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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7 Google Apps that All Musicians Need To Know About

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Google, in my humble opinion, is the most amazing invention since anything else I can really think of. And Google is not just a big search engine, although it would still be awesome if that’s all it did.

Google has been offering a suite of incredibly powerful tools for years; way before ‘in the clouds’ become the next big thing for companies like Apple and Microsoft. And to make it even better, Google has recently created a platform for musicians that offers even further tools that will help independent musicians all over the world to thrive in the digital world called ‘Google Apps‘.

Google is, quite simply, a portal that truly puts all of the worlds electronic information at your fingertips – there’s a good reason why the word “Google” has become synonymous with searching online.

Here are 7 Google Apps designed to help you through all of Google’s awesomeness and use it to your benefit.

1. Google Alerts
Have you ever spent hours trying to track down articles on a certain subject, topic or even about your band / your brand? With Google Alerts, whatever words you select will be searched by Google and emails will be delivered to in your in-box.

To Setup A Google Alert

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  1. Visit http://www.google.com/alerts
  2. Choose your search terms.
    1. You may include wildcard characters (*) to expand the search to find words containing the search terms, i.e. “fi*” will return results for “fish,” as well as “ficus”
    2. Use quotation marks ( Cyber PR ) to search for only the exact words in the search, in the exact order entered
  3. Choose the type of alert you would like.
  4. Select the frequency of alert emails.(Daily works best)
  5. Enter the email to which you would like the alerts emailed

2. Google Blog Search
This is basically a filter for only searching blogs; and with 270 million blogs out there, on top of all the websites, this is a great filter for all the noise. This is also a great place to track your band on blogs. To search on Google’s Blog search, go to this link: http://blogsearch.google.com/

3. Gmail
If you still have an AOL or hotmail address, you’re in trouble. Gmail just may be the best e-mail program/website on the planet. Many bloggers and new media makers use Gmail and it shows you’re in the know, so get signed up.

Google e-mail is so wonderful because it is searchable by topic or by word, and Google provides you with a huge amount of storage space.

Using Gmail as your default mail host, you can set up an URL and add GoDaddy for 7.95, then point it to the server and voila! You have a customized e-mail addresses for free.

4. Google Drive
Google Drive (formerly Google docs) is, in essence, the entire Microsoft Office suite offered to you for free, is synced completely online so you can access it from anywhere without taking up any storage space on your computer, and can be shared with anyone who has a Google account. This is an incredibly helpful tool for you and your team to take advantage of to keep track of lyrics, merchandise, accounting, and anything else you would otherwise use Word or Excel for.

5. Google Music Artist Hub
Google recently introduced their first digital music store called Google Music, and unlike iTunes and Amazon, Google has made Google Music incredibly easy for you to get your music listed for sale by creating the Google Music Artist Hub, a platform for you to be able to list, organize and manage all of your music being sold in their store. And to make it even better, having your music for sale in the Google Music store also means that you can sell your music though Youtube as well!

All you need to do to get on Google Music is to register for an Artist Hub account, which requires a one-time, $25 fee, and they will walk you through how to get your music published!

6. Google Calendar
Google Calendar is a highly integrated, yet very simple calendar application that is synced to your Google account so it can be accessed form anywhere you can access the internet. The best reason for you to be using Google Calendar is that multiple users can sync to the same calendar, which means it is a free solution for you, your band, and your team to be on the same page for any upcoming events or deadlines that you may have.

7. Google+
Google introduced Google+ in 2011, and the Facebook meets Twitter design and functionality made it the latest and greatest social networking platform to enter the competitive market. What makes Google+ so important for you is that, because it is a Google owned and operated platform, it ranks very highly in Google searches, helping you with your search engine optimization.

Google+ is so deep that we dedicated an entire Musician’s Guide article to the platform, covering many of the important features you’ll need to know about!

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6 Ways to Make Sure You Don’t Waste Your Time on YouTube

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Recently, we connected with Ryan Carey regarding his experience with YouTube and he was gracious enough to give us this guest blog post sharing his advice.

