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What I’ve Learned Through My Time In Music Publicity pt 2

This is a continuation of an earlier blog post of mine that was similarly titled. In it, I started to talk about all of the different things that I’ve learned through working for myself, under the business name of Torches Management and PR. Some of the things brought up are about working in publicity, and other points are about working independently.

Niagra Falls by Code Poet

I’ve learned to look at things in varying scopes.

Publicity campaigns require you to look at things in many different ways. Sometimes, you need to look at the bigger picture before you want to look at the smaller factors. Other times, it’s the exact opposite. You keep both ideas in mind when deciding your approach, especially knowing that once you start, there’s usually no turning back.

You definitely need to ask yourself the essential “who what when where and why” questions before beginning the planning process, and as you’re going about the planning process, you need to make sure that each individual part of it is doing something to accomplish those goals.

You need to be creative.

Everybody in the music journalism world has read a biography about a band “starting from nothing” and then “becoming something”, “from rags to riches”, or even “reaching for nothing but the top”. As interesting and image-evoking as those sound, you need to come up with other ways to tell a band’s story, especially if you’re pitching to music journalists who have seen and heard it all.

Give them something that they haven’t seen before, and they will become THAT much more likely to work with you. As simple as it seems, the effort requires actually sitting down and thinking things out. Not just with creative pitches to write, but also other marketing ideas. It’s all fluid-like, you need to keep things flowing and refreshing.

glass half-full by Jenny Downing



My Personal Learning Network

In late March, I gave a presentation that talked about the various people that I’m connected with for my personal learning project. It was called my “personal learning network”, and within my presentation, I talked about how I’ve stumbled across these people and how they’ve helped me for my project.

Sorry to stiff you out on all of the juicy details that I talked about through the presentation, but perhaps you could do a little research yourself to get more out of it?

Here you go!



"PurpleMood" by Symic

Working independently as both a freelancer and a student has taught me to use whatever is available to me to become more effective at what I do. And among the major things that I’ve learned from the many mistakes that I’ve made is to look at the greater picture, and then look at the individual specifics. And from this, I’ve learned to write EVERYTHING down.

Not just your to-do list, but write down your progress on different projects and assignments, write down ideas that come to mind, write down the names and phone numbers different people that you’ve met. Write down Sometimes, you will forget some of the specifics to a project, and rather than having to look through any notes, handouts, pdfs, and syllabi, you could check only one place to get a quick overview of what needs to get done.

I myself use a combination of Evernote and the notes widget in Windows 7 to make this happen.

Evernote Logo (All Rights Reserved to Evernote)

Evernote is great, because through one program that is usable on a variety of platforms, I can edit, revise, and add to my work. For example, I typed part of this blog from my droid while waiting, I worked on this from a friend’s laptop, and I finished and formatted everything out from my laptop. My favorite things about this is that It’s all pretty efficient, and I can’t make up excuses about not being able to work on pieces because I’m away from my laptop.

The notes widget is useful for putting a variety of things up. Like you can see in my screen shot above, I have a big variety of different notes on my desktop. If I ever become iffy about something, I can just pull the notes up with the press of a button. The problem with this is that I can’t look at these from my phone or any other device, I guess that I could always use Evernote, but the notes widget is so much better because it’s more visual and attention grabbing, which is just what is needed when you’re trying to sort out your tasks from your contacts.


What I’ve Learned Through My Time In Music Publicity Pt 1

The first thing that I want you (the reader) to be fully aware of, is that I could very well write close to 1000 words about this whole experience, but I won’t, because that would take far too long, and I know that more than likely, you’re going to stop reading this blog post halfway through.

So I’ll cater to the short attention spans that society has given us.

write me a letter by Linda Cronin

To start, I’m going to give a brief introduction on how I got into doing music publicity:

I guess it started with this last summer, when I began writing for Christian Music Zine. I primarily write reviews for the site, and in doing so, I’ve had the opportunity to work with various publicists from a variety of backgrounds, like in-house publicists at labels, publicists that work at boutique firms that work with individual artists, and even self-sufficient artists that do their own publicity. Through seeing this end of “the game”, I assumed that I had good enough idea of how it works.

