Posts tagged music matters
Girl bosses we love: BTS in entertainment

DIRECTORS

Patty Jenkins

You’ve probably heard of a little film called Wonder Woman — it’s only the highest grossing live-action film directed by a woman. But Jenkins’ career didn’t begin with the awe-inspiring Amazon. Her 2003 film Monster (produced by & starring fellow #GIRLBOSS Charlize Theron), was named one of the best films of the decade by film critic Roger Ebert. Jenkins found her ultimate success through her hustle. To raise the money to make Monster, she made many short films, wrote her own screenplay & cast a young actress named Charlize Theron, who went from being relatively unknown to winning the Oscar for Best Actress. This lady never quits & we can't wait to see what she makes next. 

Ava DuVernay

Ava DuVernay.jpg

If there’s any one person in the film industry to look out for right now, it’s powerhouse director Ava DuVernay. In 2012, she directed the immensely powerful historical drama Selma, becoming the first black woman to have a film nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. But she didn't stop breaking ground there; DuVernay is also the first woman to direct a film exceeding a budget of $100 million for her work directing Disney’s upcoming A Wrinkle in Time. Her movies aren’t the only reason we love Ava DuVernay — before jumping head-first into the film-making world, she ran her own public relations firm The DuVernay Agency. Throughout her entire career, she has never stopped helping other artists and creators. She often uses her voice to call for inclusion and empower women and people of color, both within the industry & without.

MUSIC PRODUCERS

Grimes

This. Woman. Does. It. All. Known by her stage name Grimes, Canada native Claire Boucher writes, produces, engineers, & performs music as well as editing & writing videos. The ultimate musical Renaissance woman, Grimes began her life in Canada studying neuroscience before she went on to become one of the most eclectic & forward-thinking artists out there. When she’s not spitting out ethereal experimental music or writing the next big hit, she devotes her time & resources to advocating for equal opportunities for girls in STEM fields, even doing an interview with Teen Vogue from the 2017 Apple WorldWide Developers’ Conference.

WondaGurl

WondaGurl is the the alter ego of Canadian-Nigerian Ebony Oshunrinde & she is absolutely SLAYING the scene right now. The kicker? She is only 20 years old. That’s right. Twenty. Since winning The Battle of the Beat Makers contest at 15, her career has skyrocketed. While most of her peers were graduating high school & starting college, WondaGurl was creating music with artists like Jay-Z (bringing to life the song “Crown” from his “MCHG” album), Travis Scott & Drake. This young producer has a big bright road ahead of her — & we’re happy to join her ever-expanding fan club.

EXECUTIVES 

Bozoma Saint John

Named Billboard’s  “Executive of the Year” in 2016, Bozoma Saint John is everything we aspire to be. Currently the Chief Brand Officer for Uber, Saint John cemented her legacy as one of the greatest names in music as the Head of Global Consumer Marketing at Apple, where she spearheaded the successful Apple Music streaming service. Saint John has come a long way from the pop-culture-obsessed 13-year-old girl who moved the U.S. from Ghana years ago, working with with huge names from Beyoncé (remember that FIRE Pepsi commercial she did back in 2002? Yeah, thank Boz for that) to the late CEO of Apple Tim Cook.

Julie Greenwald

As chairman & COO of Atlantic Records as well as the rest of her life, Julie Greenwald has proven that she not only gets the biz — she's using it to put more good into the world. Under her watch, the label saw 18 Grammy nominations & became the not simply the only label to have the RIAA certify four albums across Gold & Platinum, but the record label with the most RIAA-certified singles. With a particular interest in helping others, she pushed for a mentality at Atlantic that's more focused on great artists than just market share. We love what this #GIRLBOSS is doing at Atlantic & hope to see more powerful women at the helm of the industry.

Patty Jenkins image from Wikipedia/Gage Skidmore. Ava DuVernay photo from TheSource.com. Grimes photo from LiveNation. WondaGurl photo from Hollywood Reporter. Bozoma Saint John photo from Blavity.com. Julie Greenwald photo from Billboard.

#WWAPD (What Would A Publicist Do): How to release an album

So you’re an indie musician, you’re releasing your album solo. What do you do? You’re not Beyoncé; you can’t just drop an album & achieve overnight success. What do you even need before you release an album? We’ve got a new blog series just for you: #WWAPD. Listen up, guys.

