A music publicist promotes projects and artists. He or she handles public relations duties as well as marketing strategies. Music publicists communicate with reporters, journalists, bloggers, talent producers, key taste-makers and movers & Shakers and other media to draw attention to creative projects that rely on readers, viewers or album sales to be successful.
A music publicist also sends out press releases as well as works on publicity campaigns. Publicity campaigns may involve record signings, promotional showcases, listening parties or meet & greets. Gospel music publicists contact journalists and reporters with possible story ideas for magazines or newspapers placements. A music publicist may hold a public event that includes a contest to win free tickets to a performance.
Also known as a “spokesperson” or “representative,” a gospel music publicist is a communications professional who handles public and media relations on behalf of a musician or music group. A gospel music publicist usually works in tandem with a musician’s record label, radio promoter, artist manager, artist booking agent, and entertainment lawyers. A music publicist’s main function is to ensure that the overall image that the client wishes to project is maintained at all times. To further this goal, the publicist will perform such tasks as arranging and supervising interviews, releasing statements to the media, and overseeing the marketing and communications material that’s distributed to the public on the client’s behalf.
A music publicist is usually the first point of contact for media members seeking an interview with a musician. When a publicist is approached by a member of the media for a client interview, they’ll first consider the media outlet itself, whether it’s a website, national newspaper, TV show, or radio show. The publicist will then weigh different factors to determine whether or not the interview will have a positive effect on the musician’s image and sales. Some of these factors include: how many people the media outlet reaches, what its target demographic is, and whether it’s likely to garner good press or bad press for the musician. The music publicist will also consider factors unrelated to the media outlet itself, such as whether or not the musician has an upcoming album or tour that could benefit from the publicity of the interview.
Music publicists will often prepare carefully worded statements on behalf of their clients concerning aspects of their private life that have become public knowledge, such as a divorce or the birth of a baby. Publicists may also speak on behalf of their clients when entertainment publications and shows call the publicist with a specific question. It’s up to the music publicist to decide whether to issue a statement at all, or simply reply with “no comment.” A music publicist also handles requests from charities and other organizations to determine which causes are best suited for the musician to represent.
The age of the Internet and social media has largely impacted the nature of a publicist’s function. It’s allowed musicians and groups to communicate with fans and the media more directly and without the intermediate of music publicists, by penning blog posts, engaging in online chats, Twittering, and creating YouTube videos. While some musicians still consult with their publicists prior to any form of communicating with the public, others take to the Internet on impulse, making statements they may later regret and which require their publicists to implement public relations damage control.
You may ask how much does a music publicist charge for their services. A good music publicist that works in the gospel music genre is not cheap. You can expect to pay anywhere from $750 to $1,500 per month or more for an “entry-level” music publicist and $2,000 to $3,500 or more for a “veteran” music publicist with approx 8 or more years experience in the gospel music/faith-based field. And most of them have campaigns with a three-month or six-month minimum. But many bands are able to pay this if they are making enough money through touring, or if they have a budget for hiring outside help (many artists today even attract investors for help).
The upside is that hiring a good publicist can help you get to the next level. They have contacts at a national level and in each touring market that you probably don’t (other than in your hometown) and can reach out to them with ease about the artists they represent. What’s more, they have earned the respect of the people they are pitching to, because those music editors and radio/TV producers equate certain publicists’ legitimacy by the roster they represent. And that kind of connection is invaluable if you are trying to accelerate your band’s recognition.
So what should you expect from a publicist once you hire them? You should expect someone who is professional, friendly, and courteous, a good writer, and someone who has a wealth of contacts and a track record for landing media coverage. You should expect a weekly or monthly report that details all of the placements, and you should also expect online links to coverage or hard copies of articles that have been published.