So you're an independent musician, in other words, you're doing almost absolutely everything by yourself. You're the songwriter, the label, the graphic designer, the producer, the videographer, god knows what else... Oh yeah! You're the promoter, the publicist, the radio plugger, and the playlister. Oof, that's a lot of plates spinning. But, on the road to becoming an established artist, there's one particular plate that is so important that dropping it might just be make or break. Music marketing.
After spending hours in the studio and tweaking your tracks to be the best version of your sound, there's nothing worse than letting a lackluster release ruin the chances of it getting heard. That's where the publicists come in. Now... you might be thinking, "Well, what does a publicist do?" In general, music PR companies specialise in getting the word out to the public. Here at Decent Music, we offer a range of ways to help get your music out there, from digital publicity to radio plugging, to playlisting so there are loads of different avenues of music marketing to wander down. In this article, we will delve into the nitty gritty of how music PR can benefit you in your journey to making it big.
What Does Music PR Do For You?
“Aside from helping spread the word, whether that’s via press or radio, in purely logistical terms, it’s often far too time-consuming for a DIY artist to cover all the bases effectively themselves. That’s where the PR comes in.” - Geraint Jones of G Promo PR.
As a DIY musician, with all those plates spinning, paying for music PR is the right call when you need effective and proactive promotion for your project. Digital publicity is the main focus of a music marketing campaign and, quite honestly, unless you want to spend hours submitting pitch after pitch to blogs and playlist curators who might not even read the subject line let alone listen to your track, you need to let the pros do it for you. Music PR agencies will have their foot in the door at many of your favourite music magazines and if you want a shot at getting in there, employing a music PR company to help is probably the way to go.
Now, the next question you might be wondering is... "Why do I need to be on blogs? Doesn't everyone find new music on TikTok anyways?" The answer is... absolutely! When labels, promotors, and A&R scouts fall in love with your sound and go to google you, you best believe you want that first page to be bursting with content spotlighting you. Call it clout, credibility or whatever you want, digital publicity is going to make you look legit. Search engine optimisation is infiltrating every aspect of digital publicity, and your own personal brand is no different. And to go back to the initial question, it may seem old school but, yes, online music magazines are a tried and tested way of getting your name out there and finding new audiences. And a great music PR team will get you on the exact ones to do just that.
It's All In The Research
Sue Harris of Republic Media “It’s not just about acting as a messenger. A publicist can bring ideas and work with you to become the best artist you can be. It’s about experience. It’s knowing what works and doesn’t work.”
Okay, so we've covered "what does a publicist do?" But what about, how do you find one? There are a host of great music marketing companies out there, but finding the right one is key to amplifying your voice. Undertake some deep research into sourcing the right music PR, whether that’s mainstream or independent music PR. Often a smaller PR agency, with a proven track record of working within your artists of your genre and current exposure numbers will do much more for your career right now than a massive company spread too thin. At its heart, music PR is all about relations and you want to make sure you can have a great relationship with your music publicist. They'll get to know you, understand your vision, and figure out the best ways to execute that. As Sue Harris hinted, the best music publicists will be able to help you become the best artist you can be and figure out how to market that in the digital landscape of advertising.
Should you pay for promises? F**k no! Like any industry, there are always people who will take advantage of those just starting out. Independent music PR can be no different. Be realistic about what your goals are and how close you are to getting there. Yes, you may want to be the cover of CLASH magazine (don't we all?) but with one song out and one press shot you've got to be realistic as to how close you are to getting that slot. The best music PR company won't promise you the stars and give you a handful of dust. They won't promise you 100,000 streams and spam your Spotify with bots. They'll respect you, your music, and your business. They'll be realistic. There will be no bulls**t. And no bots. Ever.
You've Gotta Be Prepared!
When planning on working with a music PR company, you've got to plan ahead so they have ample time to do their thing. And do it well. There is no point in reaching out to a publicist a week before the release date and hoping for a miracle. You want to reach out at least a month or two before so that you can be sure you're going with the right place and give that place enough time to generate the hype you want. No matter how great your track is, your publicist will need time to plan and execute your tailor-made strategy. There's no point in paying for a rushed job.
Being prepared doesn't just mean with your track. Be prepared for the exposure. Think about the bigger picture; focus on the right timing to put to use a music PR company. If it's your first release, perhaps wait a while until you have a few songs out there to get the digital publicity they will offer you. Then, your newfound fans will have more content to love and stick around. Work on your social media exposure so that your new followers will have more to sink their teeth into. Book a couple of photoshoots so that you have a host of assets for your publicist to offer to online magazines. This doesn't mean you have to be a perfectly polished artist before you recruit the help of a PR pro, but it will mean the publicity you gain from them will last even longer and run a bit deeper. When paying for your PR, you want it to have the best possible outcome. Having a solid foundation for the music PR company to bounce off will only mean your campaign can reach higher heights than before.
It's All About The Hype
Music PR is all about building hype. Your upcoming release deserves just as much attention as you put into making the track. Through close connections with playlist curators, radio presenters, and magazine contributors music PR agencies can keep a plate spinning whilst giving you a hand free to focus on all the other aspects of being a DIY musician. Many independent musicians say that in itself is priceless. But, the call is up to you. Perhaps you want to work on your brand a bit more before reaching out or want another couple tracks stacking up your Spotify feed. Or, perhaps you're ready to take the leap and let a music PR publicist do the heavy lifting for you. Only you as the artist can decide. At the end of the day, there are 60,000 new songs uploaded onto Spotify every day (according to MBW). When you're ready, utilising the know-how of music PR publicists is a surefire way to not let your release fade into the background.