Jamie New Johnson

From managing artists to interviewing the top music industry executives – I share everything I learn to help you get started, get noticed and get signed. I’m learning a lot and so will you.

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All You Need to Know About Music Publicists

music publicists

All You Need to Know About Music Publicists

All You Need to Know About Music Publicists

Music publicists are essentially your ‘press’ agent. Just as your booking agent secures you live performance opportunities, your ‘press agent’ secures all your press and media-related opportunities. They are responsible for pitching news items and stories to media outlets such as blogs, magazines, satellite and online radio, newspapers, television, cable, both online and offline to earn more awareness for your artist. When you’re signed to a major label, they have a built in publicity department that does all of this for you. When you’re signed to an independent label, depending on the size of the label and where they spend their budgets, they may have a full-time publicist in house, but they will more likely have a 3rd party publicity company representing some or all of their roster.

>>Get Your Free Artist Management Startup Kit

Nonetheless, as an independent manager of an unsigned artist, you also have access to these independent music publicists or publicity companies. Even if you are signed to a major or an independent and they provide a publicist for you, you may also want to hire additional publicity representation so that your artist may receive more attention. This is because the publicists provided by the labels are splitting their attention across a very long list of artists, so you may want additional support from someone who can focus on your artist(s). In summary, publicist’s daily activities and responsibilities include:

  • Writing press releases
  • Creating press kits
  • Pitching stories and music news to media
  • Securing great media coverage
  • Developing media contact lists
  • Continuously building media contact relationships
  • Always in-the-know of the latest media outlets relating to their clients

Who Publicists Work With

  • Managers
  • Artists
  • Tour Managers
  • Agents
  • Record label and distributors
  • Media outlets (editors, journalists, bloggers, publishers, producers, etc.)
  • Photographers
  • Radio hosts and on-air talent
  • Program and music directors
  • Venues and promoters (when the act is on tour)

Publicist Fees

Publicists are hired on a project-by-project basis or on a monthly retainer fee, so the fees range dramatically depending on the scope of the project. As an independent manager of a newer artist, you’ll likely be working with a publicist on a project-basis for an upcoming album release and/or tour, or you may be hiring them on a monthly basis. For a monthly fee deal, this can range from $1000 to $2000 for a well-known publicist. For a one-time project this can cost anywhere from $2000 to $10,000, depending on how long the project timeline is, and if photography sessions are included or not.

>>Get Your Free Artist Management Startup Kit

Picking the Right Publicist

The best publicists have reputations that include the following:

  • Great people skills
  • Outgoing personality
  • Great writer and creative storyteller
  • Very good memory
  • Works well under extreme pressure and last minute changes
  • Massive contact database with every possible media outlet
  • Never gets ‘star-struck’

What Publicists Look for in Their Clients

  • Great music that matches the taste of the publicist.
  • They have to like it enough to want to tell the world about it.
  • Must be able to perform live on stage, on television, or on radio.
  • Relationship compatibility.
  • Sometimes based on current workload and existing client base.
  • Try to diversify their client base so they’re not promoting all the same genres of music.
  • A good story behind the music.

How Publicists Find Clients

  • Mostly from referrals from industry friends or existing acts on their roster.
  • Attending networking events.
  • Saw them perform live at a conference, showcase, festival or live show.
  • Found them online.

music business for artist managers book
How to Work with a Publicist and Do Your Own Publicity

I interviewed a handful of well respected music publicists with national and international artist and music brand rosters to find out exactly how to work with them and/or do it yourself until they are ready to work with you. If you want to know…

  1. How to contact a publicist that you don’t know

  2. The difference between an artist or manager reaching out

  3. Publicist expectations of their partnership with you

  4. And extra advice directly from the publicists

You’ll want to check out The Music Business for Artist Managers & Self-Managed Artists: All You Need To Know To Get Started, Get Noticed, and Get Signed – an E-Book that includes 70 pages of insight from over 30 music business experts to help you move your careers forward.

Jamie New Johnson

I started my career planning educational workshops with some of North America's top artist managers, then moved on to manage commercial radio and internationally touring artists independently. I'm addicted to learning and love sharing what I learn with you here.

  • Eliane
    Posted at 13:51h, 02 October Reply

    Hi 🙂 I always wanted to work in music business, just not as a manager and after reading your post and realizing I have exact all of those skills that are required I really think I could be a publicist. Only problem: I’m only 19 and not really into going to university. But I live in London and I have very good a-levels.
    Any advice? Thank you 🙂

    • Jamie Johnson
      Posted at 20:20h, 23 November Reply

      Hi Eliane! Age shouldn’t be a deterrent! If you want to be a publicist but figure you won’t be going to school, perhaps you could start researching the tricks of the trade online. There are a lot of politics in PR, so you’ll want to educate yourself on that somehow. Additionally, you may want to get in touch with a PR company and offer to volunteer or intern with them. Explain what you have to offer them, and why you think you’d be a good addition to their team. OR – you could always ask an artist/band that you know if they’ll let you attempt publicity on their behalf (for free to start). Best of luck!

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