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By Kenny Love


"Are You Ready? Are You Really Really Ready?"

 
  I recently received the excerpted letter from a prospective client who is interested in some of my promotion services. And, as much as I herald the cause of independent music and its recording artist residents, in all honesty, I must say that there are numerous artists, many in fact, who are simply not ready for the professional end of the music industry. The worst part is, they don't yet realize it and, when they finally do, it is often too late. And, that is as much a fact as my fear of sitting at the top of a stationary ferris wheel (been there, done that...with a girlfriend, no less). Please review the excerpt to see if your own musical situation has frightening similarities.

 
Indie Band: Kenny, we are definitely interested in having you write a pitch letter and a press release for us. And to answer your question, no we do not have a record promoter. We are a completely independent band actually. Pardon my ignorance, but what does a record promoter actually do?

 
KL: A record promoter is referred to as the person or company that gets your recording into radio stations for possible airplay consideration. In actuality, record promotion encompasses all aspects of the promotion of a recording. And, accordingly, what is commonly referred to as a record promoter is, in actuality, a "radio" promoter, whether an individual, or group.

 
IB: We are planning to do a first pressing of 1000 CDs and 1000 posters and then have the CD promoted to college radio regionally by a firm in Cambridge, MA.

 
KL: Basically, this company, whether it holds itself out as an official record promoter or not is, indeed, performing the duties of radio promotion.

 
IB: The obstacle to all of this right now is lack of finances and/or a means to get them. We don't have any investors or anything like that. We are dead serious about our music and our band and are committed to making it all the way to the top and doing whatever it takes to do so. We are just stuck at the moment due to financial constraints. Let me know your thoughts, the pricing on the bio and whatever else you feel might be applicable.

 
KL: Again, my fees for the cover letter, bio and release, are in the responding automated email that you received. And, again, you also need to spend money on, not only the firm in Cambridge for radio promotion, but also for a press publicist, whether with me, or another publicist. For, you can obtain all of the radio airplay you wish but, unless you have a follow-up process for the press, with getting you artist interviews and music reviews in area publications where that airplay is occurring, any and all airplay will be extremely short-lived. For, it is one thing to obtain radio airplay, but quite another to sustain and extend it which, in part, is based on a "buzz" continually created in other areas, i.e., print publications via artist interviews, music reviews, television interviews. Getting such a "buzz" in all other press outlets makes your recording more appealing to radio and gives it a reason to continue playing your recording over another that may not have all media aspects churning for it. You also state that you are out of finances. In response, I must say that far too many unsigned and independent musicians release recordings long before they are ready to compete musically and can be sustained financially. In fact, without a promotion budget to sustain the life of your recording as it "catches on," makes it no competition to other similar releases at all that have such a budget. And, I cannot say this any better when I say to you that it takes money to make your record happen, pure and simple, whether you are the one spending it, or someone else has your financial back. However, many Indies have long erroneously believed that the proverbial 1000 CD package was going to make their career or, at least, be enough to get them "discovered." This simply isn't so, never has been and, if you don't have all media sources working, you will quickly find this out. I'm not talking about flukes that just happen to be in the right place at the right time, but the everyday standard process of establishing a music career. Having only the Cambridge firm promote your recording to radio, without having a publicist follow it up and promote it to the press area of each radio station that is granting you airplay, is like wearing a pair of pants on a Minnesota winter day that has one complete leg, with the other leg completely cut off. In other words, only 1/2 (more or less) of your lower body is protected. Basically, for lack of a better analogy, you can apply this same example to your promotion situation. And, without backup press support, and the quick death of your radio-only recording, ultimately, all money and time spent in any capacity up to this point, will have been spent in vain.

So, ask yourself...are you ready...*really* ready?

Go to Kenny's column "tighten up"

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