9 Critical Things You Should Know About Publicity Before You Make Your First Move

MicYou have your music, your vision, and you are eager to make that first move in the world of PR. But before I jump into what you’re here for, the nine critical things you should now about PR, we need to be sure that your ready to begin such a relationship with the media. It’s not a matter of feeling ready, it’s a matter of being ready.

Before you even begin thinking about PR, you need to have what I refer to as your social media house in order. This is your foundation. You need to have your presence sufficiently fleshed out on the internet from your website to your blog to your Twitter page. You won’t get the results you want from your PR campaign if you don’t have a strong internet presence.

With the number of musicians and publicists flooding the inboxes of the media, you can count on the fact that these editors and writers will be checking each submission’s social media presence as a means to weed out who not to cover. As always, you want to have the edge. Having a presence doesn’t mean having more Facebook likes than everyone else. It means having consistent activity online and engaging with your fans.

Once your social media house is built and stable you can begin thinking about amassing the publicity you’re looking for.

Let’s get started!

1. What is publicity exactly?

Before we delve into specifics, let’s make sure we have the basics covered. Her are some definitions of what publicity is exactly, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

Publicity – “An act or device designed to attract public interest; specifically: information with news value issued as a means of gaining public attention or support. Also: The dissemination of information or promotional material.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Publicity is precisely all of these things.

A music publicist is hired as a member of your team to represent you to the media. Media is traditionally defined as editors and writers of newspapers, magazines, college journals, and television. Some publicists may also cover radio for interviews or live sessions on tour stops. But if you want to get on the radio charts (like CMJ), you will need a radio promoter. More and more publicists are covering Internet PR, like my company. However, not all traditional publicists do this, so make sure to ask before you hire.

A publicist’s job is to liaise with the press. In other words, a publicist establishes working relationships between you and those in the media. You should not expect them to get you a booking agent or gig, a label deal, or any other type of marketing deal. That is what a manager is for. A savvy and well-connected publicist may be able to hook you up with all of the things mentioned above, but it is not in his or her job description.

2. You Are the Visionary Here.

Remember, as the artist, you are the buyer, and you are shopping for PR. You’re in the driver’s seat. It’s your money and your music that enables publicists to stay in business. Hiring a publicist is like hiring the next guitar player for your band. You have to choose someone you like, who jives with your vision and your short-term and long-term goals. Everyone on your team has to be on the same page for you to advance. All too many times I’ve heard that a publicist was hired in spite of the artist’s personal opinions. You should like your publicist, and they should be the right fit for you.

3. With Publicity, You Pay for Effort – Never for Results.

I’ve had disgruntled artists call me and say, “I hired a publicist and I only got six articles. That cost me $1,000 per article!” Unfortunately, this is not how you quantify a PR campaign. How you quantify a PR campaign is by how much buzz (i.e. Facebook activity) and feedback your band is getting during and post PR campaign. You pay for the amount of time, effort, and consideration the publicist makes on your behalf. Now, of course, you should get some and even many results. Getting nothing is totally unacceptable. But you never know when your publicist’s efforts will show up months, and sometimes even years, after your campaign is complete. Not everyone who is going to see your YouTube video is going to view it the day you post it.

4. A PR Campaign Needs to Be Planned Well in Advance.

For long-lead press (meaning, for example, magazines with national distribution like Rolling Stone), the editors put their publications to bed three full months before they are published. So if your album is coming out in October, you must have it ready to go, artwork and all, in July. Of course, not every PR campaign focuses on national press, but no publicist will take you on with zero lead-time, so you definitely need to prepare lead-time for every scenario.

  • Recommended Publicity Campaign Lead Times:
  • National Campaign – 3-4 months before the release
  • Tour Press Campaign – 4-6 weeks before the shows
  • Local Campaign – 4-6 weeks before placement
  • Online Campaign – 2-3 weeks before placement (minimum)
    • (Placement = blog article, album review, calendar listing, podcast/radio interview, etc.)

5. The 4 Components of a Press Kit.

In today’s digital world, a thorough one page press kit consists of four parts: the bio; the photo; the articles, quotes & album reviews; the music.

