Public Relations Knowledge
by Christopher Knab
Back to The Academy
Test your knowledge
of public relations in the music
It is essential to know someone personally in
the media to receive free publicity. True or false?
False: There are thousands of newspapers,
magazines, fanzines, as well as radio and television stations throughout the U.S. and
around the world. Whereas it is always wise to establish contacts, and create
relationships in the music business, never forget that the media needs
information. If your message is relevant or newsworthy for their target audience they have
more of a reason to use your information.
Sending invitations to the media for record
release parties, concerts, showcases, and any other music oriented events is a waste of
time because no one in the media has the time to attend such functions. True or false?
False: Granted, the competition for media
attention is at an all time high. We live in an era when everybody and their sister make
their own music. However, if your music, and the Image you project are suited for the
magazine, newspaper, and radio station you have carefully researched, then your chances
for coverage in the media increase greatly.
Record Labels that advertise in the print and
broadcast media are offered free publicity based on the amount of money they spend on ads.
True or false?
False: Let's just say that any media
publication or broadcast station that is solely concerned with doing favors for their
advertisers will eventually lose touch with their readers or listeners. They succeed only
when they deliver news and information that their audience is interested in. Will your
music help them reach that goal? However, an artist, or a Record Label that has a budget
for consistent advertising, and a track record of financial success, is far more likely to
get a lot of free publicity because of the "party train" factor. Where there is
success, there you will find the media "getting on board".
Magazines, Newspapers, and Trade Publications
that cover music are only concerned with interviewing and featuring well known artists. True or false?
False: Finding new talent, and helping them
reach more potential fans is an important function of the media. And, once again, when
consistent relationships exist in the media, it is far easier to get reviews, calendar
listings, articles, and interviews. Remember, anyone in the music business who invests
their time and money supporting an artist, will see their careers progress as the artist's
Holding the media hostage by telling them you
will only advertise in their publications if they feature your music in a review, article,
or interview is an effective way to get the media to support your music. True or false?
False: Really False! This is the worst thing a
band or artist can do. The idea is to make friends in the media, not enemies. (You'll get
those without much effort, I can assure you.). The media and music business is a business
of opinions attached to "characters" attached to egos, attached to dollars and a
lot of cents.
It is more effective to promote a one-time
concert, or special event, than it is to regularly seek publicity for all newsworthy
activities of an artist. True or false?
False: The truth is that there is no such thing
as a "one time publicity campaign". Working an act is just that...work.
See a publicity and public relations campaign as a career long commitment. Checkout any
current celebrity who has been around the block a few times, and you will be noticing the
results of the long-term publicity concept.
Sending a check to a charity or non-profit
organization is a good way to get publicity for a band or artist. True
False: Performing for a
charity or non-profit organization is the way to go. Writing a s check is a nice gesture,
but think of doing benefit concerts for charities, or a political or social cause
of some kind. The media are far more open to publicizing this type of event, than an
ordinary concert. It also helps their "warm and fuzzy" community standing to get
involved with such events.
An effective way to get publicity for a
concert or a new CD release is to send money to a media representative, or buy them a
special gift. True or false?
False: Refer to question #5 again. Remember,
the idea is to establish relationships, not get a reputation for being into payola, a
stigma attached to the big record companies since the 1950's. Basically, it comes down to
this. Be a good human being!. Be respectful of the media, and conduct your publicity and
public relations ethically, and professionally. You will last a lot longer, and enjoy your
work a lot more too
It is a good idea to call a media person at
work to ask them for a CD review, or a concert plug. True or false?
False: It is always appropriate to "follow
up" on press releases that have been sent, and send thank you letters when a review,
mention, or article was written; but NEVER call the media to initially inform them of any
The only publicity or public relations effort
that matters is when large and influential publications and broadcast stations mention
your music. True or false?
False: "All publicity is good
publicity" is an old saying. And it is basically true. Even the smallest comment or
mention in a neighborhood newspaper, a music fanzine, a gossip column, or a plug by a
college radio DJ is worthwhile. See all publicity successes as steps forward toward the
larger media exposure opportunities.
9 or 10: P. R. HipMeister
7 or 8: Sassy and Savvy
5 or 6: Mild Mannered Mogul
3 or 4: Neophyte
2 or less: Sucker
Christopher Knab is an independent music business consultant based in Seattle, Washington. He
is available for private consultations on promoting and marketing independent music, and can be reached by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Knab's book, 'Music Is Your Business'
is available from the Music Biz Academy bookstore.
Visit the FourFront Media and
Music website for more information on the business of music from