5 Ways To Leverage Press

[Editors Note: This article was written by Suzanne Paulinski.]

 

You spent months reaching out to bloggers, podcasters, and music tastemakers to convince them to review your music and/or interview you. You sent out links to your music. You submitted your press release/bio/EPK. You got people on board. You prepped for the interviews (preferably the right way). The pieces were published. The links were shared…

…and crickets.

Sound familiar?

All too often musicians put in so much effort to get press, only to see it move the needle very little, if at all.

It’s not because the reviews were poorly written, but because many musicians fail to leverage the press they receive in the right way.

There are so many tips and tricks out there to get the attention of coveted blogs and magazines, but what happens once you’ve gotten their attention? How to do maintain the attention of their readers?

Below are five different ways you can leverage press, whether it’s a printed interview, a podcast, a music review, a video on YouTube, or something that hasn’t yet been invented by the time this article is published, you can build off of these tips to get the most milage out of the months of effort you put into being noticed.

1. Write a newsletter to your fans about the experience.

All too often an interview comes out and fans open up an email from an artist that says “New interview in ABC Magazine CLICK HERE TO READ!” with a link to the article, and that’s it. The problem with that is that you’ve given them no context.

Give them a reason to care and click on the link.

Were you nervous? Did something funny happen during the interview? Did you open up and share something you’ve never said aloud before? Write a brief explanation about your first-hand experience and then provide the link to the article. Your fans will want to know how the story ends!

2. Create a short video introduction to the piece.

Your YouTube channel doesn’t have to only be cover songs or lyric videos. You can leave a short video message to your fans telling them about how much you love ABC Magazine and how honored you were to be featured. Then, using a link card overlay on your video, invite them to check out your latest piece of press. This will add content to your channel, bring more eyes to your other videos, and add to your subscriber list (just be sure to tell them to subscribe at the end of the video and in your caption).

Second, doing a short video on how much you love ABC Magazine and sharing it with others not only converts well (as video often does), but it shows love back to the writer and company who just covered your song/band.

It’s a unique way to say thank you, beyond simply sharing a link about yourself. Relationship building for the win.

3. Share a ‘Behind-The-Scenes’ photo with the link.

Posts that get engagement are the posts that readers are able to immediately relate to, and not everyone can relate to having their music reviewed or being a guest on an awesome podcast.

Especially if the press is audio only, adding a photo to the post that shows you (and any other band members) having fun, or even better, exhibiting some sort of feeling or message that is discussed in the piece, catches peoples attention and allows them to connect with your message on a deeper level, rather than simply seeing a link to a podcast you want them to hear and share.

Add a caption that explains a topic that was discussed and then inviting them to hear the rest by clicking the link goes a lot further than simply saying, “Listen now!”

4. Write a review of the blog/podcast that featured you.

Much like the video message, this shows other outlets that you care about shining a light on those who have shone a light on you.

Creating a list of your Top 5 favorite reviews they’ve done (while including yours on that list), whether as a newsletter or simply a longer Facebook post, opens your fans’ eyes up to other artists they may not have known and may also introduce them to a writer or podcast host they weren’t familiar with until now. Posting content that provides greater value is key.

5. Reach out to the next tier of blogs/podcasts.

Much like life in general, everything has its season. A few months ago you may not have been ready for a feature in XYZ Music News. But now, ABC Magazine has interviewed you and brought more eyes to your message and music. That may be what XYZ Music News was waiting for before they decided to jump on board.

When you have a glowing review or stellar interview with one outlet, do your homework and determine the next stepping stone. Don’t jump from a small write up in a local paper to the cover of Rolling Stone – be strategic. Look at bands you admire and start to examine how their press exposure grew and follow suit.

Reach out to outlets that may have turned you down in the past and reintroduce yourself, acknowledging that some time has passed and you have recently enjoyed some positive press that you’d like them to be aware of in consideration for a future review.

No matter what, always think about these two things:

  • The bigger message. What larger message was your recent press about that others can relate to? Create multiple posts off of that one message.
  • Your funnel for bringing on new fans. Be strategic in how you involve your other channels, as well as your email list, when getting the word out about your latest press. We call this your funnel – using once piece of content to drive fans to other channels to take further action.

