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What is Music PR?

music promotion strategies Sep 20, 2023

Music PR - Everything You Need To Know!


PR technically stands for public relations. You may have heard of this term in conversations with your friends who have corporate jobs or those who are public servants too. It definitely sounds a little formal and fancy, right? Well, we wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t know that there is PR for musicians in the music industry as well. A lot of people use PR and music marketing synonymously, but let us assure you that these two terms mean two different things. In this article, we will answer these questions:


  • What is Music PR?
  • Is it important/relevant?
  • What does a professional in this sector do?
  • What is the difference between Music PR and Music Marketing?
  • Should you get PR services? Why/why not?
  • How do you build public relations if you are an independent artist?


Let’s dive right in!


Music PR: The Basics 


Answer this: What is music promotion? It’s the act of advertising one’s music, music brand, and artist persona through different tools of media, such as broadcast media, print media, and so on, to all music lovers and potential fan followers. It is a strategy that's used to create an effective online and offline presence that shall allude to the branding of the artist and help gain a lot of reach for his music. Simple?



Music PR - A Timeless Strategy 


Think about pretty famous artists that we know of now. Doja Cat, the singer of Woman, rose to fame in the blink of an eye. When? During the pandemic. But more importantly, how? 


She made a lot of music even before releasing her albums during the pandemic. But what really clicked was her music promotion strategy - she picked one public platform - TikTok and went viral because of the dance challenges that popped up for her songs. Following that, she got a lot of press coverage, interviews, and eventually awards as well. That is Music PR for you. 



So yes, Music PR is important and has been relevant for quite some time now. The only difference is, that with the advent of technology, most of the PR strategies have become virtual and online, unlike the traditional methods of print and word of mouth. Public relations, help build a wider reach - ultimately leading your music to different ears, irrespective of the medium that you employ. 


Pssst…come here: An interesting facet of Music PR is that it adds a lot of credibility to the musician. For instance, an interview with a famous newspaper organization like the New York Times will add a lot of weight to your music journey because it acts as a verification - a conventional blue tick to your musical presence. Newspapers, news channels, and any prominent form of reportage have held importance in society because they communicate information to the general public. So if a newspaper is talking about you, the thousands of people reading it, are going to consider you important, in some or the other way. 


Music Publicist 


More often than not, a professional who works in the Music PR field is called a music publicist. A music publicist works with the media and public relations on behalf of a band of musicians or other performing artists. Before making announcements to the public, artists typically consult their publicist. Basically, a music publicist will draft press releases on behalf of the musician, hold press meets, announce the tour dates, and make a strategic move to make sure that the promotional tools at hand work best for the musician that they have signed with. 


Pssst…come here: A music agent, a music manager, and a music publicist are three different roles although they all work for a musician only. However, any promotional strategy that the musician wants to employ, goes through the publicist. Sometimes, a music agent does the work of the music publicist too, but that is a rare occasion since they usually focus on scheduling gigs, booking venues for live performances, and so on. 


With the aid of electronic press kits, or EPKs that often contain images, succinct biographies, and details about online presence - publicists assist clients in reaching audiences. Industry professionals who work as music publicists are skilled at highlighting particular facets of work by artists.


A tour, record release, event, or merchandise, whatever it may be, the emphasis is typically on a marketing initiative that is carried out for a specific period with a deadline and notable results. So the events become small components of the big chart that they would have drawn to better promote the musician to the public as originally and credibly as possible. 

Digital PR: 

Music publicists make 100% use of digital media such as social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other streaming apps such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Pandora, YouTube, and SoundCloud to get the best public reach possible, a lot quicker. For example, if you are releasing a brand new track, and you want a press release to be drafted for the same, then your publicist will draft the release and post it on all your social media handles, including your official website as well. So not only are your releases printed on papers that are willing to give you ad space, but they are posted digitally - which is a quick way to spread the news.


Radio and Podcasts:

The music publicist also aims to get you featured in radio shows and podcasts, preferably those that are not insanely popular but have a fairly good listening. As and when your listening and popularity grow, the chances of you being featured or interviewed for famous radio shows increase. In the world of Spotify, radio is surely a little behind, but it has never been outdated and never will be. As your music publicist, they will use all mediums to get you the limelight you deserve. 



 Any upcoming musician cannot be media-trained from the beginning. How do you think some popular musicians dodge tricky questions in a press meet or give witty answers? It is because of years of practice and prep given by their PR team. So your music publicist can help you with dealing with music journalists and reporters, handling press coverages, and maintaining a professional narrative. Consulting services come in as a bonus because they'll advise you on when and how to make announcements, which shows to attend, who to sign or collaborate with, and so on. 


Pssst…come here: Understand that the music publicist will come to you with a set of contacts he already has and a networking base he has built over his years of experience. So you will be given the kickstart that you will need because these music publicists' job is to network at the end of the day. Even if you start late, you will never start slow if you sign with an established Music PR agency. 


