ll the audience a little about who you are
Hello World! I am the VP of Talent and Media Relations for 2R’s Entertainment & Media PR. A one-stop boutique PR agency is based in Harlem, NY. We represent the likes of Ruben Studdard, Raheem Devaughn, Brian McKnight, Omar Wilson, T Barz, J. Brown, Porcelan, Tamika Scott of Xscape, Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men and 16 year-old Tylan among other acts.
What does a music publicist do in the music industry?
A publicist is the direct connection between the artist and the media. We arrange interviews between the talent and the press and basically present to the masses who this artist is, what this is artist is about and hopefully engage the artist and the consumer world and start building a true and organic fanbase. The media will forward any requests to the Publicist for booking. However, sometimes the media will try to short-cut the publicist when they slide into the Artists Direct Message (DM) to try to get an interview without going through the proper channels. But normally, there is an understanding that any media requests should be forwarded to the Publicist.
How important is getting the right music publicist? In other words do all publicist do the same thing or do you specialize in specific areas?
Getting the right Publicist is always key, but knowing when to get them is what is real important. Off the bat a publicist is not needed. You want to build start by building an artist "identity and building a "buzz". You want to develop a phase one of development and testing the market. Once the second phase kicks in, when the label begins marketing and promo such as a promotional tour, radio, shows and more. This is the best time to bring a publicist in to help the various departments. They all go hand in hand. As far as various specialties of publicists, yes, you must get someone that knows your target audience. A publicist who knows a few people that work on urban outlets, but their specialty is country, does not make that Publicist the right one for you. Know your target audience and build your team from there.
What is a press release?
A press release is a document that introduces the subject at hand. That could be a single, an album, collaboration, or event. It is what gives the person at the media outlet an overview of what you are pitching. It explains the: who, what, when and where of your pitch. Ideally, you would love everyone that your press release is sent to; to read, post and or write about it. The goal is to get to the key points to them, provide just enough information, have it make sense to get their interest.
When do you need a Press Release?
A press release is needed the moment you are preparing to release any product into the marketplace. You want to be official from the moment you are releasing something for consumers to purchase and anything pertaining about you and your brand.
Do publicists rely on media contacts or are there new tools that help your end of the industry?
Public Relations is based on relationships as are many other industries. But every day, new tools come into play, new people join companies that once upon a time your old friend worked at, so that “old relationship” friend is gone, but I always say… it’s about the approach and how good your pitch and product are. If you are pitching the right person in the right department that caters to your field, you should be good, (when you take out the political BS game). There are several databases out there that are helpful with thousands of media contacts, some are good, some are ok, but all expensive. There is Cision, Mud Rack, Meltwater, and more. – Often times several publicists or companies, partner with each other to take on the cost of the database.
Is it beneficial to pay a company to send out a press release instead of a publicist?
I personally do not recommend it. A publicist represents the artist at all times. The Artist wants to be consistent, from the beginning, as to who is telling your story. Sending out a press release is just that “sending it out”, if someone bites, then they bite. A publicist, whose pure interest is to see you win, can send out the same press release, but focuses on getting “that yes” for you. Even though more than often times “gets the no”, but the publicist will start building dialogue about the Artist and project. The publicist will also be able to relay to you the feedback given by the media outlet and in addition will keep the same journalist updated on the development of the Artist and project. That in turn helps the journalist, somewhat; store your name in the back of their mind, making it easier in the future.
What categories of industry professionals do you work with on a daily basis? (ie., managers, radio, press, TV etc).
Ha! The morning normally starts with managers, calling and or texting about what is happening for the day and it goes from there. But to your question – Managers, of course the press on your priorities for the day as well as follow-up emails to those lovely un-replied emails from 2 or 3 weeks ago from some of the press folks. No day should be the same in this industry. There is always a twist and turn that will await you.
What do you consider about an artist prior to taking them on?
There are many things to consider… Here at 2R’s it begins with loving the product the Artist is creating. We want to believe in the Artist and can see ourselves being a key component in this person’s career on a long-term basis. If it’s just “for the moment”, and the Artist or team is saying “Check me out, I put a song together” type of thing. I can assure you, 99.9 percent will pass on the work.. At TwoR’s our motto has always been truly “loving the Artist and or product” and we can proudly live up to our saying of “going the extra mile is not a question”.
How much does it cost to hire a music publicist?
Publicist rates varies per industry, but it’s also on a per project bases. There is some room for negotiation with Publicists. They will work out a deal with the label or management and try to make it fair. However, be prepared because rates can start at 2,500.00 (per month, per project). Often times, that is with a three-month agreement or a six-month agreement. But as I said, it will vary per agency.
I just want to say thanks for the opportunity to pick my brain and share a tiny bit of the knowledge that this roller-coaster of a ride industry has blessed me with. In closing, do your best in really finding a publicist that wants to see you grow, wants to see you win and that really believes in you and goes to work on you and not just about the pay check! Kiss a few frogs before finding “the right one”
VP of Media Relations & Communications
2R's Entertainment & Media PR (NY | LA)
601 W. 135th Street #6E | New York, NY | 10031
646.326.4803 | TwoRsEnt@aol.com
Twitter / @TwoRsEnt
Facebook: Ra-Fael Blanco