Uninsured music motorists (By Kenny Love)
“In today’s musical climate, operating without a professional promoter or publicist in the upper echelon of the music industry, is akin to driving a vehicle without liability insurance…eventually, a major accident will cost you far more than your monthly premiums.”
Even though it is now, practically, an “independent” musician’s world, more and more, we are reading how increasingly important it is for unsigned and independent recording artists to have professional third-party representation in the forms of record promoters and media publicists.
In fact, a prominent publicist recently stated that all serious artists who understand how competitive the industry has become, and what it truly takes to make it in today’s music industry have, at least, one of these services working for them (and, preferably, both) as opposed to attempting to unsuccessfully go it alone.
Many artists, however, seem to believe that since it is an independent’s music world today, technologically speaking, that promoting their music is somehow easier and that they can, indeed, go it alone, and all the way. However, that is not nearly the case…not even close.
Think about it! With major label artists, who already have a (pardon the pun) track record, reputation and money, and who are jumping ship from the majors or, are being dropped from labels as soon as their contracts are up, along with all of the unsigned and independent artists who come on board the industry daily, logically, how can you expect that marketing yourself is suddenly easier? Just doing the math alone will quickly show you that it isn’t.
Sure, technology has opened a few more virtual doors, but be advised that your competitors are not dummies, nor deaf… for they too have heard these virtual doors creaking open as well, and have entered the gladiator arena.
Furthermore, while technology has allowed for ease to some degree, the media largely expects the same level of representation that it has been accustomed to all along.
In other words, for the most part, radio expects to receive media kits from familiar record promoters that it has established business relationships with while print media also expects to receive media kits from publicists with whom it is familiar. Add to that, the follow-up and tracking in both of these areas that is vitally and more important.
Even further, take a look at the unsigned and independent artists who are being selected and are performing and headlining the major concerts and festivals of today. Invariably, you will discover that most, if not all, are being represented professionally by promoters and publicists.
But you say, “I don’t have a budget for a promoter or publicist.” Well, to that I say, get one! And, do it quickly! For, just as you, obviously, formulated a budget for your production, or have a band fund for touring in case of on-the-road mishaps, you equally require a budget for marketing your music competitively and successfully.
In fact, in today’s music industry, it is highly illogical to operate in the industry and expect to satisfactorily succeed without knowledgeable third-party representation in the forms of promoters and publicists.
Doing so, basically, says to the music industry that:
1. You do not truly understand the necessary business mechanics and requirements of the music industry and, therefore, are a risk whether financial or otherwise.
2. You are too cheap to hire representation.
3. By presenting the media in “first person” will ensure that your career is short-lived and, therefore, they need not waste their time on assisting you in an unsuccessful attempt to build it.
To be both highly effective and competitive, if you are a performing artist who is also marketing a music release, it is imperative that you have third-party representation to handle your day-to-day business affairs, i.e., radio promotion, media publicity, etc.
This should be evident simply by how many artists are unable to properly maintain consistent promotion for their regular gigs alone, aside from their ongoing failure to properly promote their music releases to even earn back their production investment or break even.
All in all, it is as simple and as real as this…
With human nature being what it is, most of us prefer and trust familiarity. For example, a friend usually takes precedent over an associate or stranger.
Applying this hypothesis to a radio music director, program director or music print editor, let’s say that, two media kits arrive on his desk simultaneously.
One media kit is from a trusted familiar promoter or publicist who continually and consistently provides great product, and has built a great business reputation, connection and relationship with the media source.
The other media kit is from YOU, whom the music director, program director or editor has never heard of. Now, in your own words, which package do you feel will be most likely to be opened *first*, and is likely to be granted a quick listen,review and consideration? Now, you don’t *really* want (or need) *me* to answer that, do you?
In today’s musical climate, operating without third-party representation in the forms of a professional promoter, publicist or otherwise in the upper echelon of the music industry, is akin to driving a vehicle without liability insurance…eventually, a major accident will cost you far more than your monthly premiums.
Editor’s Note: Kenny Love is president of MuBiz.com, a multi-facet music organization for independent musicians, which includes radio promotion, media publicity and a number of additional administrative services.