The Bio – Create a one-page bio that is succinct and intriguing. You have an original story; tell it! I strongly advise hiring a bio writer (this should cost between $200-$500). If you are not ready to pony up the cash, consider enlisting an outside source to help you. I find that people who are great storytellers make great bio writers. If you would like to hire one of our trusted and affordable writers to help you craft your story, check out http://www.ReviewYou.com for available bio writing services.

The Photo – Arrange a photo shoot; if you take this seriously, you will benefit tremendously. Create a photo that is clear, well-shot, and attention-grabbing. Showing movement is a plus (sitting on a couch or up against a brick wall has been done too many times before). If you have a friend who knows how to use PhotoShop, enlist him or her to help you do some creative and fun editing. Always utilize your resources!

The Articles, Quotes & Album Reviews – Getting that first article written about you can feel daunting. Two great places to start are your local hometown papers (assuming you don’t live in NYC or LA), and any music websites or blogs you like. Also don’t forget to check for comments on iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby that you can use!

The Music – The way you present the music, like the press kit, must be well thought out. Do not bother sending out copies of your CD via snail mail – instead send a link to Bandcamp or SoundCloud with professional artwork and proper tagging so the writer can access your tracks easily.

6. Publicity is a Marathon, Not a Sprint.

PR is very different in nature from a radio campaign that has a specific ad date and a chart that you are paying to try to get listed on. There is no top 40 publicity chart. With the number of albums coming out into the marketplace (approx. 1,000 per week), it could take months longer than your publicity campaign runs to see results.

7. Online Publicity Is Just as (If Not More) Important as Offline Publicity.

I would argue that online PR is more important, because today’s newspaper is tomorrow’s recycling (and that’s if you even get today’s newspaper). Most articles you find in printed newspapers and magazines are just as easily accessible online. Online publicity goes up fast, and it can be around for months and sometimes for years. The internet also provides a platform for you to discuss articles in a public arena (i.e. comment sections, Twitter). More people rely on the Internet as their main source for news, so Internet placements are absolutely wonderful and totally legit, and they can help your Google rankings as well.

8. Publicity Does Not Sell Music.

If you are hiring a publicist to see a spike in your record sales, I have news for you: There is absolutely no correlation between getting great PR and selling music.

PR is designed to raise awareness of you in the press, to help build and share a story, as well as build up critical acclaim. Of course, a great article can lead to sales, but overall, if selling albums is your goal, PR is not the only thing you will need. To sell albums you will also need to build a loyal fan base (see In Defense of 1000 True Fans) and take care of fans with sweet offers.

9. All Publicity is Good Publicity.

I know we have all heard the phrase “all publicity is good publicity”, but it’s beneficial to truly understand this. If one of your goals for PR is to get your name out there (and this should be a goal), the truth is that the average person remembers very little of what they read. People only retain a tiny percentage of what they read. Readers and internet scrollers are not going to remember a lukewarm or mediocre review of your album. I mean when was the last time you remembered the band that was the subject of a tepid review?

And never ever take your own PR seriously. As my favorite artist Andy Warhol once said, “Don’t read your press; weigh it.”

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How To Get PR for Your Crowdfunding Campaign


My New Book Crowdstart is available for Pre-Order Now!

This is an excerpt…

How To Get PR for Your Crowdfunding Campaign


“People do not buy goods and services. 

They buy relations, stories and magic.”

-Seth Godin


I know what you are thinking: a great way to get attention for my campaign would be to get PR for it!

Not so fast.

“Traditional” PR outlets are newspapers, magazines, and television; I caution you when approaching these outlets for your crowdfunding campaign.

Online PR is another story and if you are like the vast majority of crowdfunders and you are raising money for a project that is relevant to a smaller niche-focused group (your personal fan base), the most effective PR you can garner is online PR.

This means approaching blogs, podcasts, and online tastemakers that are targeted to the niches that will care most about your project. This type of PR is worth your effort if you are launching a larger campaign (10K and above).


Old-Fashioned PR

Traditional journalists are looking for newsworthy items with wide appeal. This means news that is topical and relevant to a large audience and include an intriguing angle.

