Hiring a music publicist: Artist’s guide

Music publicity, while one of the toughest jobs in entertainment, is also one of the most important, and as an artist, hiring the right publicist can make or break the success of your music. In this piece, we offer some guidance, on how to select the right publicist for you.

Guest post by James Shotwell of Haulix

Finding the right publicist for your next release is a challenge, but knowing what to ask can make all the difference.

Music publicity is one of the most challenging jobs in entertainment. Publicists work long hours to help artists cut through the noise and be heard. They go above and beyond daily to make sure their clients’ stories are heard, often in places that the artists themselves would never be able to reach, and they rarely receive the thanks they deserve. Music PR is, in many ways, the bridge between anonymity and stardom.

But finding the right publicist for your music can be challenging. Just because someone can promote a band or artist that makes music somewhat similar to yours does not mean they can do the same for you. Likewise, it’s possible someone who never worked with an artist like you could help you find new audiences. Others will promise you the world and deliver nothing. 

While we can’t make decisions for you, we can provide the tools you need to make the best choice for your career and wallet. In the latest Music Biz update, host James Shotwell walks through more than half a dozen questions every artist should ask a publicist before hiring them. These questions cover expectations, costs, and the publicist’s understanding of the project in question, among other things. Check it out:

Questions covered in the video above include:

  • Please tell me about my music (describe what it is you think I/we do)
  • How do you define a PR agency’s worth to a client?
  • What do you feel about your agency’s worth in the context of that answer?
  • What isn’t your job?
  • Why is your agency best suited to work this specific record for this specific band?
  • What kind of adjustments have you had to make since starting your own agency?
  • Can you provide a SWOT analysis of our project?
  • What is a story that needs to be told about this band and this record for it to achieve the most commercial success?
  • How do you prioritize clients?
  • This band is outside of the genre of your biggest acts. How do you make that into a strength?
  • What is the current rate for your services? Do you offer discounts on multi-month commitments as opposed to month-by-month payments?

Asking these questions can help you find the right person or team to help make your next release the success you deserve. Don’t hesitate to ask as many questions as you need to feel confident in your decision.

Music Biz is brought to you by Haulix, the music industry’s leading promotional distribution platform. Start your one-month free trial today and gain instant access to the same promotional tools used by BMG, Concord, Rise Records, Pure Noise Records, and hundreds more. Visit http://haulix.com/signup for details.

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company’s podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.

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