Sell-Off Rights for Merchandise

The sell-off rights to merchandise aren’t well known to all musicians. However, it is something you should be aware of before you start to work with a merchandiser.

What are sell-off rights?

This simply means that the merchandiser doesn’t have the right to manufacture more merchandise right before the contract is over. They can only sell what is left in stock. Most merchandiser will ask to sell it through retail outlets as it won’t be sold on concerts. The artist will get royalties of these pieces that get sold. There should be no question in that. Before you take this step, there are a few things you, as an artist, need to ask for.

Buy it Yourself

Before the merchandiser sells your merchandise after your contract has ended, he or she should give you the chance to buy the rest of your merchandise back. If you have merchandise that you only sold online, it could be a good idea to start selling that merchandise at concerts too. It gives your fans the chance of having that one shirt they couldn’t order.

If you don’t buy the rest of your merchandise, the merchandiser will get a sell-off period. This can be anywhere within 6 months to a year. Just make sure that the sell-off rights are non-exclusive, so that if you work with another merchandiser you won’t get in trouble. And, the merchandiser cannot stockpile the merchandise. This means that they can’t manufacture more merchandise right before the end of the term. If you’re making an agreement, try to get this in the contract. Ask that they only manufacture a specific amount of merchandise so that this doesn’t happen.

Distress Sales or Dumping

Ask them to put this in the contract too. This means that merchandisers cannot sell your merchandise at very low prices just to get rid of the stock.

If you do get a sell-off rights agreement, they should ask you by the end of the term if you want to buy the remaining stock. If not, you ask them to get rid of the merchandise. With this meaning, destroying it. Or you ask them to donate it to charity.

Can Sponsoring Help a Band or Artist?

Some artist or bands may think that getting a sponsor is like making a deal with the devil. You sell your soul for the one thing you most desire, fame. But is that really the case? We don’t think so. You have to be smart and see where the opportunities lay in the industry.

Is Sponsoring Bad?

Some bands have fin with their sponsorship deals. Look at the extreme product placement from All Time Low did in their ‘ I Feel Like Dancing’ video.

It’s a bit extreme, but its a good example of making fun of sponsorship deals. And it doesn’t mean you’d have to sell your soul to do what you love. Yeah, sure, All Time Low probably got a lot of money out of it from Rockstar Energy, but think about it this way; more money, means more investments in your band or music.

With the money you get, you can invest in new materials for tour. Or you could invest in new merchandise. You could even use some of your sponsorship money to pay for new recordings and studio time. Do something special and manufacture limited edition vinyls! It can really expand your creativity and once potential new fans see how creative you’re getting with your sponsorship, and you don’t overdo it at live shows, they could actually start paying more and more attention to your music.

But make sure you do it for the right reasons. It’s good to have some extra money in, but don’t be a sell-out. Be smart and be creative.

So, do you still think that sponsoring is a bad thing?

Smart Links 101

The following includes sections from a blog written by Music Fibre – an online music industry directory and blog posting tips, tutorials and useful information for anyone working in the music industry. In this blog, they have delved into the world of Smart Links. This may be something you are already familiar with, or you may never have heard of them; either way, this blog will tell you what they are, why you need them and how you can use them to drive more sales of your music.

What Are Smart Links For Music And Why Should I Use Them?

The internet has made the world a very small place. Even if you are making beats in your bedroom or recording from your mates shed, your fans can be anywhere in the world.

Smart links will help you make sure that when they find your music, they are taken to the right music download or streaming site and can shop in the right language and currency. A smart link can offer your fans a choice of store or you can automatically direct them based on their location or device (e.g you may wish to send iPhone users directly to iTunes.)

It’s not just about making sure the shopping experience is good for your customers, it’s also an opportunity to track and monitor your fans. You can find out which stores they like best, find out where in the world your fans are and keep track of your marketing. The advanced analytics that smart links offer let you see exactly how your fans are discovering your music. If you have ever wanted to know if your Facebook campaign is working or if you should stick to Twitter, this will help you find out.