Lastly, don’t forget to update your EPK or press page on your website with the most current coverage. Your hard work doesn’t end once you’ve landed the review. Make it worth your effort by seeing it all the way through.


Suzanne Paulinksi is an artist consultant with over 10 years in the music industry and owner of The Rock/Star Advocate

INTERVIEW: Fanburst Seeks To Offer Independent Artists More Streaming Options

While it’s known among our artist community that getting your music in stores and streaming platforms like Spotify, iTunes, Amazon and Google Play has never been easier. But of course there are other platforms that don’t require typical digital distribution, such as Soundcloud and Bandcamp, allowing artists to host and share their music either for free for a named-price.

Beyond making their music available to the bases of dedicated fans using these platforms, another benefit has traditionally been space for those artists who are putting music out weekly or even daily. But as some of these platforms are gearing towards a paid or subscription model, the amount of space per account an artist has becomes limited, which either requires them to remove content to make room or simply not put new content out there.

Enter Fanburst – a new streaming service offered free to musicians and fans of all genres. Similar to other streaming platforms, Fanburst allows artists to set up their profiles with information about themselves, links and photos.

Founded and developed by Jeremy Yudkin and Chris Miller, Fanburst offers artists the opportunity to upload and host an unlimited amount of releases, from albums to singles – all the special price of 100% free. Since launching in beta last year, the two founders have been working with artists to garner feedback and figure out how they can better serve creators and fans alike.

As with services like Soundcloud, we’ve never been shy about encouraging artists to take advantage of ALL their options when it comes to getting their music into the world. Discovery is a challenge, so why not cast a wide net? If you’re covering fans who love to use Soundcloud, it’s equally important to cover fans who prefer Apple Music or Spotify – and vice versa. Fanburst is another platform to reach fans, and that should please any independent artist

We had the chance to chat with them in a quick interview below about launching Fanburst and what they hope to achieve with this exciting new platform.

Tell us a little bit about your backgrounds and how you got together to start building Fanburst.

Jeremy: Chris [Miller, co-founder] was one of my customers in a previous venture, and we were spending a lot of time talking about music and the future for artists. At some point, we decided we should build something together. We wanted to take both of our skill sets, as well as our shared passion for music, to start solving problems that we saw for emerging and established artists.

What kind of input were you getting from indie artists during the development of Fanburst?

Artists just want to be heard. Really, it’s so hard to get discovered, but it’s not impossible. Indie artists have to just get their music out into every marketplace, streaming service, and digital platform there is. If an indie artist writes an amazing tune and it takes off on Fanburst, it will still have carry over onto other platforms.

Also, artists are creating a lot of music and they need a way to share and publish it. The finished ones, the drafts, and just ideas – we didn’t want any artist not to share something. We built Fanburst so every artists at any point could upload their music.

Similarly, what kind of feedback have you received since launching? How have you been engaging with artists to improve and adjust?

The feedback has been awesome – especially from new and developing artists. We’re helping artists get their first few fans, and it snowballs from there. More fans here helps to drive word of mouth, and then artists have the opportunity to grow.

What advice do you have for young up-and-coming artists when it comes to delivering their content online?

Get your music everywhere – get on TuneCore, they make it easy. But also get your music anywhere TuneCore doesn’t distribute. Also: be early adopters on platforms – you can get lucky and become the big fish in a small pond and dominate.

Also, keep writing and working on your art. It compounds and improves, just like any other skill, so just get better every day, bit by bit.

How do you envision Fanburst living aside big name players like Apple Music, Spotify and Deezer?

Hopefully we develop a unique, independent community where artists can catch some new fans. We think music is going to be a lot bigger than it currently is, and it likely will play out with a lot of platforms and lots of different fan experiences where artists can take advantage of.

We hope the artists using Fanburst are also using the other services, because we think its a net win when artists are growing everywhere.

What can you leave us with in terms of the exciting future ahead of Fanburst?

We think we’re planning on rolling out a bunch of interesting features that will help artists grow their fans, grow across other platforms, and drive revenue. For now, making sure the platform is simple and easy – that’s our focus.