Ryan originally started this post by saying he is no expert…

We beg to differ.

Ryan Carey (@ryanwcarey) worked at YouTube for 5 years and is now a freelance video strategist and camera presence coach based in San Francisco and Brooklyn.

Here are Ryan’s 6 pieces of advice for any of you working on building a personal brand through video:

1. Your videos are not going to go ‘viral’

I’m sorry. The news had to be broken. The closest word in our English language to ‘viral’ is miracle. Now that our dreams have been crushed, it’s time we begin putting in work to be serious (and taken seriously) with video.

2. Take time building a home

This is the difference between straw and brick. Do you have a YouTube ‘account’ (it’s called a channel)? Did you sign up and never put anything more into it? If yes, you have a YouTube house made of straw. One needs to take time setting up a channel properly, learn basic editing and be able to offer consistent polished content. This is what I call YouTube muscle – which means investing some sweat in building the brick foundation. Once complete, maintenance is lowered (still very relevant) and you can focus more on your content.

3. If it’s not fun, you’re doing it wrong

As a culture, we have gone from sitting in front of the TV watching a total of 5 channels to having power at our fingertips to create any style of show we want. We can assume the role of stars and no one has to approve it or give us a deal. If someone had come 30 years ago and said we’d someday be able to make our own shows, we’d all be excited. That is fun.

4. We are all making shows

This might be your first season. How many episodes will you make? How long will they be? What’s yours about? How often will you release them? Reading this may seem overwhelming, but it’s not. It’s just work that goes into building the muscle to make your personal brand smoother on video.

5. Polish

This is the difference between showing up to a black tie affair in jeans versus a tuxedo. Polish means a concise video, an accurate description, your own intro/outro and smooth transitions every single time. It also means asking yourself if the audience will stay engaged with what you’ve made. If you answer no, tighten it up and tuck in your shirt.

6. Don’t waste time

Both yours and the audience’s. Everyone knows attention spans are at an all time low. YouTube is no different. If your video doesn’t pop until 25 seconds in, you may lose half the viewers. If there is a 3 second pause of you thinking on camera about what you’re going to say, that’s a risk of releasing the audience member who could easily become a lifetime fan loyal to your personal brand. Or at the very least a subscriber.

Be fast. Be loud. Be confident.

You’re not a sitcom nor a reality show. You get to choose who you are on camera, and whoever you choose, ensure it’s professional.

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Facebook Update Watch 2014: What You Need to Know About Facebook’s New Pages Layout

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Facebook is at it once again in what is likely to throw all to many people into a frenzy of confusion. So brace yourselves…

Facebook is updating the layout to Pages! (queue the b-movie horror soundtrack)

The changes are not huge, though there are a few things that are important for you to note so we thought we’d compile them here for you in one place:

Pages to Watch

In the last few months, Facebook rolled out a new addition to the Pages Insights section for some page admins, allowing them to track up to 5 competing pages so that they can be compared through analytics.

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With the rollout of the new Facebook Pages layout, Facebook is now opening up this feature to all page admins. This tool can be particularly useful when comparing yourself to local competition as you’ll be able to track their increase/ decrease in growth, as well as the strength of the engagement on their page. The latter feature presents a great opportunity to follow the pages of other musicians you look to for content inspiration to see what is working / not working for them, to better develop your own content based on their ideas.

Hidden Custom Tabs

This… is a pain.

There is no doubt that Facebook has made it increasingly difficult for the content from your page to actually be seen, let alone engaged with. One of the remaining beacons of light with Facebook Pages was the ability to customize tabs so that as new traffic came to your page, you could choose how to engage (or funnel) your fans into longer-lasting opportunities, such as newsletter sign ups, tours, etc.

Well with the rollout of the new Facebook Pages layout, you can (sort of) kiss this goodbye.