How Smart Links Can Save You Time

Smart Links save a huge amount of time. To get started you simply enter one link to your music in one store. The smart link provider will scan other stores for the same release and you then decide which stores to show on your landing page. When promoting your music you simply share one link instead of having to enter details for Spotify, YouTube, iTunes, Beatport etc.

What Do Smart Links Look Like?

Help For Bands is aware of the ins and outs of Smart Links because Horus Music use them for their marketing campaigns. These are created for the artist to post and makes it easier for fans to access the artist’s music.

They also make it easier for publications to talk about the artist and their music. By having a smart link ready to go, a publication will find it easier to integrate into anything they write. Overall, it makes it much easier for anyone to listen to an artist’s music on their preferred platform. The easier the process is, the more likely someone is to listen to the music on offer.

Below, you can see an image that shows how the smart links work in the Soundplate Records website:

Smart Links

 

Want To Create Your Own Smart Links?

There are several providers that can help you create smart links for your music. These include SmartURL, LinkRedirector, LinkFire and Hive amongst others. The best part is, they are free to use! If you want to make it easier for fans to listen to your music, Smart Links are the way forwards!

You can see the original blog post by Music Fibre here: http://musicfibre.com/smart-links-music-101/

Get your Own Merchandise

Merchandise usually comes as an afterthought to people embarking on the journey of their music careers, but it’s a major revenue stream for many musicians and labels. Merchandise isn’t just a means to make money. It’s how your fans connect with you as an artist and as a brand, show their support and capture memories. Having merchandise allows people to express who they show they are part of your journey

Setting up your own line of merchandise doesn’t have to be complicated and you don’t have to do it alone. You just need the right partners to help you deliver on this aspect of your music business. Before you start, you need to know the five steps to building your line. We’ll walk you through these below.

1. Get your Merchandise Designs Made

Kanye West managed to sell plain white Egyptian cotton T-shirts at $120 a piece, but most artist merchandise needs a little bit of decoration to entice people to buy.

You need to create artwork that captures your values, the emotions you create, your beliefs; your brand, and it needs to connect with your fans on an emotional level. Not to mention your artwork has to be visually appealing and your fans have to be proud to wear it.

Think about what you want done before approaching an artist or designer to create your artwork. The more you can tell your designer about yourself, the better equipped they will be to create merchandise that you will be proud to sell and that your fans will actually want to buy.

2. Decide Which Products you Want to Sell

Once your artwork is complete and you’re satisfied, the next step is to choose which products to sell. Bare in mind, not all products are made the same. There are standard T-shirts and there are premium T-shirts for example.

Every category of products from T-shirts, sweaters and hoodies right through to varsity jackets, backpacks and beanie hats will have various manufacturers and product ranges within them and it’s your job to decide which ones you want to use. Consider the following when deciding:

  • Quality of T-shirt; Standard or premium?
  • Is the garment easy to re-label?
  • How much does it cost?
  • Does it fit nicely? Will your fans want to wear it?
  • What does the fabric feel like and what is it made of?

These decisions will affect production costs which will impact your retail price. Don’t get me wrong, Beyoncé can sell her merchandise on a cheap Gildan Softstyle T-shirt for £35.00, but she’s Beyoncé. We have to be practical here and choose a product that looks and feels the way you need it to in order for you to feel comfortable selling it at the price you’re asking for.

3. Get your Samples or Mockups Made

Now your designs are made and your products are selected you need to be able to show people what the product will look like. There are two ways you can do this.

Get Mockups Made

This is a more cost effective way of showing people how your products will look. You can put the mockups on your website and use them to promote on social media. We can also provide you with images to produce your own mockups on. Just ask for access to our Google drive.

Get Physical Samples Made

Having a physical item that you can take photos of and promote on your social media channels and at your gigs may be a little more costly, but it’s certainly much more effective at getting people to trust and buy your products. Now they can feel the garments before making a purchase. People won’t buy a product from you if they can’t see it – unless maybe you’re Beyoncé.