Personality Dynamics: Why Communication and Respect Are Vital For The Health of Your Band

[Editors Note: This article was written by Patrick McGuire.]

 

Many serious bands happily sacrifice money, relationships and careers in the hopes that they’ll find an audience for their music. But while focusing on the musical parts of being in a band is important, the way the musicians who form a band respect and communicate with each other is just as vital for acts that hope to create, record and perform music over the long-term.

Bands break up for all sorts of reasons. Some musicians throw everything they have into music for a few years only to give it all up when they can’t find the success they’d hoped for, but others upend otherwise perfectly good projects because they simply can’t work with the other musicians in their band anymore. It’s become routine for bands with massive talent and untapped potential to call it quits because they fail to focus their efforts on communication and mutual respect.

What Bands Do and Don’t Do Well

When musicians set out to create new projects, they probably think about making music and not much else, and this makes sense. If the purpose of a band is to create music, it should exclusively focus on writing, recording and performing, right?

Bands obviously need to spend time developing their identity as musicians, but alongside non-musical relationship skills like communication, openness and respect. Musicians in newer bands with plenty of enthusiasm and energy tend to be great at writing lots of songs and playing shows, but they’re notoriously bad at making goals, being open about feelings and speaking up when they feel unheard or disrespected.

Blame it on the male-driven culture behind so many bands out there or the fact that making serious music requires musicians to frequently enter vulnerable territories they’re not usually comfortable in, but most bands are simply not great at being open with how they feel about things, and this is a big problem.

All Relationships Take Work. Why Would Your Band Be Any Different?

Whether you realize it or not, a band is a relationship unlike any other. Falling somewhere between a friendship, marriage and creative business partnership, the personality dynamic behind every band is completely unique. But like all other relationships, it takes effort and sacrifice to keep a band healthy and together.

The work that makes the other relationships in your life possible is similar to the work you’ll need to do to keep your band healthy and on track. Some bands, most famously Metallica, even go as far as to get professional counseling for their issues. Your band might not need therapy, but you will have to learn to speak openly and respectfully to each other if you want to stay together.

Opening the Lines of Communication

It can be awkward and unnatural for some musicians to open up and talk about their needs and feelings, but for bands to be successful, they have to be able to really talk and listen to each other. Communication in band settings is so vital because making music with other people is complicated on every level and there’s often so much at stake.

Bands routinely deal with everything from complicated finances and contracts to spending months together touring crammed together in a small van or car. Sure, at band practice once a week you’ll be able to stay quiet and let some things you’re not happy with slide, but when you’re on tour for two months promoting an album you’ve just put a couple thousand of your own dollars into, it might be a little harder to hold your tongue. Opening up the lines of communication now will keep you from saying things you might regret later.

Respect, Openness and Empathy

Musicians in successful bands find ways to respect and empathize with each other, even when it’s not easy to. Under ideal conditions, it doesn’t take a lot of work for some like-minded musicians to be kind and patient with one another, but like in any other relationship, people show their true colors in the face of real challenges.

Who you are when the van breaks down or when your band blows the show? It’s more important for that person to be kind, open and respectful to your other bandmates than the person you are when things are going swimmingly. Easier said than done, of course, but the effort here is the important thing.

Taking Stock of the Health of Your Band

It can be uncomfortable to address underlying issues in your band, but ignoring them will only make things worse. Setting aside time after rehearsals is a good way to make time for getting things off your chest, making plans and opening up a dialogue about what your band is doing and where you want to go.

Rather than waiting for disasters to appear and become unmanageable, getting in the habit of creating opportunities for respectful dialogue now will help your band stay together and make music for years to come.


Patrick McGuire is a writer, composer, and experienced touring musician based in Philadelphia.

A Look Back at TuneCore in 2017

Where did this year go?! It feels like just last week we were cheering about all the accolades and big moments that made up TuneCore’s big 2016, but here we are entering into a new year once again.

One thing that never seems to change is the ability of all the artists that make up the TuneCore community to shine. We’re thrilled to have spent another year helping artists take control of their journeys, build their fan bases and collect 100% of their sales revenue.