There are only three times that a crowdfunding campaign would be considered newsworthy to traditional media:


  1. A campaign has had explosive numbers in a short amount of time (i.e., Amanda Palmer raising a quarter of a million dollars for her album in the first 24 hours).

Read the full excerpt on the Cyber PR blog.

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Ariel Hyatt Featured on Music Business Facts Podcast in Australia

Ariel on Music Business Facts
I have been having a blast being interviewed on many podcasts recently. Here is part 2 of a 3-part series. This one comes from the Music Business Facts Podcast down under in one of my favorite places to visit – Australia.

This Podcast was wonderful for a few reasons:

1. I was interviewed by a professional musician and educator Rodney Holder. Rodney has a bachelors degree in communication & media production and has been teaching music business studies at tafe college since 1999. his career in the music industry began back in 1987- Initially as a drummer and co manager of my psychedelic metal band Alchemist. He released numerous internationally acclaimed albums, toured Australia countless times, and performed at some of the world’s biggest metal festivals, sharing the bills with the likes of Iron Maiden, Slayer, Motorhead, Judas Priest, and Kiss. He currently teaches a Diploma of music business at The Southbank Institute of Technology in Brisbane.

2. We talked about the best books & Online resourcesThe 4-hour work week by Tim Ferris, and Seth Godin’s – Linchpin - listen in for the others!) and online resources (Lessdoing) to share and we had a candid conversation about the power of outsourcing and why it is critical to do it in today’s crazy email overwhelmed world.

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3. There’s a fabulous question at the end about having it all to do over again and he told me that my answer was the best of all of the answers he has ever received. I got honest about our propensity to STRUGGLE instead of be in powerful flow.

I also said some dirty words in AUS that my North American friends won’t find dirty at all :) AND I reiterate that my book CrowdStart will be out June 20th! (if it kills me!)

Thank you to Rodney for a fabulous time!

Listen here.

Here’s to your success!


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Ariel Hyatt – Featured on The Legendary CD Baby Podcast: On Fans, Fears & Funding

Ariel CD Baby

I was THRILLED to be invited back to the CD Baby Podcast again – It’s been several years since I was interviewed by Kevin Breuner, CD Baby’s Director of Marketing who I have known and respected for more years than I can count.

I share some social media tips, and discuss why Facebook isn’t your best bet these days. I also dish online marketing advice, and my own experiences and insights with my crowd funding campaign.

PLUS I finally and publicly set a self-imposed release date for my upcoming book CrowdStart, on Fans, Fears & Funding.

It will be JUNE 20, 2014!

Click on the image above to listen in! Or click here to listen.

THANK YOU TO CD BABY for the opportunity to be included on your fabulous Podcast!

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Protecting Your Online Brand by Posting Your Perfect Press Kit

BillboardThere is something crucial that most of you are missing on your websites.

In the age of social media we are all focusing on Twitter, LinkedIn, G+, and Facebook and, we’ve forgotten an important basic: Your online press kit – the asset that makes it easy for others to publicize your brand.

In many ways, your online presence is equivalent to creating your own online billboard. If you are in control of your website and your social channels, and you have a good grasp of 2-way conversation mastery, your online billboard will have the exact messaging for your tribe (potential customers and fans).

However, if this is not the case, here are some predictable scenarios:

  • You are featured on a website or in a conference program with a random photo of you that someone Googled.
  • You are introduced at an important talk by someone who is summarizing from a and Wikipedia page that focuses on all of the wrong things. (I’ve seen this happen multiple times – it’s not a good look).
    You want all assets to be as much in your control as possible that you always have your best foot forward.

    Follow this guide to ensure that you are in control of your brand and your image.

    How To Post A Perfect Press Kit On Your Website

    Editors, bloggers, conference organizers and even potential customers will deeply appreciate having seamless access to your information because they are constantly under deadline.

    Here are the four assets to include:

    1. YOUR BIO

    Make sure your bio is easily locatable on your site and it can be easily cut-and-pasted (not in a PDF format that they can’t easily grab).

    Your bio should NOT just be a “who, what, when, where, why” or a list of business accolades. Invest in having a bio written that brings out your signature story. This should be a compelling and relatable story that evokes an emotional response from the reader.

