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Anyone had any experience of using a PR/press agent?
Were they any good?
Were their services worth the cost?
are you looking at paying for a decent service?
what coverage you want, where you want it and how much costs are.
we're looking at a run of 4 singles, doing the first 2 ourselves, with a small label committed to doing the 3rd.
who releases the 4th to be decided depending on how the preceding 3 have gone.
we've been told to budget 1000 per single for press. obviously the label will pay for press etc on their release.
we've used a very well-regarded press dude before, and were distinctly unimpressed. luckily we weren't paying that time, but as it's our money i thought i'd see what my fellow DiSers' experience has been...
The stuff those guys do is pretty easy to do yourself if you are capable of making up a company and putting a name that isn't your own at the end of an email.
I know a band who weren't getting any gigs, so they made up a 'booker' at a fake agency and started getting fairly good gigs.
when we released our last single it was through a label with some cash, they paid for the press guy, he got me to write the press release and then re-formatted it slightly (and i mean slightly!) and sent it out!
BUT do your press releases stand a better chance of being read if they come from an acknowledged "professional"? is this what you're actually paying for?
sadly I think they do.
The "not sure" because they didn't give the obvious impression of being well-organised, professional or even interested, but the difference between the releases I used the press agent for and the ones I didn't were noticeable.
if you use a music PR / agent, they'll have more experience in how to make a press release digestible and media friendly; also, I'm guessing they'll have a comprehensive media list with which to distribute the release, they'll possibly have friends who are journalists / editors who will be more conducive to what they release, and will probably follow up the distribution of the release and try and coerce the relevant people into writing about their client.
That's just a guess. Music PR has always seemed strange to me compared to most other forms of PR.
because ours does it for free!
Got us reviews we may possibly not have got otherwise in Rocksound, Music Week, The Fly, and a few websites I'd never even heard of.
i.e. finished recordings, some profile, busy gig calendar. You have do lots of work before a PR is necessary
I am one
I don't mean that in an aggressive way - I definitely realise there are things and lots of good reasons to get a PR - but it'd be useful to know what to expect from them and what we're paying the money for.
That's an undeniably useful thing.
Everything's in place with my band to really push ourselves (label, gigs, own gig night, someone to make our vidoes, more recordings than we know what to do with plus our songs are catchy but unusual enough for the press ot get an angle on it)
My thing is I really don't want to work with anyone who doesn't get what I'm trying to do.
But I really think we're in a place where a PR is necessary and where the right PR would actually really want to work with us and be able to do a good job.
I've actually got an arrangement with the label that's releasing our stuff at the moment that we'll even stump up something towards a PR (this was my idea, not our labels) if they can't afford ot when they release our next single. It's just working out how to find the right person.
or is the bit where you ask me for £20, 000, guarantee me the #1 spot in the singles chart for the entire of 2008 and then mysteriously disappear only to turn up sipping champagne in the Seychelles 6 months later?
You're paying for three things essentially: contacts, access and kudos.
It is certainly possible to do PR yourself, but if you choose this route, be inventive, because you wont have the financial resources to compete on a 'normal' level with bigger bands who essentially take up the space you're vying for.
PR is one piece in a larger picture, one which also includes booking agents and radio pluggers. PR agencies don't guarantee anything, which makes them a bit of a gamble. Plus, unless they're convinced the band will reflect well on the company, theyll charge you a great deal of money.
I'm sceptical of all of this side of the industry, but it's rather disappointing how many magazines/promoters/DJs bow down to it. Very few things get covered now without some other agenda taking over.
we've got all the other people, and they're all good, and doing things that we would definitely struggle to do by ourselves, it's just hard to throw sizeable chunks of money at that one mystical magician who doesn't seem to do anything, and yet without whom the whole juggernaut can stall before its wheels have even started to roll...
