If you're sending to a label, they're going to place emphasis on you as a brand. This means they will want to know if you've toured with any bigger acts, where you've played and where you're from. Again, you can touch on these in the e-mail and then expand on them in your EPK. Be sure to personalize the email and then follow up.