4. Set Up your Sales Channels

Once you’ve created your products, you need a way for your customers to buy them.

A sales channel is simply a way of bringing products or services to market to make them available for purchase.

E-Commerce Website

Selling online is essential if you want to reach more customers than you could offline. Get an e-commerce website built so that your customers can buy your products online. Research on the range of e-commerce platforms available and choose the right one for you. See suggestions:

  • Squarespace
  • Shopify
  • Prestashop
  • Etsy
  • Big Commerce
  • Woo Commerce
  • Wix
  • BigCartel

Selling Merchandise at Gigs

If you have a gig and you have a chance to take some of your merchandise with you, then do it. This is a chance for you to connect with your customers, talk to them, sign copies of your EP, take photos with them and make it a memorable experience.

If you can’t get a table, then wear your own merchandise. Bring a duffle bag or two and sell your merchandise to people straight out of the bag. After you’ve delivered your performance, people will want to become a part of your brand and your story. Don’t deprive them of this. Not everyone will have cash, so be prepared and get a portable card reader. We recommend the iZettle.

5. Production & Fulfilment

You will need a means by which to produce and distribute your products so that your customers will receive them. There are a few ways to approach this depending on your circumstance.

Print-on-Demand

You can sell your products online without having to get them made in bulk and keep inventory and still earn a profit on your sales. You sell the product first and then we print and ship it to your customer on your behalf with you lifting a finger. It’s a good way to get started on a low budget and test out which of your products are most popular. Learn more about print on demand here.

Bulk Ordering

Ordering in bulk is higher risk due to more cash being spent upfront, but will give you a higher profit margin. If you have a growing fan base and you’re selling regularly, this may be the route for you. Paying £5.00 per T-Shirt and selling them at £20.00 will give you pretty good margins with a relatively low breakeven point. It’s a good idea to learn about the different printing methods as well, which you can do here.

You can choose to keep your products yourself and ship them to your customers manually, but may consider outsourcing to a fulfilment centre when your operation grows.

So now you have everything ready, why not get started?

It can take a while to get everything prepared to start selling your merchandise, but once you’ve reached that stage then you’ve crossed a real milestone. Having the right guidance during the process is essential, and that’s why we’re here to help and offer our expertise.

We believe you should be able to earn a living from your craft and want to help you do that, so get in touch and let us know what we can do for you.

Get in touch with us at info@wearyourheartout.co.uk or give us a call on 0116 350 0321.

Happy merching!


Written by Kieza Silveira De Sousa from Wear Your Heart Out

How To Build Your Mailing List

To become a successful artist, you need to work hard on building your fanbase, until you reach a point where you can sell your products to sustain and grow your career. A loyal fan is built from multiple, valuable connections with you. Therefore, it’s very important to make sure you get the contact details of those people who have invested their time in you by either watching you live, liking your fan page or browsing your website. It all starts by building your mailing list.

Firstly, get yourself signed up to Mailchimp. This is a free platform that organises your mailing list and helps you create professional looking mail outs. You can create the best looking content for your subscribers.

At Live Shows…

After your performance, make sure to have a printed mailing list sign up sheet prominently displayed at the merchandise stand, or even better, go round the audience asking people to sign up. If you’re too busy after your set to do this, (or too shy), ask an outgoing friend to help you. It usually helps to have some sort of incentive for people signing up, such as a free demo CD, digital single download code or a badge for example. You’ll then need to add in those contact details into your mailchimp list.

Text Marketer

Something that we have found has worked well for larger scale events is a text marketer. This is where you ask audiences to text a keyword (selected by you) to a short number, and they get an automatic text response. The response may contain a link to your website, a free music download or tour dates for example. Think of the old Orange Wednesday 2 for 1 deal on cinema tickets where you texted FILM to 241 and got a code in reply.

