Through out my PR journey in music I have observed and profiled many independent artists and their PR trends. One of the most significant discoveries I came across is that because there is a severe lack of A&R AND management resources available to to these indie artists; they are not well informed on the core basics of running and operating businesses; in turn their music careers are often affected.
One of the biggest truths in all businesses is that it takes money to make money; there is no getting around this. I can’t recall the amount of times that an indie artist has asked me to do their publicity or promotional services and never even thought about the fact that they will also be needing a marketing budget to get anywhere worth while. Without a marketing budget; PR is going to be a waste of money for you.
The words “marketing budget” have the tendency to cause indie artists to stop and pause instantaneously; the very next thought is ” I have to spend money?”. Artists with out a major label’s budget behind them pay for 99.9% of their own overhead, so marketing budgets are not always a thought in their mindset….. until ” IT ” happens. What i am talking about when I say “IT” happens is when a mediocre buzz starts to generate and “epiphany” occurs. This is the moment that the artist realizes that if they started professionally marketing and distributing their music they can profit off all of their hard work and create an even bigger buzz. Cause & effect. “It” is the moment the artist realizes that it is indeed time to take their craft to the next level. At some point in every career one has to ask themselves “Is my music worth it?”.
With today’s advancements in technology and social networking; there is a lot that you can do for “Free” using “Free” tools and “Free” services; but the one thing that is a reality that if everything you use to market your music is “free” then you can absolutely expect what you pay for … FREE. Ask yourself, “Will I actually monetize off these free outlets?”. Chances are not enough worth talking about; if all you use is “FREE” outlets to market your music; expect people to want your music for free. If people know you will give away your music for free; what reason do they have to buy it?
Creating a buzz that is going to transform into sales is an art form and something that requires not just the know how; but is backed by the appropriate tools and contacts to do it with. These are things that professional gain over time and generate through doing viable business. You can’t can’t cut corners in your overhead in this area and expect real results. If you don’t invest in your own music; you will find that no one else will either. Why should a business invest into your music if you can not show them a track record of you being serious enough to monetarily invest into your own music first? How can anyone else belive in you if you don’t belive in yourself first? I ask these things not to lecture but to generate a thought process that there is an extreme lack of in this business. These type of questions are the BASIC things labels and investors look at first.
Creating strategic marketing and publicity plans that are focused on generating not only a buzz, but a profit is one of the biggest elements in your overall packaging as an artist. NEWSFLASH – the big guys with the money who you want to invest in your music are only interested in your buzz & numbers; you’re only as good as your last game as they say in sports. They want to know what your record sales have been like as an independent artist before they spend money to cross you over into that mainstream lane. Well.. if they are a smart label with business sense they do anyway. A label has to know the potential of their investment and how quick they will see a return; if your independent album sales eat the big one, chances are your EPK is hitting the trash and they are moving on to the next best thing.
Finding the services you need to help take your career to the next level does not have to start out as a “HUGE” expense; but doing your research and being realistic is a good way to stay grounded in your search. Hiring professionals that SPECIALIZE in servicing the independent lane and are willing to work with you as your career develops is vital; you need companies on your side that understand your needs. When sending artists information on my services and pricing; the first thing I tell them is ” take your time to review the materials that I have sent over and get back to me after you have had time to check things out”. I tell people this not only so they can go and do their competitive shops and price comparisons; but also so I can take the time to check the artist’s music out and see exactly how serious they are about their career as well. Good business begets good business. Some PR people will take on any client with a wallet; which damages their reputations in the long run because they become known for putting their “stamp of approval” on anything. It is as equally important for the company who is offering services to an artist to do their research on the potential client as it is for the artist seeking services to research the company offering them. Be exact when discussing what your needs are; also be ready, willing and able to negotiate contracts. Anyone doing real business will always put exactly what they are going to do for you in writing and contract negotiations is the opportunity for both parties to compromise, get exactly what they want at an agreeable price. When all is said and done and that tiny little voice in your head starts to say “Am i ready to spend money on these services” or “Can I afford this” is the exact moment you have to stop and ask yourself a question only you can answer ” Is my music worth it?”.
Gigi Capone PR & Associates specialize in working with emerging independent artist’s and has services available that cater to most budgets. To receive more information please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org