Music Business

Music Publicist Guide: What Does A Publicist Do For A Music Artist?

Photograph of the blog post author, Carla Johnson

Carla Johnson

5.7.2021

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The music industry is inundated with artists who are hoping to be successful, some with or without music publicists. Being noticeable among your peers requires talent, but it also involves strategic planning with promotion and public relations. The most popular artists understand the need for finding media outlets to cover their work but also how to choose publicists who can produce and implement a public relations strategy that is bespoke to their individual needs.

music publicist

There may be some myths around what a music industry publicist is and how they can help you. This article will help you to understand exactly what a music publicist can do to help advance your career as an artist.

Be sure to stick around until the very end so you don’t miss out on any key information!

What Is A Music Publicist?

music publicist working

A music publicist is the person who deals with media and public relations on behalf of a music group or a musician. Artists usually consult their publicist before releasing communications to the public.

The music publicist typically works with the musician’s booking agent, manager and lawyer in order to maintain the artist’s image. If the media is wanting an interview with an artist, the primary point of contact is the music publicist. He/she will oversee the interview and the way the communication is distributed to the public. 

Music publicists often issue statements to the media or will reply with ‘no comment’, depending on the question posed. It takes years to develop relationships and media contacts to be an efficient music publicist.

What Does A Publicist Do For A Music Artist? 

A good publicist discovers ways of getting the public to acknowledge their clients; this can be writing press releases, arranging special events, networking with sponsors, generating social media posts and progressing relationships with people in the media.

Publicists help clients reach people via press kits, which usually include photos, short bios, and information about social media presence. Music publicists who work in the industry know how to promote certain aspects of artists’ work.

Whether it be a tour, album release, event, or merchandise, frequently focused around a campaign executed over a set period of time.

Online Promotion

music publicist in office

Online music promotion is one best and most efficient ways to reach vast audiences and create interest. Music publicists work with writers, editors, publishers, social media users, content creators, and influencers.

They do this to generate reviews, profiles, interviews, podcasts, videos, social media posts. As well as other forms of media about the bands and musicians that they represent.

Radio Promotion

radio station on air

Music industry publicists understand how to get your music on the radio. Though online promotion is more frequent today, radio is still an important platform of sharing music with audiences throughout the country.

Music industry publicists are skilled at developing relationships with staff at radio stations which lets them ask hosts and producers to play clients’ music, deliver feedback on the music, and hold interviews with their clients.

Consulting

music publicist consulting

Music publicists know that dealing with the media is not necessarily natural for musicians. Music industry publicists can offer consultation and media training.

Tour & Event Promotion

tour manager

Music industry publicists are accomplished at promoting tours and events which bands and musicians are involved in.

By gaining media publicity for tours, publicists help connect audiences with the events and shows that they are most interested in.

Why Is A Music Publicist Important?

It’s not enough to only have great music, you also need a great story, and a music publicist can help shape it.

An album may have a strong theme to it such as falling in love and a publicist will find the distinctive points in that and play up the theme.

They Can Get You Features In Press Outlets

music publicist collaborating

Music publicists retain features in various places (such as blogs). Music industry publicists do this to ensure your music is out there and the message has been spread.

This helps with creating a brand image and is where your reviews, interviews, and guest blogs appear.

They Can Help With Spotify

spotify playlists

Music publicists can help you to land on a popular Spotify playlist. It’s still no easy task even for the most seasoned publicist however if an industry influencer has a playlist they will attempt to go through them.

It may not always be the Spotify official, however streams add up.

How Much Does A Music Publicist Cost?

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If you are looking at a monthly fee deal, this can be from anywhere between

$1000 to $2000 for a well-known publicist. Alternatively, you can pay for a one-off project which can cost from $2000 to $10,000, depending on the length of time of the project, and whether photography sessions are included or not.

How much a music publicist costs is also related to how sought after the publicist is.

How To Find A Publicist For Music

Finding the best music publicist takes some strategic planning:

Figure Out Your Music Publicist Budget 

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When you are calling a PR firm to hire a music publicist you will generally need a rough idea of how much you want to spend before you get too attached or into an in-depth conversation. The prices of a music publicist can vary so you will need to decide how much a month you can set aside. 

Most PR firms won’t publish their rates and plenty will charge what the client can afford.

Try not to volunteer too much information, many artists who have google-able information or investors will end up paying over the odds in comparison to independent artists.

Contacting A Music Publicist

music publicist

PR firms are notoriously busy and many might be too full with work to handle all incoming enquiries. Some don’t take on independent artists and will only work with represented ones, however, with some finessing you can get them to. 