    Post a long form, 250 word, 100 word and a Tweet sized bio and you have pre-delivered every possible type of bio request that may come your way (no one will ever ask you to edit your bio down again or worse, edit it for you and forget the most important parts.

    TIP: Post 4 versions of your bios

    • Long Form
    • In 250 – 200 words
    • In 100 words
    • In 1 tweet

    TIP:  Make sure the bio can be easily cut-and-pasted!


    Thumbnails are great for quick and easy loading but are detrimental for use in print (if you are a speaker or attending a conference where there is a directory, your photo may be appearing on posters, flyers and in a printed conference guide.

    You should always have a few downloadable photo options on your site in at least 300 dpi / jpg format. Also post vertical and horizontal photos so editors working on a tight format won’t have to resize anything.

    TIP: Create an easy-to-see link that says “click here for a hi res / low res jpg.”  That way, busy editors can get what they need easily.  When the photos are downloaded, make sure they are properly named so that editors can find them in folders and on messy desktops!


    Are you an author? Do you work at a company that has a logo that might be used (or perhaps it’s your own logo and you want it used)? Include your book cover art in both hi res and lo res (jpg format).  This way, if your book, or company is being mentioned, the artwork can be easily added.


    What you say about you is one thing… However, what others say about you is trusted in a different way.  So, if you have press or blog posts that were written about you or pieces you were quoted in, include them on your press kit page.

    TIP: Don’t link out to articles (the sites you are linking to may take them down or go dead, so make sure you include the articles archived on your site).

    Another great addition is testimonials to add from clients. If you are struggling to find some, use your recommendations from LinkedIn. If you don’t have any, send an email out to a few colleagues, your old boss or a trusted influencer in your field and ask them for a testimonial.


    If you are a speaker, include a list of the topics you have spoken on and give a description of each of your talks. If you have visuals of you up on a podium or teaching in front of an audience, include them in this section.
    If you are not (yet) a speaker and you want to include a list of topics and themes, you are capable of speaking on these topics for people to reference.

    FINAL TIP: If you can’t easily modify your website to include all of this information, you can easily set up an about.me page and include the 5 assets listed here.

    Here’s to protecting what you want to say and show about your brand online.

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    Ariel Answers 14 Burning PR Questions for Novice DIY Musicians

    I was going through Google Analytics and I noticed this interview, which was originally published on the PlayItLoud Music blog in late 2011, had popped up again as a traffic source. I started to read through it and while it’s certainly a long read, there is a lot that I feel like could still help a lot of musicians seeking out PR for the first time. Enjoy!

    Ariel Hyatt is the founder of Cyber PR, a boutique digital marketing firm based in Brooklyn. Their Cyber PR® Campaigns help musicians to identify their Signature Story and achieve feature placements on niche blogs, podcasts, and Internet radio stations.

    Her book Music Success in Nine Weeks has helped over a thousand musicians get in control of their online strategies and her ongoing blogging challenges keep artists accountable through the reading process.

    Interviewing Ariel was a real pleasure. Her passion for and her knowledge of the music business is more than apparent in her answers. Before interviewing Ariel, I made a point of reading her book “Music Success in Nine Weeks”. I am usually skeptical about anything that suggests success in just a few weeks but after reading Ariel’s book I can truly say that it is a very valuable tool.  If you follow her steps you will be well on your way to success. Thanks again Ariel for answering my questions and sharing some valuable information on this business of music

    Aaron Bethune, PlayItLoud Music.

    How did you get started in the music and entertainment industry?

    I got started in the music business, basically when I graduated from university. I did what all good, self-respecting children should do and moved back into my family’s apartment in New York City with my less-than-excited parents.

    My mom is a career counsellor and she said to me, “What would you love to do?” I said I would love to be in the music business. So she said, okay, go be in the music business, and I started a very, very humbling job search that took me to many, many dead-ends.

    Finally, I ended up with a couple of things: I worked at WNEW FM radio as the associate producer to the morning show, which basically means paid intern for $69 a week. Then I worked at a big music PR firm, Kathryn Schenker and Associates, and I also worked at night at a record store in Manhattan called NYCD. So I actually had 3 jobs.

