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Tag Archives: Music Publicist

In a report from NYU’s Stern Business School, researchers found that you could seriously affect CD sales by being mentioned in a blog. 40 blog mentions could increase sales by as much as 3 times, and 250 mentions could achieve 6 times the expected sales. Wow. Of course, it can’t just be Fred’s blog which is only read by his Mum and her cat.

A small provisio is that these mentions must be before your album is released. Is that significant? It seems to be. Sounds absolutely trivial doesn’t it, but stop a moment and think about it. How many independent artists can wait, or afford to wait 4 months before releasing their work. Because that is what it means. If you work with a Publicist, they will normally insist that you let them have the finished product (not a demo) 3-4 months ahead of the release date. That seems an awfully long lead time when you want to see some revenue

Having read the NYU paper, I’m now including approaching blogs too as part of the marketing mix. It is probably too late to get them to review the album now (although I won’t be shy in asking), but building those blog relationships will be really useful for the next album release. This PR task is much more personal, so whilst I might entrust it to an Intern, I wouldn’t hand it to a Publicist. Business is about building relationships over a period of time, which is why the longer you stay in business the more likely you are to remain in business.

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Publicity: Information that concerns a person, group, event, or product and that is disseminated through various media to attract public notice.

I’ve been working on publicity for Aaron’s album, american [fever] dream, for about 5 months. The publicity being sought is album reviews and interviews in traditional press (magazines), and new media (ezines, blogs, internet radio and podcasts). The campaign has two purposes: firstly to publicise the new album, and secondly to continue to build Aaron’s profile.

A number of music magazines are monthly, bi-monthly and even quarterly. They plan several issues ahead, so a bi-monthly or quarterly could easily take 6 months to publish your review. New media is instant, isn’t it? Well, no. They too can take the same time scales to publish. Having said that, Red Hot Velvet reviewed the album and published within a week.

The normal route to publicity is to hire a Publicist. You are looking for someone who fits your genre. That way you are going to lever their established contacts and target the most receptive audience. Outsourcing your publicity to a Publicist can cost between a few hundred to several thousand dollars a month. Some will work on a fixed price basis for a particular project, e.g. X dollars to contact Y Reviewers. Note that is not X dollars for Y reviews, publicity doesn’t work that way.

I have worked in outsourcing from both sides. The most difficult aspect of any outsource relationship is managing expectations. It is the client’s job to say what they want, and it is the outsources’ role to make sure that the client’s expectation are achievable, realistic and most importantly, fit within the budget. Getting something in writing is a must for both parties – it is a great conflict resolution tool. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, just a simple document with a time line and bullet points. Make sure the document deals with handling of expenses, so you are not surprised by implementation costs such as mailing, photocopying and printing.

Agree appraisal points and how they will be communicated. This can be done with a quick email, phone call, or face-to-face meeting. Attaching a payment schedule to these appraisal points is a great technique to focus your supplier’s mind. Be absolutely sure what is expected of you so you can deliver your side of the project. Do not underestimate the work involved in managing this relationship from both sides. I was once invited in by a difficult client to review our recent project. He refused to pay until the project was completed. It was only when I pulled out the 18 page proposal, which he had signed off on, that he sheepishly agreed that what he was asking for had never been part of the project deliverable.

You could do all the work yourself, but it will be a slow grind. I like to take some of these tasks on myself just so I know what they entail. Before engaging with a Publicist try contacting 20 of your target magazines/ezines/blogs. You’ll get a real feel for what is involved which will make managing the campaign and interacting with the Publicist much easier. And who knows, you may even manage a few reviews of your own.