Over the last several years the music industry has changed so much, it can be difficult to keep up with the changing landscape, and even more difficult for an independent artist to generate a steady income stream.
Online streaming sites that pay fractions of a penny per song steam, dwindling CD sales and laughable gig pay are all unfortunate factors when it comes to making a living as a musician in this day and age.
Publicists are often asked to support projects/albums/tours by an artist without the artist fully understanding the benefits of having a publicist join the team, or what it is exactly that we do for a living. When the topic of remuneration comes up, it can often be the end of the conversation.
Publicists understand that an artist has invested countless hours songwriting, practicing, and slugging it out on the road – not to forget tens of thousands of dollars to record an album. It is a shame to think that all of that work and product is now sitting in a garage somewhere collecting dust and not out there in the world for fans to hear and for media and tastemakers to take notice.
I asked three esteemed colleagues for their opinions about investing in publicity and received some amazing responses. Contributions to this article are courtesy of Beverly Kreller of SPEAK Music (Canada), Simon Fauteux of SIX Media Marketing (Canada) and Frank Rozak of Frank Roszak Promotions (USA).
Why should an artist/label/band invest in publicity?
Beverly - Generally, it takes a lot of time, energy, blood, sweat, and tears to create an album. You love it like it’s your child. You want to make sure it gets heard by as many people as possible, and media work fast these days. Everyone wants the newest thing, NOW. These days, an album that’s already been out for a few months is too old for most media to pay attention to. Artists are busy writing, recording, and performing the music, as well as keeping up with the demands of a busy career, so there’s no time left for promoting. Not to mention that artists often feel uncomfortable promoting themselves. That’s where a publicist comes in. A publicist works at developing media relations, and knows who to target, and how to target certain media quickly, for the best and most timely coverage for your project. It’s not rocket science, but it definitely takes a well-developed skill set, as well as a strong sense of organization, and time, to do this kind of work.
Simon - Because publicity is a) an integral part of the process, as is songwriting, management and booking b) a necessary evil (of course)
Publicists are an interesting bunch: they know people and they how to get to them and this is precisely why they are needed. Any serious media will always prefer to deal with a publicist than deal direct with the artist so the real verdict will always come out. Publicists are also usually excellent psychiatrists and psychologists…
Frank - Excellent question, I believe that one of the first things and most likely the most important thing for an artist/label or band is for them to understand that this is a business like another business. Every business regardless of what they are selling in this case ie music, image, entertainment, they have to have a marketing strategy, they have to secure visibility and as much visibility as possible. In order to accomplish that they have to hire a professional in order to gain and maximize their exposure..No Exposure, No Business
About the Contributors
Speak Music is a Canadian publicity and promotions company, based in Toronto, Ontario. We specialize in musical genres from folk to indie, world music to jazz, country and blues to pop, and everything in between. With a focus on artist development, SPEAK Music has been providing encouragement and professional support to performing musicians, independent record labels, distributors, festivals, not-for-profit organizations and music charities since March, 2003.
SPEAK Music Director and PR professional Beverly Kreller is passionate about every project and client and has extensive media relations, artist relations, publicity, special event and production experience. Beverly has strong communications and writing skills and is a highly organized, motivated and results-oriented, enthusiastic worker. She is also a musician, having played in several bands and now in a duo called HOTCHA!.
www.speak-music.com / www.HOTCHA.ca (Websites under construction)
SIX Media Marketing Inc.
Created in 2009 by Simon Fauteux, the Montreal-based SIX media marketing inc. offers professional press / digital media relations, strategic consulting and web marketing services for the music industry.
Former Director of Radio, Promotion, & Press for Delta and Eclecto Groove Records is now available for hire for independent radio and press promotion. Roszak's multi-faceted background in the music industry includes over 25 years of experience as an award winning record producer and engineer, in addition to extensive involvement booking acts at many internationally acclaimed festivals around the world. If you are an independent artist serious about seeking representation for marketing your next project to radio and press, then you owe it to yourself to discuss your options with someone who can provide you with the necessary experience and industry connections to help take your music to the next level. Rozak is also a Keeping the Blues Alive Recipient for publicity (2014).