Look at www.textmarketer.co.uk which is free to set up an account. You then pay a small subscription fee for a chosen keyword and then purchase a number of credits. For every automatic response that sent is out, a credit will be used up. If you then make it so that in order to access the incentive, an email address is required then you can then collect email addresses for your mailing list too. Noisetrade is a useful site for this.

All of the numbers of people texting in are stored on your account, so when it comes to releasing your EP for example, you can send out a text marketing message with the download link to all of those people directly to their phones.

Online…

Website

We highly recommend setting up a Sign Up box to your website. Mailchimp helps you integrate a sign up button into your website easily. Make this prominent on the home page. Add a clear call to action and make it obvious what the benefits are for subscribers.

Social Media

Use social media to get people signed up to your mailing list. With Facebook making it ever harder to reach your fans without spending money, it is well worth working on migrating as many Facebook followers to your mailing list as possible. Again, use incentives such as raffle give aways, priority on tour tickets etc. You can get creative with this!

What To Do With Your Mailing List?

  1. Make sure to put out regular, quality content to your mailing list subscribers.
  2. Send exclusive and engaging content. Anytime you have a major announcement, such as a new release, festival appearance etc – announce it to your mailing list first. They will appreciate being told before anyone else and value the subscription to your mailing list.
  3. Run competitions exclusively open to your mailing list subscribers.
  4. Don’t over do it – You’ll see large numbers of people unsubscribing if you’re bombarding them with promotion. Keep things engaging and interesting, which means you have to keep yourself busy doing fun and interesting things!

The Importance of Imagery and Branding for Musicians

We have all heard it…

“You guys are definitely going to make it”

“You’ve got something special”

“Your music is so original”

So after years of lugging your instruments around the country, playing show after show for hardly any reward and a crowd which thins out when its too far for your friends to make it, its understandable to think to yourself “Why haven’t I/we made it?”.

From experience of being in bands which have been on the cusp of something really great it became quite clear that in the music industry there is something  that most musicians forget or don’t quite understand (and rightly so as music creation should be the prime focus for any up and coming artists).

Your music is a BRAND… and imagery and branding matters.

What is a Brand?

A brand is a set of marketing and communication methods that help to distinguish a company from competitors and create a lasting impression in the minds of customers.

In a market where musicians and labels are fighting to be heard, you need to create content that makes your music stand out from the crowd.

To put it into perspective, your band decides its time to send that demo you’ve spent time, money and effort recording in a top notch studio over to the big industry execs. You have asked your mate Steve to craft you a logo in Microsoft Paint and have slapped it onto a low resolution image you found on google images and printed it using your Mom’s printer before you slide it into a plastic cd case you picked up from Tesco’s a week earlier (We’ve all done it).

Your EP arrives at the offices and gets put into a pile of 350 other demos that have been received over the past couple of days.

On average your music will get 20 seconds before its thrown into the rejection pile. SO FIRST IMPRESSIONS MATTER! 

Unfortunately, in the digital age we live in it’s not all about the music – you need to have the “Look”.

What Can You Do to Help Your Imagery and Branding?

  • Figure out your target demographic
  • Get a Logo professionally designed (either by a friend or a music centric design agency).
  • Decide on a colour palette and typographical style to use in all collateral. Consistency is Key.
  • Make sure your social media is consistent, keep the imagery the same on all platforms.
  • Don’t scrimp on getting your CD artwork created, this is one of the only things that is a physical representation of your music. So make sure you are super happy with the artwork and the print.
  • If you are ready to submit your music to agencies, labels, publishers etc then get a professionally designed press pack! You will no doubt stand out from the 100’s of CV like word documents that they receive, standing you in good stead for your music to spend a little bit more time in the cd player…
  • Buy a domain and GET A PERSONALISED EMAIL ADDRESS! There is nothing worse than receiving an email from myfirstband1234@hotmail.co.uk.
  • Get professional photos taken.
  • Finally, I know I keep banging on about it but  CONSISTENCY IS KEY!

Written by Alex and Adam from music industry design company, Archetype.