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The new layout has stripped the big (and customizable) tab buttons off the homepage, opting to instead file these custom tabs as sub-tabs under the new ‘More’ tab. While it’s nice to know that you will still have the opportunity to offer these customized calls to action, it is more than likely that they will go completely overlooked as Facebook is simply adding yet another step for people to take before they can actually see and engage with your content (the opposite of effective website navigation).

One Column vs. Two Column View

Honestly, this shouldn’t have much effect on your content as far as we can tell. The streamlining of your content from two columns into one may make your content easier to consume and/ or engage with as it will all be displayed in one consistent fashion, but that is a big may that has yet to be seen and/ or proven. Only time will tell how this effects the overall structure, functionality, and engagement of your Facebook Pages.

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Top 10 Cyber PR Clients of Spring 2014

This is one winter I am thoroughly glad to say goodbye to! It’s just now starting to feel like spring (sort of).

To celebrate the new season, today we shine the spotlight on the top 10 Cyber PR® clients of Spring 2014. With the level of talent we represent, this is never an easy decision… However we’ve compiled a list of 10 clients that have received the most attention from bloggers, podcasters and internet radio stations.

Congratulations go to each of the artists below on their successes, and a HUGE thank you to all of the media makers who have supported (and continue to support!) us and our artists as well.

- Ariel and Team Cyber PR®

Festivals:

6fe924a45f4e03a48aa3a720652aa6eb-2FEST300 – Founded by Chip Conley, head of Global Hospitality for Airbnb , and his co-founder Art Gimbel, creator of popular festival app World Festival Guide, FEST300.com is the premiere source for personalized festival discovery around the world. Their team of seasoned travel & festival experts present the world’s best festivals through honest reviews and vivid imagery depicting the festivals, their atmospheres, and overall experience.




iZqh2RmTBaliSpirit Festival – The BaliSpirit Festival was founded as a premier international and holistic wellness and world music destination event that contributes positively to the ecological health, cultural vibrancy, and overall vitality of Bali and greater Indonesia. The goal of the BaliSpirit Festival is to awaken and nourish each individual’s potential for positive change within, leading to positive change in our homes, in our communities, and around the world.

Cool Apps:

b47e1569810e538f62cd1413d5a3bf9eJamstar – Jamstar is an interactive mobile (iOS and Android) and desktop app that acts as your own personal guitar teacher. Jamstar is catered for guitarists of all levels, and works with any acoustic and electric guitar, without requiring an extra device/ attachment to work along with a phone, tablet or computer. Jamstar is the only zero-latency guitar lessons app available on the market, which means that you will be given feedback in real time as you work through technique and style lessons, as well as individual songs from bands such as Led Zeppelin, Grateful Dead, Foo Fighters, Beatles, Muse and more through their partnerships with Alfred Music Publishing in the US and Faber Music in the UK.

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Bedloo – Bedloo is a social voting mobile (iOS and Android) and desktop app that has taken a familiar concept (as seen by Polar - http://www.polarb.com) and has significantly expanded upon it. Unlike the competition, Bedloo is the first social voting app to incorporate photos, videos (via YouTube) and audio (via Souncloud) into one app. 



Fierce Fabulous Females:

uKEiRvggAshley Davis – Kansas-born Celtic-Bluegrass musician Ashley Davis is about to release her fourth album “Night Travels”. An internationally recognized recording artist and songwriter, Ashley has collaborated with such musical luminaries as the Chieftains’ Paddy Moloney, fiddle player Eileen Ivers, harpist Cormac De Barra, singer-songwriters John Doyle and John Spillane, and the “First Lady of Celtic Music,” Moya Brennan. Throughout her career, she has, to quote NBC’s “Today Show” co-host Meredith Vieira, thrilled audiences with “new music springing from ancient roots.

