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Everyone “talks the talk” and “walks the walk” in the music industry but few really have those “pedigree papers” earned by hard work, success, talent and solid credibility plus the track record needed to accomplish the job of getting a group or artist exposure in the medias. Medias are used to being called by many different publicists however they work with a select bunch of them and the rest are called “secondary sources” whereby their level of relationship with radio, written medias etc is not developed enough to get an artist seen or heard.

Good publicists can make or break a new or established artist and they are expensive and some cost more than $10,000 just for working on a band for 1 month. Most bands depend on their labels to pay the costs of their promotion however in today’s online industry, it is harder and harder to get those promotional $$ unless your sales are commensurate or justify it.

The way to go about finding a good publicist is to see who is out there in your area and look at their track record of clients that they represent. It will be obvious to you if you see names you know whereby they are the publicist behind these bands or artists. The younger publicists are hungrier for exposure however they are also not the first ones that Medias trust or go to for credible coverage. These young bloods usually partner with more well-known publicists which is also fine.

I recently had an artist that I wanted to have reviewed in a major newspaper in Chicago (The Times), as they were doing a show there. I used an agency who had worked with REM and others in order to get some results however in the end and after spending a good deal of money, the exposure before and after the show was minimal and I was quite disappointed. All of this to say that even when you use the best out there is no guarantee that something will materialize.

Music and creative fields are the “school of hard knox” and we live and learn by experience and by our successes. It is always good to put money on publicity or a good publicist as they can open up other more difficult doors to Agents and Record A&R people by what they write. I say, work within your own budgets, be realistic but most importantly, BE SAVVY AND INFORMED. Know what you can or cannot expect from a Publicist and this way you will not be let down.. Just because I did not get my review in the Chicago Times (The #1 Chicago Newspaper) I still got other very good exposure from this publicist, however it was expensive and probably not worth the money I paid. However if you don’t try, then you don’t know ….

  1. When your band or you as an artist are going to do a show or tour, my suggestions are to call local publicists or publicists in the area of the show and see what they can do for you in terms of exposure. Go with the publicist(s) who like what you do and know how to sell you to the medias.
  2. Work within your own budgets and let the publicist know that you are restricted by money so that they do not try to give you their high end sales pitch
  3. Look at their track record and see who they have represented to see if their musical tastes are in line with your own sound. Sometimes a good publicist is more Pop Driven and less Alternative Driven and therefore you need to choose the one who suits your sound and where you want to be seen and heard.
  4. Lastly, there are very good articles on the net about how to do a good interview for a journalist and you should try to be very conscious of who you are, the image that you are trying to project and lastly the message that you want to leave a reader regarding your music.
  5. Make sure that any publicist tries to get industry people to come to your shows like Record A&R, Booking Agencies etc
  6. There are many good articles on the net about choosing a good publicist and you should read those who you feel can help your cause.

The best common sense publicist in the end is YOU as you have everything to gain by trying to get good press coverage and everything to lose when you don’t, as you want people to talk about your band or you. You live and die by your art and your music is subjective and open to judgement by all who review your CD or see you live in concert. You need to be confident, proud and yet artistically interesting and down to earth / approachable.

Publicists are business people and they will try to get the most remuneration they can for you to employ their services. If you set the bar right away and create a great relationship with them through your music then anything can be negotiated or possible. I have seen bands negotiate amazing deals with some of the best publicists simply by them liking the music and what you do.

When you finally hire someone to do your press and promotion, let them do their work and do not inundate them with daily emails or material as this is a huge turn off. They will ask you for information and materials on you or your band and once those are delivered then back off and let them do their work. If they need you then they’ll call you. Big name publicists sometimes don’t do the work themselves or only work on their biggest clients. Make sure of who you are working with before signing on the dotted line as a secondary publicist is not the same as the one whose name is on the door.

Lastly, never give any service industry all of the money up front. Negotiate good terms of payment that you can manage and always leave a chunk for the end so to be sure that they have delivered their services as discussed.

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