Spotify playlist placements: 

We aren’t 100% sure of this, but as far as our research goes, some music publicists help land placements in Spotify’s editorial playlists. It is very difficult to still make it through, even for an expert in the field, but with enough influence and contacts, it can happen. 


Damage Control: 

If (and that is a big if), something untoward happens at a public event, your music PR team or your music publicist will handle the crisis. It is their job to deal with the press, help you lay low for a bit if you need to, and maintain the privacy of your life. You’d definitely need someone like this if you wish to become successful and popular because such incidents are sometimes unavoidable if you become a celebrity. 



Music PR v/s Music Marketing


You wouldn’t be the first person to think these two mean the same thing. But let’s get it out of the way. 


Music PR will focus on brand and image building, gaining as much (good) press coverage as possible, and enhancing the reach of your music messaging through different channels of mass communication. 


Music marketing, on the other hand, has more to do with planning a budget and making effective use of the same. It focuses on employing all tools at hand on different platforms to push/sell your music better - in the simplest of terms. It focuses on the BIG PICTURE of your potential to market your music as much as possible while employing strategies that could help increase your streams from hundreds to thousands to millions or sell your merch from tens to hundreds in a month. Advertising, social media marketing, and physical distribution like CD and Vinyl marketing, all come under the umbrella - of music marketing. 



Pssst…come here: There is no hierarchy when it comes to public relations and marketing, these things become intertwined and interdependent eventually. We recommend focusing on both and when one is yielding exceptional results, use that to push the other. However, if you are totally new to the whole world of the music industry, then we’d recommend starting off with basic music marketing strategies to help you build your base first. Then, you could invest in professional services or be your own PR agent (more on this later). 


Music PR services


The whole thing boils down to a very practical question: Can you afford it?


According to our research, an average music publicist will charge $500 a month. Some firms charge up to $5K as well. Not every firm displays the service cost, but yes, if you are just starting out, these charges will seem unaffordable to you, and rightly so. The upside is that they are professionals and hence, their skills and contacts come at a cost that they will charge. 


Is it worth it once you have the money? Yes. Good music PR can be the catalyst that could really change your music game in the industry and expand your reach. 


Why shouldn’t you do it? Well, if you have the resources and skills of a music publicist yourself, then you can be your own PR head - something a lot of independent artists do. 


Pssst…come here: If you have signed with a record label, then make sure you go through all the documents and the list of services they offer because more often than not, these labels give PR services too - they reach out to press officials, and representatives in news organizations for your media coverage. If you have already signed with a label you might as well get this service too, instead of signing with a separate PR agency. 



For Independent Artists

We’ll give you a starter package that’ll be more than enough to help build your public relations without hiring a professional. 


Build an effective EPK:

As mentioned before, an EPK is an electronic press kit. It will consist of your professional photos (the latest, the better), a concise but effective biography, a shortened version of your portfolio, snippets of already published articles, and a link to your home page or website (use linktree to get an umbrella link to your website, your social media handles, your Spotify handles, etc). Anyone who wants to take any basic information on which they could draft questions to interview you would use this. It is like a textbook for journalists and other press officials who’d land on your page. 


Make a PR Database: 

Now this is a lifelong commitment - one that you should give your 100% to and cannot escape. A database can help you navigate through the industry and get contacts of professionals in the press world. What most musicians do, is that they will start off well, but once they get ahold of the position they have been trying to reach, the database becomes stagnant. Always update the database of contacts you have made, and for that, you can never stop socializing and networking. 


Pssst…come here: Getting press coverage is great for your SEO ranking as well. If one types in your name, the articles and interviews that have been published online featuring you, would pop up, making your presence as a music artist, verified, adding a lot of credibility. 


Social media:

What better place to socialize and network than social media? Use LinkedIn to make professional relationships, make acquaintances, and build your following on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Collaborate with artists - to exchange each other’s contacts and expand networks. Be active on social media, and never be tired of having a conversation with a person who has contacts with other press officials. 


Elevator pitch:

You may have heard this term if you come from a corporate world. But for those who are new, elevator pitches are less than 1-minute pitches that aspiring employees prepare in order to impress the employer. The 1-minute deadline comes from the fact that it will take hardly a minute for someone to reach their floor through the elevator. You will need to attend events, shows of other contemporaries, press meets, and conferences, and these representatives and professionals won’t have all day, so an impressive elevator pitch that could grab their attention and convince them that you are a musician who they could interview, will make a huge difference. 


Pssst…come here: Know your competition. The music industry can sometimes be an intimidating world, and you are not the only musician trying to find a spot for yourself. So when you are networking to build PR relations, make sure you know who’d genuinely help you and who’d do anything to find dirt on you. 


And that comes to the end of this article. If you are still confused, we advise you to get your basics right before you dive into anything that may need a month or two of pure research and resource-building. PR can have a big impact on your music journey if invested in the right amount and at the right time.

We at GreaseRelease, have a bunch of curators on our network who are looking for new & exciting music to push on their massive playlists. If you make music and want to reach a wider audience, check out our submission platform and get a chance to reach millions of listeners! Submit your tracks now!

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