It's because of this that i think that the whole rhetoric of independence is just bullshit. Unless you're incredibly lucky, independent bands do not get picked up by the mainstream press, radio etc contrary to what we're made to believe. And it has nothing to do with the quality of the music either. In fact, you could probably generally claim that quality and marginal status kind of go hand in hand, judging by what the NME et al seems to think is worthy of coverage. I also find it annoying that lots of people, who you would hope know better, are drawn in by it all. I suppose it's the quantity of exposure that is the most important factor.
What band are you in?
That's who would traditionally offer advice on this kind of thing.
who's very good, and whose advice we follow, but that doesn't mean we don't listen to other people too - i love the fact that you can come on DiS and get genuine, relatively impartial advice from people who're out there right now, doing the do like betty boo. and your good self, mr brainlove.
that you're not doing the do yourself - when you clearly are...
doing the do that is.
they haven't paid any PRs anything, haven't released anything, don't sell themselves in any way and have only played about 15 gigs, but they've got a really good write-up (one-third of a page) in this months Rock Sound saying they're wicked and everyone should like them.
I don't know if having a PR could have got them such quality coverage; ultimately, it's because they're really good and the journalist really likes them.
but that depends on the right journalist being in the right place to hear them.
It's great when that happens and good luck to them but hoping a national magazine journalist turns up to one of your gigs isn't really a viable strategy!
The thing is a PR (or some form of selling oneself) can get a name out there and get journalists etc. to hear a band. Obviously they'll still be judged on their quality but press (and more importantly audiences) have got to be able to hear you before anything else'll happen!
when you do it yourself (which we've done in the past), it's much harder to get things to appear in print anywhere near your release date, or even in similar months to other articles. getting the odd one-off good review is great, and achievable if your band's good, but having a "campaign" where you see reviews appear simultaneously in lots of places is much tougher.
Although NME journalists are the exception. Theyre told what to write generally and im sure what this actaully constitutes amounts to the influence of payolla of sorts (be that 'advertising loyallty' or somesuch). You might not give a fuck about the NME, but if you really want to start selling records and packing out gigs, and let's be honest, you wouldnt be considering a PR in the first place if not, it's the way forward
seems like a case in point. i may have been badly misled by jealous chinese whispers, but didn't james jamm basically say he wasn't given much choice as to the nature and quantity of coverage they received in the magazine?
and to what extent is it people's prejudices about the NME?
Does anyone actually know?
The NME would be different if it wasn't.
Most bands don't enjoy "big upping" themselves because somehow it's better to be a tortured starving artist. You may very well be a tortured starving artist but I'd think "tortured" is enough. You may or may not be the next Oasis, but I think it's obvious it'd be nice to get paid and be able to make a living at playing music.
So it's important to remember that it's showbiz. Yeah, you could do all the PR work yourself and you probably will until you get to a certain level like John (?) said above. And it certainly will help if you made Slanted & Enchanted ... but one man's Pavement is another man's Jet, I suppose. Erm, obviously.
Anyway, you know all that. I really am writing this because I want to relate to you/every one what Danny Boyle (the director) said is the number one way to make it in show business: Persistence. Play as often as you can. Practice makes perfect. You think Nirvana were just a bunch of drug addicts? Well maybe, but those boys played and practiced and played and practiced... and a little known label called Sup Pop said "Hey..."
There is no one way, there are no "entry level" positions per se. Now, here is my uninformed feeling on how to find a good PR agent or lawyer. You don't want to hire the firm that does Steven Speilberg. You could, y'know. Anybody could. But then you'd pay some twat $500/hr to do nothing. He's got Speilberg as a client, remember? No. What you need is a midlevel lawyer/pr agent who is manic for your band. Who's had success getting a band where you want to be (next).
I'd way sooner get a PR that's enthusiastic about me and my band's music than one who's had huge success but doesn't care what he achieves for us.
I hate being over-positive 'cos it sounds like I'm being an egotist but I know we're good enough at what we do that the right person will come along eventually.