TIMING IS KEY

Does your album have a summer or fall vibe? If neither, just don’t release it too close to the holidays – unless it’s a Christmas album of course. If you hire a publicist or choose to do it on your own, don’t set a release date until you create a game plan. If you’re buzzing locally, you may be able to swing a one-month campaign, but that’s pushin’ it. Three to six months is ideal. Think about your goals. Are they achievable in this timeframe you’ve set for yourself? Will you be able to crunch out a photo shoot, studio time, tour booking, finding a venue for your release party, construct a press release or EPK, etc. in time?

Plan ahead & don’t rush things! Musicians tend to be eager to get their material out ASAP, but without the right game plan, you might as well release your music for free on SoundCloud without a peep from even the local media. In our minds, that’s a waste of five to 12 tracks. When we receive emails from bands who want us to help them release an album in a matter of weeks, we literally just tell them no. We can help you with the next one, buddy! What’s the rush anyways? PR peeps have planned campaign schedules, often months in advance, so you need to be flexible if you hire someone too.

According to About.com’s “4 Things You Need to Do Before You Release an Album,” musicians often have an urge to release their music as soon as they record it. It’s a good read, actually, providing creatives with key advice: “instead of rushing it out, look at it this way - you've worked hard on your music, & it deserves to be shown off in the best light possible.”

Pitching writers may take some time (even if a PR guru is doing it for you) & you also need to be aware of their writings habits. Keep in mind that different publications work on different deadlines & writers often have day jobs and other obligations, not to mention thousands of unread emails daily. Some of them have to submit their story ideas months ahead; others can turn in a story within a week. Therefore, know the publications you are targeting and their editorial timelines in order to communicate with them efficiently & effectively.

PREMIERES ARE GOLDEN

Have you even thought about a premiere? If not, you’re losing an opportunity to get another person talking about your album. Do you have a music video? If not, you’re losing a second opportunity. You or your PR rep should give writers options and use their relationships to leverage the best premieres for your brand of music. Are you Pitchfork material or is a niche blog a better fit for you?

Another thing to consider is the narrative that will help you secure press interest in your story. Look for newsworthy elements that will make you stand out. Did critics like your last single? If you don’t have any past press, what makes you as a musician unique? Did you grow up in a strict religious household before you created edgy house music? Mention it in the press release; don’t be afraid to share interesting tidbits about your life. Be selective about what you share and make sure it’s notable enough to mention.

VISUAL ELEMENTS ARE KING

Tidy up your web presence before you pitch the media. They will be searching for you online & an unprofessional web presence may turn them off. Make sure you have all of the important info on your website, social media & SoundCloud to make yourself easy to find.

Don’t use old images to promote your album. If it’s been seen before, it’s old news. Consider contacting a local artist to create a visually cool concert poster, cover art or new merch. Make sure you have images of you and/or your band to send along with your new music. If you don’t send them images, they will search for them online & who knows what they’ll find! It’s better to control the message & take care of this yourself.

Make sure you have your artwork done before starting on your campaign. Also, if you are planning shooting a music video, you should plan on it earlier on, don’t stress out about it the last minute before the album release.  You don’t want to look disorganized if things aren’t ready when you said they would be. Come up with creative visuals that fit you but at the same time something that will be consistent with your brand & keep it coherent throughout the campaign. Are you a laid-back Southern rock band? Cool. Take a band photo on your colorful 70s couch together.

BEAT IS EVERYTHING

Research, research, research. This is literally the most important element of an effective campaign. Don’t waste your time pitching people who write only about hip-hop if you’re an emerging folk rock artist. You’ll not only waste your time, but you’ll also look a little clueless as well. Try your best to come off as knowledgeable about the publication and who you’re reaching out to. Research writers’ “beats” – aka what topics they tend to cover on a regular basis before you reach out.

Good practice is to start reading the local & national publications you want to be featured in. This will help you craft your pitch & understand what their audience is looking for.

PRESS RELEASES ARE HARD

No, really. Press releases take us hours upon hours to write. A good press release tells your story and has all of the pertinent info included, but it also intrigues. Remember the 5 W’s from grade school? We may be biased, but we wouldn’t recommend writing your own press release. Why? Because you’re not an expert (unless you’re a PR-maven-turned-badass-musician).