    From there…

    I had a dream to be living in Boulder, Colorado, as I had completed one semester of school there, and if you’ve ever been there, you’d understand why. It’s completely amazing. A dear friend of mine had read in a local newspaper, back when people actually did that, that there was a little record label from New York City that was relocating to Boulder.

    He clipped out the article and sent it to me, saying that I needed to get a job there. So I marched into this record label and of course, they offered an unpaid internship, which I took; I worked my butt off and got hired a few weeks later. I worked there for a year and relocated with them to Boulder.

    From there, I moved on to a concert promotions company, which was great, and then I started my own business. By the time I started my own business, at the ripe age of 23, I had worked in many areas of the music industry – corporate radio, in an indie record store, a high profile public relations firm (representing Sting, Bob Dylan, and Tina Turner), at a very successful independent record label, and at concert promotion company. Plus I had interned at two of the most respected PR agencies in the fashion world throughout college (KCD & Lynne Franks Limited). So I had a nice rounded experience and understanding of many different facets of the music and the PR business.

    What is PR?

    I asked the same question on the first day of my first internship at a PR firm in London. I’ll never forget the answer the guy gave me. I was 19 years old, it was my first internship, and I said, “Can you tell me what PR is?” He said,

    “PR? It’s PR!”

    I thought, “Wow. Thank you for that.”

    You can imagine that internship was a disaster from that moment on. Anyway, the process of PR is the communication of a product, a good, a service, or a person, to the media.

    So when you hire a publicist, you’re basically hiring a mouthpiece to communicate to the media world your message or what it is you would like to promote. Until I started working in PR firms, I really didn’t understand the depth of how PR touches almost everything you read in the media. For example, if you’re a woman who likes fashion magazines, when you pull open a magazine and you see “Our favourite shampoo of the month”, or “Our favourite lip-gloss”, or “The best pants to wear this season”, that is all 100% work of a publicist. The editor did not go walk around to find the best anything. The publicist worked very, very hard with the editor to place the product. Every facet of almost every business has publicity – politicians, products, goods, services – almost everything you can think of. Stores, cities, towns, and of course, musicians all have publicists. When you hire a publicist, what you are doing is hiring someone to represent you to the media. When I say the media, I mean newspapers, magazines, television, radio and now it’s been the vastly expanded in recent years to blogs, podcasts, internet radio, almost anything. So that is, in a nutshell, what it is.

    What is viral marketing and how does it affect the music business?

    Viral marketing is an interesting term, because, you can’t really make something “go viral”; it is near impossible to do. We don’t know what could go viral.  For example think about the Double Rainbow video, that got over 23 million views on YouTube in 2010 or almost anything that gets a ton of hits – maybe people create those things hoping they “go viral” but the truth is ‘viral like a virus, just spreads.

    We don’t say “I’d like to get a virus today,” you just get a cold. It catches.

    Viral marketing is the practice of working with unique assets like videos or music, or blog posts. It could also be products in the real world but because I’m an internet publicist, I’m speaking about the online world.

    Viral marketing is something that gets put on the internet and it catches on and takes off. It gets multiple views and when it goes viral, it just means there’s some sort of stickiness attached to it. We never know if it’s going to go viral: certainly there are some predictors but there are no guarantees. Almost every time I interview artists, if I say “If you had $500 to spend, what would you do?’’  The most popular answer is: “I would hire someone to make me go viral.” I wish it were that simple.

    What is Web 2.0?

    Web 2.0 is what they started calling the semantic web, although I don’t think that took off so well. It’s the internet in its current iteration. Web 1.0 is the internet as we used to know it. Different websites would be very predictable things; if you went to someone’s website – any website – whether it was for a band, or for a product, you would see a page, probably an image, “About Us, History, Contact Us, Our Mission,” basically a catalogue experience. Any website you went to at the beginning of the internet looked like that.

    With the advent of Web 2.0, two-way conversations started to be present on platforms. So you could leave comments, you could link to Facebook and Twitter Feeds. Web 2.0 is basically the evolving internet made possible by new interactive platforms being invented and the fact that broadband is now widely available.