Alex and Adam are musicians themselves, having spent 10 years in a band together. They now focus on delivering high quality branding to musicians, labels, management agencies and other companies/people in the music industry. From their experience as a band, they realised just how important imagery and branding is to an artist’s success. Both of them want to pass on some wise words of advice!

You can find more information about Archetype on their website. See them featured in our opportunities newsletter where they offer an exclusive discount to our subscribers.

Using Influencers to Increase Your Popularity

Influencers are individuals or companies in the industry that are considered tastemakers. They look out for new music and blog/tweet/post/discuss and basically talk about what they think of this music or at least give it some exposure. They are (usually) trusted names in the blogosphere or across social media and people look to them for guidance on what music to listen to. If you get picked up by an influencer, this can obviously do you some favours!

The first influencers were the fanzines of the 1980s such as The Sounds, NME and Melody Maker. Music fans found new music from printed publications such as these. Now, in the digital age, most of this has moved online in the form of blogs and social media. But, contrary to popular belief, being an influencer doesn’t necessarily mean having a large number of followers, it’s to do with having an engaged and relevant audience that interact and appreciate the opinions of influencers.

Accounts on SoundCloud

Accounts that repost songs from new artists are an example of a modern day influencer. There are many accounts that do this but the key is to find the ones that aren’t too spammy. On some accounts, all they do is repost and you can see that even though these accounts may have a large number of followers, there actually isn’t that much engagement with the reposts because people just get bored of seeing them being posted all the time. The accounts worth targeting are the ones who are more selective of what they repost and therefore have a higher engagement rate. Even if they have a lot less followers than other accounts, if the engagement is there then it is a lot more worthwhile to try to contact these accounts and negotiate a repost. This article gives you an in-depth analysis on SoundCloud reposts and their value.

People on Twitter and Facebook

Connect with those who post about the music industry and about new music are another example. Direct message these accounts and see if you can get a dedicated post. Analyse who they talk about and see if you can figure out where they are finding these bands. If you can present yourself in a similar way to what they’re interested in, you’re more likely to get exposure.

Blogs

Some are dedicated to music are another obvious influencer. Digital Music News posted the Top 20 Most Influential Music Blogs, all of which have a loyal and active following. A lot of blogs are genre specific or have a certain type of audience or feel about them. Most also focus on the particular country in which they are based so check where they are from beforehand… there’s no point approaching a blog in Australia if you’re in the UK (unless they’re posting about artists internationally).

Research into what you think is most relevant to you and target these blogs for exposure. A good way of doing this is to find out who the specific writers are behind the blogs and reach out to them individually via social media or email rather than the general blog accounts. Your message is probably more likely to be read and considered.

When reaching out to anyone in the industry, you need to be ready to take advantage of the opportunity. You could get some A&R attention if you manage to get exposure from an influencer, so if you are not ready to receive that attention then it’s a waste of all that effort and it will take a long time for you to be featured again. By then, the momentum will have passed. Check out the blog I did for Music Gateway on what you must prepare before approaching anyone in the industry.

Making Money from Music: Fan Relationships

It is obvious that building a fan base is essential when making a career for yourself in the music industry. To monetise your fan base you need a pretty established following (not a large following!) of people you interact with. For example, if you have a following of 10,000 on Facebook / Twitter but no one likes, shares or comments then these aren’t fans you can monetise. If you have a following of 1000 and you get a good amount of interaction then there is potential here. So, if you want to make money from fan relationships, you need content for them to interact with.

Once there is interaction, you can start introducing ways of earning money. Before you can ask fans to part with their hard earned cash you need products to sell:

Live Experiences 

Make some noise about any and every gig you have coming up (see part two: live performances). This can encourage your current fans to buy a ticket and help to bring in new audience members. These could later become fans who pay for more gigs and other offerings. And if it’s a free event that’s fine too. Okay, they won’t directly provide a revenue stream, but you can increase your fandom and build loyalty.