Look at local PR reps in town & if you don’t have the budget for a full press campaign, ask them if they can write you just the release. What do you never ask a publicist for? Their contacts. That’s something you have to pay for.

Whether it’s a DIY release, or you scrounge up enough dollar bills to hire a publicist to do the job, you need to plan far ahead for any album release. Your music has value & you need to give it same attention releasing it as you did when you were slaving over the guitar in the studio.

Check out also:

Plan a Music PR Campaign: Five Steps

9 Things You Need to Do Before You Release a Single

Why you should get involved in your local music scene
Credit: Dallas Morning News from Suburbia Music Festival 2015

Credit: Dallas Morning News from Suburbia Music Festival 2015

Is your dream to receive a Grammy Award & national recognition? Are you a music publicist who wants to pitch Rolling Stone and tell them about your newest band discovery? You have all these plans, but you don’t know how to get there? Start today and engage with your local music scene! It does not matter where are you from, seek for local musicians and artists & become a part of the music community in your area.

Dallas has a strong music scene, but it’s just starting to garner national attention. Dallas supports local bands & proudly hosts & promotes them during local music festivals & other events. We have so many fests (Deep Ellum Arts Festival, Untapped Festival Dallas, Index Fest, Edgefest to name a few). So, if you want to follow the footsteps of: Norah Jones, Kelly Clarkson, Erykah Badu & Nick Jonas, it’s the best time to explore local bands and network in your area.

If You’re A Band:

Build A Community

Don’t be afraid to reach out to others! Try to go to local shows & support local venues. See what companies are doing bigger events in town like Transmission Entertainment or Communion Music. Fans are more excited about your talent when they see that you support local community & you belong to the same circles as them! 

Network

Network with other bands; get to know your fans & community. Stick around after the show, buy some drinks and enjoy meeting new people. More people you meet more chances that somebody will get interested in your d your music. You will have fun & at the same time you may land your band a new opportunity for a show. Offer to swap shows. Now, you don’t need to go to every show. Think of it as music networking – you pick & choose what fits you and is worth your time. 

Learn From Others

According to Sonic Bids Blog, real insight from experienced people can be an invaluable aid in your journey through the independent music world. Therefore, don’t be afraid to ask questions & work on collaborations with other bands. When you’re an indie musician, you’re your own manager, publicist & more – it’s better to learn the basics of other roles in the music industry. Know a booking guy at Club Dada? Ask them their advice on booking an upcoming show. Have drinks with your friend who just happens to take photos for the Observer? Ask them what they’re looking for coverage-wise in the music scene.

Study What Other Musicians Are Doing

Is there a music festival coming up? Check it out & see what others are doing.  It’s great to see for yourself what others are doing & how they interact with the crowd. Also, it is another great opportunity for you to meet other musicians and people from the music world. What are these artists doing on social media? Which bands are drawing the biggest local crowds? Think about adding them to your lineup as a headliner. 

If You’re Music-Obsessed And Aspire To Have a Career In The Biz:

Go To Local Shows And Support The Scene

Volunteer for local music events, read every publication in town that covers music & get to know local musicians. See who comes to see them & what articles are published about those shows. Listen and take notes about things that are buzz worthy. Observe & listen what people are talking about it, what makes them react the certain ways while a band is on-stage! Get involved & buy tickets to local shows, purchase some merch & keep the local music scene thriving.

 Maintain A Strong Social Media Presence

Social media is great, especially when promoting local events & artists. We somehow are all connected & the word spreads out even faster when we get to be involved in the same activities. Share, comment & spread out to the world. Re-post & share local music news & happenings, “Like” bands’ Facebook pages & follow them on Twitter & create your own social media personality. 

Look For Other Networking Opportunities

Make nice with local bands & venue managers. Always introduce yourself. Whether it’s volunteering to sell merch for one show or helping out with a festival on-site, you’re gaining invaluable experience & making contacts that will last forever. Remember, the scene is smaller than you think – even worldwide. Music professionals are interconnected and last for life, so be a good representation of your personal brand.

Check Out Also:

Why Being Part of Your Local Music Scene Matters So Much More Than You Think

20 Easy Tips for a Better Local Music Scene