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Book Review: An In Depth Guide To Hiring A Music Publicist

The post Book Review: An In Depth Guide To Hiring A Music Publicist appeared first on Hip Hop Enquirer Magazine, LLC.

So, you have decided to hire a music publicist (PR) company to promote your project. You’ve written the check – now all you have to do is sit back and become famous, right?
Er, not so much. In addition to the obvious fact that there are absolutely, positively no guarantees that even the best PR campaign will be successful, there are many things you can do to help – and hurt – the progress of said campaign. To get more bang for your PR buck and help your music PR company out, keep the following in mind: Make Sure Your PR Company Has The Materials They Need – If they ask you for 50 promo CDs out of their jewel cases, don’t say, “here’s 100 copies of my album with full liner notes in a colored jewel – I thought that would be better” or “no one listens to CDs anymore! Here’s an MP3.” Your PR company requests the things they request for a reason, so it’s best to defer to their expertise – that is why you’re paying them after all. Likewise, if they ask for new photos for you to update your site or anything else, the sooner you do it, the sooner they can get to work. Keep Them Updated – Booked a new show? Tell your PR company. Decide to release a single? Tell your PR company. Got your friend at the local paper to write a review? Tell your PR company. Don’t expect them to keep up with your news via your website, newsletter, social networking platform or anything else. No matter how much they like your music, you can’t communicate with them like they are your fans. They need to be the first to know when something happens, both so they can use it to promote your music and so they don’t sound like morons when a journalist informs them about some news regarding your project that they found elsewhere. Let Them Do Their Jobs – If you have a personal relationship with a journalist/blogger/other media person, and you think that an email from you would be better than an email from your PR company, then tell your PR company that you will cover that person so they don’t. Otherwise, don’t try to jump in the mix, follow-up with people that your PR company has approached about your project or anything else. Journalists get TONS of emails and calls daily from people looking for coverage/reviews. It doesn’t help to double up. An email from you when your PR company has already reached out will almost always be confusing, be annoying and actually hurt your chances of getting the coverage you want. It may seem like a call from you would encourage someone to give you that coverage, but really, no one – not your PR company and not you – can MAKE someone write about your project. Instead, at best, you’ll be putting the journalist and the PR company in an awkward position. At worst, you’ll annoy someone so much that you’ll help them decide once and for all NOT to write about you. Be Honest – One of the most embarrassing things you can do to kill your career is get caught lying to a journalist or reporter. When doing an interview you should have already been prepped by your PR company as to how to answer certain uncomfortable questions. Its always best not to answer a question than to get caught in a lie. A seasoned reporter has many contacts in their profession and fact checking is a very important part of what they do. A publicists’ job is already difficult and they should not have to figure out how to cover up one of your lies. Be honest with them and together you and your publicist can figure out the best way to handle difficult questions. Be Available – Nothing is worse for a PR company than to set up an interview for one of their clients’ and then to get a call from the writer that no one answered the phone/answered the email questions/showed up for the interview. You may not get another chance, so if you tell your PR Company you can be available at a certain time, do it. Be Patient and Realistic – PR campaigns can move slowly, and some may end up not moving at all. Brainstorming about new approaches with your PR Company is a good thing. However, remember to be patient and realistic about how your campaign is coming along. Any number of factors, including the time of year of the campaign, the other releases you’re competing for coverage with, how early you started your campaign and whether or not this is your first big PR push, can affect the success and speed of success of your campaign. You’ll have a much smoother relationship with your PR Company if you work with them to develop a plan to try to tackle your obstacles instead of expecting them to magically make your obstacles disappear. Never Put Your Team In A Compromising Position – PR firms are like lawyers and accountants in the sense that they have to maintain a certain code of conduct. You should NEVER ask them to do anything that could be perceived as unethical or illegal. Their reputation is above all why you hired them in the first place. Why would you want to do anything to harm them in the first place? Don’t Play Let’s Make A Deal with A Publicists’ Fee – Lawyers are successful because of their understanding of the law. Accountants are successful because they understand how to develop financial systems. Publicists on the other hand are successful because of their contacts and relationships they have established in their career. These are considered intangible assets for a potential client especially one who has very little of his or her own and they must understand those relationships comes with a price and are not to be given away like a piece of candy. Ask yourself this question; would it be fair to ask your criminal attorney to defend you in a murder trial at a discounted rate? Is it wise to have your CPA track your finances at a reduced fee even though he is saving you money in the long run? Then why is it right to ask a publicist to reduce their fee to help you achieve your goal as a successful artist when their services are just as invaluable as the two previous examples? Their job is not to figure out how you are going to pay them, on the contrary that is your responsibility. Remember that a Publicist can’t do their job effectively off a promise to pay at a later date. That type of thinking is just pure foolishness and unrealistic. What Type of Fees to Pay Your Music Publicist – While fees a publicist will charge may vary depending on their geographical location, typically an experienced Publicist will charge an unsigned artist $1500.00 – $2000.00 per month and a junior publicist fee is around $10.00 per hour. At that rate, you should expect a Publicist to devote about 30 hours a month on your particular project. Please note that if you are a signed artist to a major record label, those fees will be much higher depending on the publicist you are working with. Here is a brief list of veteran music publcists around the United States: The Britto Agency (New York City)
135th Street Agency (New York)
Buzz Publicity (New York)
Dennis Byron Management & Publicity (Atlanta)
Enchanted PR (Atlanta)
Toni Thompson Publicity (Los Angeles)
Patti Webster Agency (New Jersey)
Branded PR (Atlanta)
Tamiko Hope of Word Ink PR (Atlanta)
Tracy Nguyan (New York City) Nicole Garner of The Garner Circle* (Specialty is producing themed events for artists to help build brand awareness) This is just a small list of the many talented publicists we have worked with over the years who work directly with recording artists. If you would like your name added to the list, send me an email at, and we will check your credentials and potentially add you to the list. Dennis Byron has been in the music business for over 20 years as an accountant for Polygram Records as well as a music journalist for various Hip Hop publications. In addition to being the current Editor-in-Chief for Hip Hop Enquirer Magazine, Dennis is the President of Dennis Byron Management & Publicity. He has consulted with various artists and companies in the areas of entertainment, publicity and crisis management. His work has appeared in The Source, Vibe, Down Magazine, Essence, Blackmen’s Magazine, Upscale Magazine, NY Daily News, MTV News, Hip Hop Weekly, Don Diva Magazine, US African Eye, The Final Call, Amsterdam News, and a host of popular blog sites throughout the United States & abroad. The post Book Review: An In Depth Guide To Hiring A Music Publicist appeared first on Hip Hop Enquirer Magazine, LLC. View full post on Hip Hop Enquirer Magazine, LLC #b4inc #hhs #gregorydevans #hackerforhire

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