Along the way, TuneCore made its presence known at events and conferences around the world – connecting with artists to advance the mission of helping them get heard and get paid. It’s always exciting to see the artists who use our platform for distribution gain traction and show the world why it pays to be independent. So join us in taking a look back at 2017.

GRAMMY Nominations


TuneCore artists, songwriters and arrangers are making some serious waves in the GRAMMY nomination pool this year. Check out some of the awesome noms received by independent artists from the TuneCore community and join us in congratulating them:

SZABest New Artist, Best Rap/Sung Performance, Best Urban Contemporary Album, Best R&B Performance

Sylvan EssoBest Dance/Electronic Album

Julian Lage & Chris EldridgeBest Contemporary Instrumental Album

August Burns Red  – Best Metal Performance

K. FlayBest Rock Song

Raul MidónBest Jazz Vocal Album

Miguel ZenónBest Latin Jazz Album

Tina CampbellBest Gospel Performance/Song

The Walls GroupBest Gospel Performance/Song

CeCe WinansBest Gospel Performance/Song, Best Gospel Album

Marvin SappBest Gospel Album

Alex CubaBest Latin Pop Album

Los Amigos InvisiblesBest Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative album

Aida CuevasBest Regional Mexican Music Album

Blind Boys of AlabamaBest American Roots Performance

The Infamous StringdustersBest Bluegrass Album

Lisa LoebBest Children’s Album

 

TuneCore at SXSW, A3C & Midem 2017


As we have been in the past, TuneCore was in attendance at some of the music industry’s most important events and conferences this year. It’s always incredibly meaningful for us to connect directly with artists, labels, and managers to talk strategy and success – and of course where TuneCore fits into that conversation for them.

At SXSW, our team held down the Artist Gifting Lounge for four days where we were able to hold one-on-one consulting sessions, introduce our artist services and distribution options to newcomers, and shoot the breeze with artists during one of the busiest events of the year. At night, that same team was out on the streets attending TuneCore Artists’ sets and showcases all over Austin.

In other rooms of the Austin Conference Center, TuneCore’s Director of Entertainment Relations Chris Mooney chaired the Transforming Online Popularity to Offline Success” panel. Additionally, Director of Artist Entertainment Relations Amy Lombardi could be found running the “Creating For a Cause: Music For Action & Awareness” panel.

 

Across the pond, TuneCore’s VP of International Marie-Anne Robert was invited to speak at a distribution-focused panel during Midem 2017. Being able to chime in during one of the largest publishing conferences in the industry is always a massive honor, and Marie-Anne advised artists on the importance of making sense of the data from streaming services and how it can help influence business decisions.

Later in the year, members of the TuneCore team hightailed it down south to Atlanta for one of the biggest and increasingly important events for independent hip hop: A3C Fest 2017.

With so many independent artists popping their heads in and out of the Loudermilk Conference Center in downtown Atlanta, TuneCore took advantage of this opportunity by hosting “Music Made Me Industry Talks” that included a combination of hip hop artists, producers and music industry professionals. Topics included distribution, beatmaking, business planning and radio promotion.

International Highlights


TuneCore’s International team was busier than ever in 2017. Brand managers across Europe were busy meeting with and informing artists about the benefits of using TuneCore during our first-ever “TuneCore Indie Tour” – stopping off in the UK (Manchester, Birmingham, and Nottingham), France (Marseille, Nantes, Lyon, Paris, Lille and Annecy), Germany (Hamburg, Dusseldorf, and Dortmund), Austria (Vienna) and Romania (Bucharest).

 

Aside from connecting with artists on these tour dates, TuneCore also established new partnerships with like-minded, artist-friendly European startups like the CapiTalent, Arezzo Wave Love Festival, Music on Stage, Les Etoiles du Parisien, NME, Focus Wales, Liverpool Sound City, SPH Bandcontest and the Reeperbahn Festival. Partnerships like these have allowed us not only just reach more international artists and labels, but also helped create more exclusive opportunities for them to take advantage of.

 

Music Made Me: The TuneCore Podcast


By promoting articles written by experts active in the music industry today, we like to think the TuneCore Blog is a strong resource for independent artists seeking information that can help them further advance their careers. Education is a key component of getting ahead in this game, and in the summer of 2017 we branched out into a new medium by rolling out “Music Made Me: The TuneCore Podcast”!