    Honestly, I don’t think it’s necessary to know what Web 2.0 is to be successful but the conversation about the emerging internet is very interesting. Now people are talking about Web 3.0, a more predictable experience, more interactive, more intuitive, easier to use etc.

    How important is a band’s pitch?

    I believe a pitch is the most important thing a band or artist can develop.

    Without a pitch, people will have no context for understanding who you are or what you sound like. Unfortunately, many bands are terrible at creating pitches. It’s critical because we have very, very short attention spans in today’s world. If you don’t have a concise pitch that gives people an instant hit, you’re basically robbing yourself of possibilities.

    What makes for a good pitch?

    Something that’s extremely descriptive and catchy; descriptive doesn’t mean you have to sound like somebody else, though that’s a very helpful context. Catchy could be anything from fun, like hillbilly-flamenco, or poly-ethnic Cajun-slam-grass, or it could be really descriptive like Joan Jett meets Jessica Rabbit. Those are three of my favourite pitches, they’re in my book because they are really good. If I was in an elevator with Devil Doll and I asked her “what kind of music do you make,” and she answered “it’s Joan Jett meets Jessica Rabbit,” that’s dead on. She’s a rocker who’s got a really sexy, curvy look. A pitch like that, a short concise piece, is crucial.

    Bands are normally terrified, they don’t want to say they sound like anybody, they don’t want to pigeonhole themselves. It really is a disservice to try to invent a new genre of music to explain what you are. It may feel creative, but people don’t understand it.

    What are the most important social sites that bands should be a part of?

    I think if you ignore Facebook and Twitter, you’re crazy. It’s important to have those sites in your reach. Of course, there are other sites that could be very effective as well, for your genre, but those are two you should absolutely use and use well.

    In today’s music business, how do you think a band can best get through or above the noise?

    That’s a tough question. There is so much noise. What I preach, and what I think is really effective is engagement. Engaging people online starts with understanding your audience. People want to feel connected. If you’re just speaking at people and you’re not speaking with people, they’ll go elsewhere for that connection.

    So, to rise above the noise… first of all, of course, this is all predicated on having really good music, so don’t suck. Work on your music, don’t just put anything out there. I see that all too often – people think just because they have a home studio, they have a right. Just because it’s easy to post on social media sites, that doesn’t mean you should. Be thoughtful, that’s the first step in rising above the noise. Just because I have a digital camera doesn’t mean I should take 3000 pictures and post them on Flickr. If I take 3000 pictures and I edited them down to 5 that were really stunning, and people saw them and appreciated them, that’s a good start. So, have great music – that’s the cornerstone.

    Then the next piece is make connections. How do you do that? That’s really based on understanding your audience and that’s critical. There are million articles and books about how to do that but I also think you can get out there and play live. Connect with people and never squander an opportunity. Every day is an opportunity to connect with people, and that means if you’re playing a live show, get your butt behind your merchandise table and sign. I don’t care if you sign free postcards, or give away stickers – talk with people, connect with them. The most successful artists I know today who are making money and I’m not talking about Mick Jagger, but independent artists that are making it on their own – they take the time to connect personally with their fans.

    What are some good ways to get people to sign up for a newsletter?

    When people are considering signing up to a newsletter, which most people are not excited to do because we all get too much email, it’s not only about just getting people to sign up, it’s about making sure that when they do sign up, you’re giving them an amazing experience. I think that piece we forget. We’re so busy worrying about “get me names! I want names,” we forget that it was really important to have great content.

    First, make sure you’re building a newsletter that has great content, then second make sure it’s going out regularly, consistently, and that it’s trackable (meaning you can pull up statistics on how effective it is). Whenever anyone is thinking of joining a mailing list, they’re thinking “What’s in it for me?” So you have to make sure you’re providing good content for them, make sure that you’re giving away music, make sure you’re doing something that’s interesting. So always think when you’re asking people to sign up, “what can I give?” Be generous. Giving away one track for a newsletter signup is probably not going to get you far. But if you give away three plus a video, then there’s something in that for a potential fan or a loyal fan already.

    What should a band not do while trying to succeed in this business?

