New Artists Do Not Need A Publicist
Being an artist does not mean you need a publicist or PR. I have worked with artists in different genres, industries, of differnt calibers, and one conclusion I can safely make is, everything does not work for everyone. When I am working with my indie clients or less known talent one of the first things they say they need or want is someone handing their public relations (PR).
Now do not get me wrong, I am happy that artists understand the value that a publicist and publicity can bring, but many artist rush into calling someone their publicist or hiring PR without fully understanding what a publicist's job is, or how much a good one can cost.
If you are unaware let me help break is down for you, publicity is just one aspect of public relations.
Publicity concerns a company, organization or individual’s presence in the media, these can include news stories, articles and event information etc..
Publicity creates public awareness and attention around a brand, and publicists gain publicity for their clients by promoting. Unlike public relations, publicity is used solely to attract attention. It differs from PR in the sense that public relations focuses on more than just public attention.
Now, I must make it known that I have worked with many publicists in the past and present, included the woman who has been Cyndi Lauper's publicist for the last 1o years. I have also done PR for artists and brands alike. Some of my industry peers may even be upset with me making this post, but like iI've said multiple times, to me 'Good business is always personal', meaning, I try to look out for the best interest of the artist/client at all times, and if that means keeping money out of my pocket, then so be it.
So let's get right into it!
When you are a new artist in the early stages of building a core audience, sometimes PR should be the last time on your mind, simply because no one knows who you are....YET.
Now I know those reading this are thinking , " well duh, that's what a publicist job is, to get people to and media aware of an artist" and you are wrong and right. Yes, a publicist does help you get coverage, and tell your story to the media, BUT it is not their job to help you build an audience, get streams , find your market, fill up a venue, get you shows, or increase your followers. All of these things are done by managers, brand strategists, social media managers, or marketing consultants/teams.
If you are working with a consultant or agency like Akin Consults, that CAN facilitate all these things then GREAT, but if you are going to a publicist to do all these things for you while only paying them for " PR" then there needs to be a reevaluation of funds and priorities.
The Music Is First
When working with emerging artists who ask for PR and my first question to them is "can you send me your top 3 songs, bio and/or EPK?" If they have these things, then I listen to their music and 6/10 times the music is never completely mixed/master to the best of its ability. Red flag #1.
Stop allowing people you want to help take your music/craft to the next level hear music/product when it is is not completely finished or up to par. How can you want your music to be pitched to sites, request interviews or be brought up in conversations if the foundation is not sturdy.
Another thing artists need to realize is, although you are the artist, your reputation is not the only one at stake. When publicists take your music and start shopping it around or connecting dots for you, they are also co signing you, so at the very least make sure your song/track/mixtape/album is listenable. No one wants to hear " I can't tell if I like the song or not, it's not mixed well." Trust this happens a lot because proper engineering can and will change a whole song.
Aside from making sure the music is up to par, when you are a new artist who is still figuring out your target audience, your market, paying someone to represent you does not make the most sense because even if you get all the coverage in the world, do you have an audience that cares? Who will read the article? Do you have warm bodies that will watch your interviews or show up at your shows?
Do not work backwards. grow the audience, build the content, then get PR during or after all of that, never before.
I always recommend getting a project manger, or brand strategist FIRST before hiring a publicist. You need to make sure all of your content , assets ( vides, EPK, pro material, website, etc) is in order before reaching out and pitching music.
Artists tend to lack organization, and a project manager can assist in making sure all of the moving pieces are actually working efficiently and effectively before adding other people, like a publicist to the team.
Secure the foundation, so you can secure the bag.
If you are an artist or business owner looking to get your music, brand, or business moving in the right direction please contact us at Akin Consuls !