WCXoIJ2dCarry Illinois – The essence of the folk heritage is music for the people by the people, and singer-songwriter Lizzy Lehman furthers this tradition in a variety of meaningful ways. As a solo artist, she draws on the folk tradition to sincerely express herself and forge deep communal bonds across social and societal lines. Within a band context—with her group Carry Illinois—she progresses the music form through bold sonic experimentation. The Austin, Texas quartet specializes in reimagining Lizzy’s campfire folk compositions with adventurous musicality and spacy textures. The group’s five-song debut EP Siren is best described as late-night heart worn indie folk-rock.

b790c62d9b446f78382ab8ececf69a0a-2Carrington MacDuffie – Poet/songwriter and New York native Carrington MacDuffie felt her spirit come alive in the Americana scene of Austin,Texas. Her new EP “Only An Angel” is a cool breeze of Americana, with its sheen of contemporary musical arrangements, her soothing and sexy vocal style, and the fluidity of world-class musicianship.  MacDuffie draws on artists who incited her imagination at a young age, such as Bobbie Gentry, Neil Young, and Cat Stevens. She sidesteps the laden narrative nature of more traditional Americana and speaks in lush imagery to express some of the most troublesome of human uncertainties.

Children’s Artists & Youth Projects:

wyFWiy7rJonathan Sprout – Singer-songwriter and recording artist, Jonathan Sprout has dedicated the past 20 years to creating meaningful and captivating music for children. Jonathan has performed more than 5,000 concerts and lead more than 750 songwriting workshops for children. His recordings and concerts have earned critical acclaim as groundbreaking entries in the field of educational children’s music and his album “American Heroes #3” was nominated for a Grammy® in 2010. Jonathan recently completed his 10th album, “American Heroes #4”, which was released in February, 2014.

4da18e9426afda8d7d50f6aa0fe662adRhythm Child – Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter/percussionist/educator Norman Jones is ushering in a new era of children’s music. His family band and brand “Rhythm Child” is an innovative platform offering children soulful and meaningful music with an interactive component to bolster health and developmental skills. With accolades and endorsements ranging from the First Lady to respected educational media, Jones and Rhythm Child are reimagining the kid’s music experience. Through Rhythm Child, Jones has released 2 full lengths, 1 EP, an instructional drumming CD, an illustrated lyric book, and he’s also offering a REMO Sound Shape Drum & Stick with the Rhythm Child Logo printed on the head. The signature drum allows children to be a part of the music, granting them a powerful interactive tool to use at shows and at home while enjoying Rhythm Child CDs.

Jg7cve0gThe Yr12 Music FestivalThe Yr12 Music Festival, based in Sydney, AUS, provides eight public concerts, designed to give ‘Year 12′ students (high school) the opportunity to perform to the public. Over six thousand Yr12 musicians reach an incredibly high standard for their final exams and neither teachers nor their family and support team nor members of the public are allowed to share their moment of excellence.



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9 Steps To Getting A Job In The Music Business

Business Man at Starting Line Road Path

So… you want to be in the music business? There are a lot of you out there. I know this because every time we put out a call for interns or jobs at Cyber PR®, we get over 100 resumes.  As you know I love breaking things down into steps (see: http://www.MusicSuccessInNineWeeks.com).  So, I wrote this guide for you. Once upon a time, I was just like you: dying to follow my passion and aggressively trying to land a job in the industry of my dreams. It was a humbling and, at times, humiliating exercise.

Interns are much needed in every facet of the industry, and most of my music industry friends (myself included) started out as unpaid interns back in their day and we leveraged our unpaid internships into paying jobs. Unpaid internships, however, were recently made illegal after a lawsuit against Warner Music Group, so you can at least be guaranteed some form of compensation for your internship (though don’t expect much).

Step 1: Identify Your Ares of Interest

Search your mind. Ask yourself what part of the music business do you want to be in? Is it working at a label, a radio station, a publicity firm, an online marketing company, in touring, or digital distribution? You may not know the answer to this question yet and that’s alright. You are not supposed to know until you get some experience in a particular area. BUT if you don’t specify what you are looking to try, the people in charge of hiring you will have NO CLUE where you will fit or how they can fit you into their business. So having a list of general areas of interest is a necessity.