There is no guarantee they will take you on as an independent artist but you will at least get your foot in the door by contacting them.

Major firms for music publicists will have strict criteria for accepting clients and will only work with national acts as the campaigns they plan are planned months in advance, so it is important to be realistic in your approach.

Know Who You Are Calling

music publicist working in the office

Before picking up the phone it is important to get a name of who you wish to speak to. By taking some time looking at the PR firm’s website you should get a clear idea of who you need to speak to. 

Think about whether the firm represents the genre of music you do, if the answer is no then try not to waste the publicist’s time. Every PR firm has a roster of clients they represent, so ensure you are a great fit and be prepared to explain to the music publicist why this is.

It should help them understand you know why and who you have called.

Pick Up The Phone

businessman on the phone

If you can then pick up the phone and call the PR firm. When you first make initial contact then don’t just dive straight in to asking questions to whoever answers. If no one responds within 5 working days, repeat three times. 

It is best to use a three-strike method to save you from wasting too much time. If you haven’t got a response after three attempts of contact and after 15 days then move onto another firm.

Send An Email

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If you decide to send an email and can find an email address, prepare a short, thoughtful email about who you are, the name of your project, when you want to release your music and links to your music.

A private SoundCloud link is preferred. It might be worth considering an individual playlist per PR firm.

Discuss Accountability & Reporting

music publicist on the phone

This is vital, you need to be updated on your PR campaign’s progress and you want to know who will be pitching on your behalf. Will it be an intern or a more experienced music publicist?

You can expect regular press reports and updates from a PR team so make sure you ask about their reporting strategy.

Also, discover if they will tell and show who they are pitching you to so you can follow along with social media follows.

Ask Hard Questions

musicians in the studio

This may sometimes feel unnatural but it is important to not be afraid to ask challenging questions and see how they react. A PR firm is not a hard sell so if they say rates are only available for a certain amount of time then be aware.

Following the call, you should get a proposal which outlines what you spoke about including the campaign and pricing. Take your time to consider your options and ask any further questions you have or need clarification on.

Do Your Research

music publicist on the computer

It is true most music publicists sound amazing on the phone and they should, after all this is their job. However, some music industry publicists are known for not delivering the best results or being accountable. Make sure you do some due diligence and research before you commit.

As one of the most trusted music PR companies in London, Music Gateway can offer up their services to you. Music Gateway has an impressive global reach and industry network so you would be in capable hands. 

Music Gateway aims to ensure the best results are delivered in the most transparent way possible. Should you wish to discuss your requirements in more detail, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

How Music Gateway Can Help

music gateway logo

Whether you are an artist or band wishing to grow your following and increase your traction, finding a music PR company could be exactly what you require. Music Gateway help to get your music heard and to grow your audience by working directly with independent music curators all over the world.

Music Gateway aims to tailor its approach to each artist by carefully planning each campaign to guarantee results. With over 30 years combined industry experience working with artists, we can create a brand perfect for you. We will help you engage with leading industry producers and creatives.

Artist development and branding is the start of a professional career within the music industry. Music Gateway is on hand to help you level up!

Now You Know Everything About A Music Publicist

handshake stock photo business

Working alongside a music publicist can be very rewarding and fun if they are great at what they do. Taking calls for interviews is exciting and having your name in the media is an important step for your career.

Bear in mind that as an artist you are the buyer. If you are looking for a music publicist then make sure you are in the driver’s seat. It is your art and money so make sure you do your research.

A lot of publicists speak to artists who don’t always have an idea of what they want. Sometimes they are just calling because they were told to get a music publicist but that is not always the best approach. It is better to have an idea of what you want from your PR before you contact.

Always be respectful towards your publicist and expect the same in return. It is not necessarily an easy job and getting placements is not always easy.  Your music publicist can become one of your closest allies and an extremely important member of your team.

Have you got any experience with a music publicist? Let us know in the comment section below. If you enjoyed this article, why not share it on your social media! Be sure to tag us @musicgateway.

If you enjoyed this article, why not check out another on our blog? Here are articles on How To Be A Tour Manager, Music Publishing 101 and How To Find A Music Manager to get you started!

Are You A Musician Or Artist?

Do you want to learn more about roles in the music industry and further your education? Then check out the Academy. Our courses are designed to give you skills that are valuable to you as a music professional.  Whether you’re looking to learn more about the music industry, understand how to use a specific DAW, or want to get better at songwriting, we’ve got a course for you!

By joining Music Gateway, you can also collaborate globally with other musicians, songwriters producers and more. Finally, amplify your music to those that need to hear it with music promotion and professional sharing tools. Get your 14-day free trial, no strings attached.

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