Recordings 

Get in the studio and make some music! Get physical CDs you could sell at your next gig. Distribute your music online to streaming sites and download sites. Set a release date and make a fuss over it to increase excitement over your new music.

Merch 

T-shirts, key-rings, artwork, whatever you can think of. This is for artists with fans who’re willing to buy, so don’t go investing until you know it’ll get sold. It’s hard enough to make money as a musician without throwing away what you earn!

Now you’ve got the basic products, you need a way of selling them. Asking fans to join a mailing list will help you understand who are the most enthusiastic about what you’re doing. You can then alert these fans when you have a new gig or music and / or merch available. You will be directly selling products to your most likely of customers.

Why not also start a subscription fan club for your most loyal of fans. Charge a small amount for entry to the fan club and in return provide them with exclusives. This could be news from you, direct interaction, and gigs/releases announced before anyone else. Basically like a VIP mailing list.

You can use both or either of these to talk about extra developments with the 3 basic products. For example, send over sneak peeks of merch / artwork designs. Sell VIP live experiences where they can meet you for a chat before the gig. Set competitions where the first 5 people to buy your album get a free ticket to your next gig etc.

Making Money from Fan Relationships

These are all just examples. You need to be fully aware of your reach, your budget and the likelihood of building fan relationships. Create campaigns specific to you and never ask for too much! If you are constantly trying to sell to people, they will quickly get bored of you. Provide enough free content to get them interested and then ask for them to buy things every now and again.

Using Music Conferences to KickStart your Music Career

Steve Palfreyman is the man behind the Music Launch Summit, one of the largest online music conferences in the industry. It provides 40+ music industry masterclasses to help artists launch their career, and it’s free!

Here, Steve talks about his extensive career in the music industry that led to him creating the Music Launch Summit. From a grassroots music festival to band management and being a musician himself. Steve provides valuable advice on pursuing a career in music, and the importance of using music conferences in doing so.

What inspired you to begin a grassroots music festival?

It was actually a friend I met at Uni that I jumped onboard with. He’d been running it at his property for years and wanted to expand it. Four of us studying together spent twelve months working on building this thing up into what we hoped would become a pretty phenomenal event. It was by most accounts until we had to shut it down last minute. The lesson – get written contracts! It would have been such an epic kick-start to our careers, but the failure in itself was a huge opportunity to make my next project more rock solid.

Following this you began to manage bands yourself. Do you think there were any key aspects of your management or the bands themselves that contributed to your success with these bands?

This was another big learning curve! I’d been managing my own band for years and after finishing my degree thought I’d be ready to jump out into the world helping other artists that I knew that I thought were brilliant. We kicked straight into things and got some good results. But so many things I’d do differently now.

What advice would you give to bands/artists who are thinking of approaching someone for  management?

Do it yourself first. It’s far better to mess things up for yourself than have someone else do it! And honestly, the right person who’ll take your career to the next level probably isn’t going to rock up on day one. Learn the craft and wait for the right relationship, otherwise you might accidentally be getting a glorified assistant on board.

You’ve had experiences in many roles within the music industry, most recently with the Music Launch Hub to create the Music Launch Summit. What was the driving force behind this venture?

To bridge a big divide in the industry. We’re all so much closer to each other on our journey than I think we realise. That was my gut feeling after talking to and working with so many different creative people over the past few years in particular. Speaking to all these amazing people who are on the Summit, my idea has been confirmed. There really are a lot of people who want to see others win in the industry, and we can all learn from each other.

At what stage in a musician’s career do you believe they should start attending music conferences like this in order for them to get the most out of them?

Day 1. That’s part of the reason I’ve put so much work into making this happen. I got more inspiration & ideas from my first BIGSOUND conference (that’s Australia’s SXSW) than I did in my 3 years studying a Music Business Degree. We can learn so much from our peers and because the industry isn’t one size fits all, I think a lot of what we need is just enough courage to go out there and make something happen, even make something fail. We need peer learning to speed up that process.