Here are two suggestions to help you get a working knowledge of what different parts of the music industry are available:

1. Read music business related websites like Hypebot & Music Think Tank and start reading articles and news. There are countless articles available advising musicians and marketers on how do tackle their own careers.  If the articles resonate with you and seem interesting than you have found a good match.

2. Create a list of areas that you are interested in working in.

  • Major Label(i.e. Sony, Warner) – Specify a department: Promotions, Publicity, Radio, Marketing, Licensing…
  • Indie Label – You probably won’t need to specify departments they are small it will be all hands on deck.
  • Indie Artist – Remember many artists are DIY and would love the help of a capable person so working for the artist is an option as well.
  • Marketing Firm – There are many genres within: Regional, Online/ Digital, Tour, Specialty / Niche/Lifestyle
  • Radio Station – Specify a department: On Air, Producer, Sales, Promotions, etc.

More: Publicity Firm, Management Company, Booking Agency, Indie Radio Promotions, Music Venue, Concert Promoter, Production / Recording Studio, Publishing Company, Film & TV Licensing, Special Events Company.

Research as much as you can in your chosen field. Again, think like a musician. There are a million resources available for musicians that list companies that help support them, and they all have websites that clearly show what they do and who their clients are.

Step 2: Make Your Dream List of Companies & Artists

If you love a specific band or artist, look up who they work with and put those companies on your list because nothing is more thrilling and satisfying than working for your favorite artists and bands (I still get a thrill out of that and I’ve been working in the music industry for 19 years).

Step 3:Rock Your Resume

Next, create the best resume you can put together. There are many websites, books, and even your career counseling office at school that can instruct you on how to do this so I’m not going to get into much detail here. But please heed this advice:

Be Concise – One page only

Be Detailed – What exactly did you do at the previous jobs that you list?  These should express your talents.

Be Interesting – Include personal touches and hobbies or special interests.

Be Social - On your resume don’t forget to mention how many followers you have on Twitter, Facebook, and which music promotion social media sites you know how to use Last FM, ReverbNation, etc.

TIP: The music business tends to be informal, so you have some room to play with your resume and make your personality shine through more than you would on a “corporate” resume.

Step 4: Recommendations Rule

I call the first people that have great reference letters in for interviews first!

Call an old employer, a professor, or a person in your life that can write you a spectacular recommendation letter. If you can ask the person writing the letter to mention strengths that will be cohesive with the job you want, it will really make you stand out.

Step 5: Start Applying

Now that you have your list, there are three places you can go:

1. Straight to the companies of your dreams that you have discovered – in these cases, they may not be advertising for interns so you need to cold call and ask first if they would consider accepting a resume (be excited and tell the truth that you

found out about their company and you would love to be considered). Then ask to whom the resume should be addressed.
2. Websites where employers post for interns – We use our own blog and LinkedIn.

3. Your college’s career office (Don’t count on them as your main resource – my best interns found me by looking online).

Step 6: Know the Golden Rules

NEVER EVER send a resume without a cover letter. It’s totally unprofessional.

Include the NAME, ADDRESS, COMPANY NAME, and INDIVIDUAL’S NAME on each cover letter, and CUSTOMIZE each letter FOR THAT SPECIFIC COMPANY. Yes, this will take longer but it will also get you results. If it is not obvious call and politely ask!

Note: Out of the 100 resumes I received on my last round of hiring, only three people put my company name on the cover letter and wrote “Dear Ms. Hyatt”.  A few wrote “Dear Sir.” Under no circumstances am I a sir (a 1.1 second Google search will tell you this).

100% of all of these letters mentioned in the first paragraph that the candidate had excellent communication skills – and I thought are you kidding me?? If you are so excellent at communicating, how come my name was not mentioned anywhere?  The letters that really annoyed me and made me never want to meet the candidate were the letters that said  “Dear HR Dept” or even more gross: “Dear Hiring Committee,” enough said.

