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Public Relations Knowledge
by Christopher Knab 

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Test your knowledge of public relations in the music industry...

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 career progresses.

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 or false?

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 newsworthy event.

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: chris@chrisknab.net

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 Christopher Knab.

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