As a musician yourself and a successful music business entrepreneur, what do you believe to be the most useful piece of advice and/or the most useful tool for success for up-and-coming artists you have come across?

Be open. The more I’ve spoken to people, the more I’m seeing there isn’t one golden ticket. I think we all need to be open to learning & helping each other win rather than trying to scramble for ourselves. Our openness towards our peers and our industry will define how it plays out in the future for far more people than just you or I. It’s our responsibility to open this industry right up for everyone else.

How To Approach A PR Company

When you run a PR company you get a lot of bands asking to check out their music and work with them. We can’t listen to them all so here is how to approach a PR company and get attention.

Methods to Approach a PR Company

If you’re going to get in touch then email is probably the simplest and most accepted way. Up until a few years ago I would have said sending a CD was a good option, but many computers don’t come with CD drives anymore. So any CDs that turn up to our office get put in a box and are left to gather dust. Email also allows you to politely follow up if you’ve not had a response with-in a week or two.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with chasing someone up once or even twice. Any more I’d just take it as a sign that they aren’t interested. Personally I’ll try and reply when I can if someone has taken the time to send a follow up email. So don’t be afraid to do it.

When you do send that email, make sure it’s actually tailored and personalised to the individual you are contacting. It’s worrying how many bands will send out a blanket email and bcc or even cc a ton of different PR companies in saying that they are wanting to work with them.

Randomly messaging someone on Facebook or tweeting a link out of the blue is probably the most irritating. There’s nothing worse than seeing a band tweet 100 different people at once asking them to ‘check out’ their track. Please don’t do it I beg of you. It doesn’t work and everyone will hate you.

Research

Make sure you do your research before you get in touch with a PR company. Discover which other artists and the sort of music they cover first of all. If you’re an indie rock band then contacting a PR company that specialises in heavy metal is a waste of time. The person who gets your email will know you’ve not bothered to do your research. When you do find the PR that you think might be right, then make sure you reference some of the artists they’ve worked with. This is especially important if your band has some things in common with them. We always like to engage with people who are fans of the artists we work with so this will usually get our attention. It also shows you’ve put some thought into things before reaching out.

Planning 

There’s a minimum period of time we usually work from on an album campaign. For example there’s normally a 2 to 3 month lead-in for a print campaign and around 6 to 8 weeks for online. So if you get in touch and say your album is out next week then your’e already way too late . In some cases we’ve had people get in touch saying their album is already out. Again theres nothing that can be done for you here.

When it comes to getting in touch try and keep these timeframes in mind. Try to outline a rough plan of when you think your potential single/EP/album is coming out, when you might tour and also any other assets you could have for the campaign and when they’ll be ready, such as a music video. The more of this you can put together the more interesting you become to the person you are approaching.

Music 

As obvious as this may sound, often bands will get in touch and not include a link to their music. Please include a link to your music and make sure it’s a good quality recording. If you’ve done the hard work and convinced someone to take a listen then you want to impress them. A low quality demo or poor quality video won’t have the same sort of impact as a decent recorded track. It’s our job to send your music to other people so if it doesn’t sound good we’re really not going to want to share it. Try and show us the final version or as close to it as you can.

Feedback

If the answer is a no then it’s always worth asking for feedback from the PR company you just approached. You won’t necessarily always get it but if you’ve caught them on a good day or maybe you were just really polite over email then they could offer some of their thoughts which you may want to take onboard. It also potentially leaves the door for you to contact them again in the near future.

I’ve had a couple of bands in the past where I suggested that hiring a PR company at this current time wasn’t right as their profile was too small and that they should try and create some initial coverage themselves. A while later the band did just that and came back showing some of the great coverage they’d secured so we’re now working with them on their next single.


Written by Simon Glacken who is the Director at I Like Press.

Since founding in 2009 as enthusiastic champions of the emergent British left-field rock scene, Leeds-based publicists I Like Press have evolved upon their ability to birth new artists into the public consciousness, to create fresh impetus for established musicians worldwide.

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