Do I Need to Hire a Music Publicity Company (PR)?

Promotional Blimp Carrying The Rolling Stones Lands Before The Press Conference To Anno
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You can record the greatest album of all times, but if no one knows about it, you might as well not have even bothered. If you want people to hear your music, then you need some vehicle of letting them know it's out there. Usually, the fastest way to make that happen is to get some press coverage of your new release, be it print, web or radio plays, and one of the fastest ways to getting some media coverage is to work with a music PR company. Sounds pretty cut and dry, right? Well, not so fast. A music PR company can be extremely helpful, but that help doesn't come cheap. Before you reach for the cash, there are a few things you should consider:

What to Know

  • There Is No Magic Formula to What a PR Company Does: They send out your album and then make phone calls and emails to try and get someone to write about. What they bring to the table that you may not have a is a great list of contacts. Getting media attention is very competitive, and an established PR company already has the attention of the writers and editors. They've already been through that "let me leave my 205th message for this person, who has no intention of ever calling me back" stage. They get called back.
  • Still, Again, There Is No Magic Formula: When money is tight, you still have a chance of achieving results by doing your promotion in-house. Be prepared for a learning curve, and it might take some time before your press database is built up, but many labels and bands handle PR this way - especially when they're just getting started.
  • Even When You Hire a PR Company, There Is No Guarantee You Will Get a Single Review for Your Release: Sometimes, there's just nothing anyone can do to drum up the coverage, but of course, you still have to pay anyway. Cut the risk by hiring PR when you think you have a release that has a good chance of getting some attention and handling things yourself when you think you have a niche release that doesn't have a shot for getting loads of coverage.
  • If You Have a Release That You Think Could Go Far, but You Don't Have the Money to Hire a Big PR Company, Try to Cut a Deal With Them: You may be able to convince a big name company to work on one of your releases for a reduced price if they love the music or if you can arrange a graduated pay system in which they get paid more for reaching a certain set of goals.