Each episode is hosted or curated by a member of TuneCore’s team and features conversations with artists, managers, publicists, music supervisors and more – all with the goal of getting the right kind of information into the hands of those who need it most.

Haven’t had a listen yet? Be sure to catch up on this year’s episodes and subscribe to keep up with all the exciting upcoming episodes we’ll be sharing in 2018 and beyond.

#2018Goals


Finally, we’d like to say congratulations to all of our TuneCore Artists on their successes. We appreciate you working with us for digital distribution, and we’re excited to find new ways to support the independent community.

In fact, we’d love to know what you’ve got planned for 2018. Let us know by sharing your #2018Goals with @TuneCore on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram

Thanks, Happy New Year, and see you in 2018!

3 Reasons “Staying Busy” Could Be Hurting Your Music Career

[Editors Note: This was written by Suzanne Paulinski and it originally appeared on the Sonicbids Blog.]

 

It’s quite common to hear, “I’ve been so busy, I need a vacation!” or, “Things are so busy around here, I suppose I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” The music industry is one of the last industries to embrace the self-care movement. Corporate titans like Arianna Huffington and Mark Cuban, along with celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, have begun speaking up loudly about the importance of prioritizing time outside of work and working smarter, not harder.

All too often, musicians work ’round the clock in an attempt to prove to others how much they “want it.” However, the “24/7 grind” is nothing more than people staying busy, regardless of how much work is actually getting done. After all, when you’re on your second all-nighter, how much is truly getting accomplished?

There are endless reasons it doesn’t pay to be busy and why it’s so important to slow down in order to get where you’re going. In fact, I recently pointed out three reasons you should slow down and regularly reflect on your music career. But, in an effort to save you even more time, below are the three most important reasons it literally doesn’t pay to be busy.

1. Filling up your day depletes your energy

Okay, this sounds pretty common sense. If you’re busy from sunrise to sunset, your energy will be pretty low, but it’s important to realize how much depleting your energy truly costs you.

According to a study on sleep deprivation, 17-19 hours without sleep is the equivalent to working with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .05. That leaves, at most, seven hours for sleep. At best, most of us are running around on four-to-five hours of sleep. That’s closer to operating on a BAC level of .08, which is legal intoxication.

How often have you sent an email to a venue with your templated material still in it (i.e. “Dear [venue]”), sent the wrong material to the wrong person, missed a deadline, or ran late to a soundcheck? Ignoring your body’s need for sleep is not helping your career, it’s hurting it.

2. You’re ignoring your priorities

When you have less time to do work, your priorities will magically appear. When you give yourself more time to work, your instinct is to put more on your plate. That leads to “busy work,” which hardly ever leads to anything productive.

For instance, if you give yourself only 20 minutes to send out emails to venues to book a show, you’re not going to spam every venue on the list, you’re going to make those emails count, right? You’ll be more likely to contact the venues that are relevant to you and your music.

If you tell yourself you’re not going to sleep until you’ve emailed every venue on the list, you’re not only depleting your energy, but you’re sending out emails to an entire set of venues that are most likely irrelevant to your cause. You’re so focused on being busy, however, that that fact never enters into the equation.

3. You’re making poor decisions

Being busy leads to being stressed, especially when all of that busy work doesn’t lead to any real, tangible results. The harder we work and the less we have to show for it, the more stressed we become.

When you operate under stress, you become more reactive than proactive. When it comes to committing to shows, coordinating recording sessions, planning social media, or sending out important emails, high levels of stress can cause you to react to whatever is going on in the moment, rather than look at how a particular decision is affecting your larger, long-term plan.

Slowing down feels wrong. I get it. If people see you turning in early rather than burning the midnight oil, how will they know how badly you want it? But consider this: How will other people’s thoughts of you get you where you’re going? Thoughts don’t get us anywhere, actions do.

Slow down and focus on work that matters, work that will get you where you want to be. If someone tries to shame you for getting a full eight hours of sleep when they only got three, simply say, “Yeah, thanks, I feel ready to take on the day!” And then take on that day like your career depends on it.