A friend of ours, who prefers not to be named, attended the Cape May Singer/Songwriter Conference in New Jersey last week-end. He summarized some very interesting pointers discussed by industry professionals at the meeting and sent them our way.
Today’s post is about Publicity and Press, and what bands should take into consideration when attempting to promote themselves through local media, social networks and A&R scouts.
Publicity and Press
How to stand out, and what you need to do to get and keep the attention of key people inside the industry
A note on “reviewers”
These are the folks with major and indie labels who ‘scout’ new music. It’s notable that many start-up web sites and companies make wild claims about getting their music in front of these reviewers. The simple fact is that, EMI for instance, records has just one reviewer employed for the entire east coast. Most labels have 1 reviewer per region (4 regions in whole country), and those reviewers aren’t hanging out in bars, waiting for you to show up. This is not necessarily as depressing as it sounds though, keep reading.
Advice from publishers, reviewers, writers, and broadcasters:
- First and foremost, you absolutely must have a hefty catalog, 50-100 original songs / jingles / whatever it is you do. Songs should have strong hooks, and AVOID all possible drug-out beginnings to songs. They want to hear a verse and a chorus (with or without a pre-chorus) with a good hook. They promised us, that they generally won’t make it past 7 seconds in a song if they haven’t heard any vocals yet, unless it’s the greatest intro ever… They admittedly have short attention spans and want you to get to the point, fast. Production value means almost nothing to them, it’s all in the vocals, musicianship, song arrangement, and HOOKS. Don’t send demos with instruments out of tune or bad vocal recordings. Make sure the performance is there, regardless of whether the production is there or not.
- Any contact with any communications industries (TV, radio, etc) is a GOOD thing. Build relationships. A publisher or licenser who knows who you are and has a “relationship” with you will always choose your music or project over any other artist who just sends emails and demos. Talk to them, keep it nice, don’t ever burn bridges (no matter how much you think they ignored you, or insulted you – often it’s a case of mis-read sentiments), send demos, press kits, and schedules of shows, live footage. ANY press kits or reviews, newspaper articles, TV/radio coverage and reviews are fantastic ways to get a publisher’s attention.
- Make sure to include contact information, especially your name and phone number. They are not going to bother digging through the internet to find you. They pretty much said “have your sh*t together”. Music reviewers and writers (many local and regional music magazines exist) should be a huge focus, many of them know TONS of inside publishers and even some reviewers, and if you blow them away, it can make all the difference. Develop personal relationships with them, and the people they know.
Embrace social networks
- Myspace bios should be:
- short, to the point
- address key points
- list accomplishments, use bullets to list and define them
!!Note!!: They also spoke about their hatred of these grandiose myspace pages that take forever to load, and how a simple and to-the-point page is far more positive than a page with dozens of videos, custom art, picture galleries, and widgets or whatever that slow it to a grinding halt. They pretty much said if it doesn’t load right up, they move on.
- fans want MORE, you have to give it to them.
- keep them updated regularly
- If they get dis-interested, they will move on.
Have defined goals for yourself / band
- Charity events are media gold. You can’t do wrong by playing them.
- Anything else in the area of public interest that makes a difference
- Add these events, and write-ups to your press kits
- Always grow your press kits, show you have a history
A little note on digital distribution
-Tunecore was strongly recommended by several panelists and industry folks.
That’s it for today’s post on Publicity and Press. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post on Protecting your Music where we will have a look at what assets bands must preserve to shell themselves from legal issues.
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