    Don’t be impatient. It’s hard when you’re talking about your art: we want it now. I’ve definitely felt that way, and I’m not a band, I’m on the other side of it. Don’t be inflexible. Don’t be lazy. I like equating succeeding in the music business with succeeding at losing weight. I think every band should look at themselves as completely obese people. If you weigh 350lbs and your goal is to be a strapping healthy weight, that means you probably have to lose 150 lbs. That doesn’t happen overnight, that takes sheer dedication and effort. There are no shortcuts in the music business. You’re going to have to get up at 6 in the morning, go to the gym, do your cardio, lift your weights, eat well and you have to do that for a long time.

    That’s really what it takes. I don’t know any artist that has been in the music business a long time that isn’t experiencing some level of success. That doesn’t exist. What you focus on expands. If you focus on being successful in the music industry, you will succeed. It’s really that simple. But that’s not easy information for most people.

    The average is about seven years. That is depressing – 7 years. When you look at all these artists that have supposed meteor rises to the top –they didn’t. If you go back and look, they gigged and gigged, and failed many times along the way  but they all worked hard for many years to get there.

    What are some of the changes you’ve seen, and what are some of the changes that you foresee in the music business?

    Obviously the biggest changes I’ve seen, which is why I adapted my company, is the rise of social media, the two-way conversations online, online promotions, and marketing. All that is only going to get bigger, and it’s never going to go away. That’s the bad news. You will never be done with your internet marketing, never. Staying malleable and adaptable is the true key there. Technology will continue to expand our horizons. It’s all about staying on top of it, or at least in it.

    You’re focusing a lot on the PR and online side of things. Realistically, what percentage of an artist’s career is in the marketing and the online presence, what you were talking about in your book, and what % is left in the music and its performance live… where’s the money?

    There’s money in placements in film and TV, in live music, in bundling merchandise. There are fewer places to get it, but if you go to a spectacular show and the artist moves you and the hair on the back of your neck stands up, and you’re going to walk out of that show with a CD. Of course, there is still a profit center there. I think that many artists have gotten really smart: they’re looking at diversifying, some artists teach piano lessons, some artists conduct church choirs, and some artists do other things that are music related – vocal lessons, etc. There are a lot of ways to make money from music, that’s not about making your own original music and selling it.

    What’s the percentage? Some people say it is 50% music, 50% business….

    I’ve heard an even more painful statistic: to really win at business, you have to spend 30% of your time working in the business and 70% of the time working on the marketing of the business. Telling that to a musician is blasphemy.  They don’t want to hear that.

    I don’t think that you have to do that all the time, but to really succeed you better understand that locking yourself in your basement and just writing music, which of course is critical to your craft, is only one side of what you need to do to succeed, and the other side really has a lot to do with getting the word out there and making sure that you have gigs and making sure you have everything else, all your ducks in a row. It’s an extremely painful lesson, unfortunately. Yes, 50% is a good percentage, but 70% is an even better percentage. If there is 5 people in a band, I see this all the time, there seems to be one person doing all the business work and everybody else just gets to show up. That’s a recipe for total disaster.

    What is a realistic time-frame for a PR campaign to show results?

    Depends on the type of results you are looking for. If you’re talking about a traditional PR campaign in major publications these are known in the PR-world as “long-lead press,” (Spin and Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair) that means you have to begin thinking about your press placement at least three months before the issue comes out. So for Christmas press you must have your Christmas tracks ready to go at the end of August, and your publicist should be lining up your Christmas pitches for long-lead press by September. This takes planning and foresight and I have met a lot of artists who don’t think this far in advance. Of course, for daily and weekly newspapers, there is a shorter window. If you’re promoting a live event in a local newspaper, the editor needs a minimum of 4-6 week’s notice to schedule you in. They have to get interviews and artwork and they are getting inundated by hundreds of other publicists and events that month, no matter what city you are playing in, so again: Planning and foresight are key.

    With the internet, it’s very fast and can be instantaneous. Blogs are looking for information quickly and efficiently. We’ve released MP3s on a Monday and by Tuesday there are internet radio stations streaming, blogs posting, and people sharing it all over the social networks.  So when you talk about an online PR campaign that’s a whole different beast.

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