Mention some things that relate directly to the company you are applying to – the names of their artists, your passion about what it is they do, how you became interested in music, etc.

Please for the love of sweet God above DON’T write any of the following lines:

“I have excellent communication skills.”

“I have loved music for as long as I can remember…”

“I believe I am the perfect match for your company (unless you say WHY).”

“My extensive background in music…” OK, if you are under the age of 25 you DON’T have an extensive background (an extensive background is 10 years or more).

DO write the following lines (if they are not the truth of course don’t write these):

“I have been a fan of (artist’s name this company works with here) since (year/concert you attended, etc.).”

“I have always wanted to learn about (company’s specialty here) and a position at your company would provide me just that opportunity.”

“I have (#) of friends on (Twitter/Facebook/Last FM/any other relevant social networking site here”

If you are applying to a digital marketing or PR firm highlight how many online friends you have on social networking sites, or if you use Tumblr or blog. This could be your golden ticket! Everyone loves a well-connected intern. It’s a huge asset!

“I have already had some experience with (booking, promoting, etc), and would love to expand on what I have already learned at (school, from volunteering etc.).”

Step 7: Go Old School – Snail Mail or Fax

Most of these websites give you an interface to go through and you submit your resume straight to them via the Internet. Definitely do this and IN ADDITION if you can fax or mail in your resume, I highly recommend you do this as well, it’s so old school it’s now new!

Step 8: Treat Each Resume Like a Lost Puppy

Back to my 100 candidates from this past month – Two people called to follow up to see if I had received their resumes! This is mystifying.

So – a few days after you send the resume, call to follow up! This is a great way to stand out in the crowd because no one else is following up.

Don’t get an answer?  try @’ing the company or executive you want to reach via Twitter or send them a message on Facebook.

Even if the website says “don’t call us, we’ll call you” you should call and politely ask if your resume was received because 100% of everyone I know in the music business is so busy that they don’t have time to always follow up with the deluge of resumes. This could be a missed opportunity to land a job!

Step 9: Kill It at Your Interview

So, you followed my steps and you got an interview set up? Wonderful!

If you get three or four interviews, go to the one that you are least interested in FIRST to sharpen your interview skills.

TIP: ON THE DAY OF: Call first to confirm your interview. It’s professional and a great way to stand out.

Be 5 minutes early (not more), and remember the music business is casual so a three-piece suit is highly discouraged. I suggest business casual.

Bring a book or a magazine in case you have to wait.  Don’t talk on you mobile phone or text while you wait!

Bring two copies of your resume, cover letter, and recommendation letter as well as some writing samples (if applicable – even if it’s a paper you wrote about the music business). This is interesting and it sets you apart again!

Don’t be afraid to ask questions like “What does a typical internship encompass here?” or “Do you have some specific projects I might be working on?”

With most internship interviews I do, I always have to ask: Do you have any questions? And it always leaves a weird taste in my mouth if they have none – even if you ask how many days the company is expecting interns to work and what the hours would be. At least you are establishing a dialog! I suggest preparing 2-3 in-depth questions that you have researched by looking online at this specific company and come prepared!

MORE TIPS:The smaller the company, the more work you will probably end up doing and the more experience you will gain – it’s just the nature of the beast.

If you don’t like the person that interviews you, or the vibe at the company don’t take the job – trust your instincts!

Don’t ask if the internship will turn into a paid position. You are in charge of being the most awesome intern that they ever had. This will lead to a job but first you have to prove yourself!

Bonus Step 10: Always Follow Up!!!

Even if you HATED the interview, ALWAYS send a thank you email to follow up (or better yet a CARD!) to say thanks for taking the time to interview me! If you really enjoyed the interview, SAY SO and WHY. And don’t be afraid to say “after meeting you I am even more convinced that I would like to work with you!” Flattery will get you (almost everywhere).

I hope that these tips turn into a winning internship experience, and I would love to hear from you and find out how this guide worked for you –please post here.

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