Some time had passed, and I helped a friend’s band put together their press kit. A few months later, the same friend of mine had started up a new band, and I was asked to help with putting together a press kit. Instead of simply offering advice, I offered to actually do some pr work for them as a way to give myself some experience and help them with running a tight ship. A few weeks had passed, and I decided to double my workload by adding on another band.

So that’s really how it all started, I became my own teacher, my own student, my own boss, and my own intern. It ruled to know that I was helping my friends out, but it was kind of discouraging to be working for free. What it took was for me to realize that it was merely temporary, and that there are more benefits in attempting to make something happen with experience under my belt instead of only book knowledge.

I learned how to use social media as a very powerful marketing and publicity tool.

One of the first pieces of advice that I had given Eyes upon working for them was to use certain forms of social media to increase awareness and to reach out to fans and listeners. I typed up a few different ideas into a word doc, included why I had thought of these as good ideas, and then I talked with them as to what would be worth the time and effort.

One of the fruits of the efforts had included using Soundcloud to help online music journalists embed the band’s music into articles, creating a Myspace page for the sake of SEO, and creating a Tumblr page to collect any content the band creates and putting it into one place where it could all be reblogged.

I learned to improve my time-management skills.

Being a student and working close to 25 hours a week only makes things more complicated when it comes to working in this. Oh, and then there’s life. I would say that juggling all of these aspects of my professional life has made me capable of playing “mental scheduling Tetris” where I try to fit the essential pieces in the right slots so that I could take care of everything else that needs to get taken care of.

Like the actual game of Tetris, it really never ends until there is a game over.

I learned to actually plan things out.

This one actually goes hand-in-hand with my last point. This might not sound like all too much of a startling truth, but the crazy thing about time is that you don’t get any of it back. If you procrastinate on something that needs to be done by midnight the next day, you’re only going to hurt yourself. You don’t want anybody thinking less of you because of sub-standard work, and you don’t want to under deliver on campaign results.

Once your time is gone, it’s gone forever. Poof.


Impulse PR Interview

So on Monday, March 26th, I got the opportunity to interview Nate Sirotta, the owner of both Impulse Management and Impulse PR. He told me about many different things about his job, like what he liked and didn’t like about it, and how he got his start in PR.

Impulse Artists Logo

*Warning: My audio-editing software, Audacity was malfunctioning. So I had to experiment with AVS. The problem is that it included an audible watermark, so it will be popping up every 10 seconds of the interview. So please bear with me. You could read a considerable chunk of the interview below*

Can you introduce yourself?

My name is Nate Sirotta, and I work in artist management and development for a company that I founded called Impulse Artists. The company also has a publicity division called Impulse PR. So I’m both an artist manager as well as a publicist.

Nate Sirotta Twitter Portrait Shot

So how did you get to where you are now?

Well I definitely have quite a bit of ways to go before I could be totally content with what I’m doing, but as far as getting into music PR, I was a touring musician myself for about 5-6 years and an early part of college as well. I toured in a band called Down for the Count, and while I was doing that, I was the one handling all of the band’s business needs, as well as media outreach and press coordination and all of that kind of stuff. So, that’s pretty much where I got my start and built foundation for my network.

As far as clients go, who have you worked with? This would be through Impulse.

I’ve done different campaigns, big and small. I currently represent two record labels, one of them is called Siren Records and Anchor 84 Records, both are indie-labels. So I represent both of them and their entire roster as well. I’ve also worked with a few other bands, like the bands Culprit and MY MOUTH IS THE SPEAKER. Culprit is from LA and MY MOUTH IS THE SPEAKER is from Ohio.

I’ve also worked on some tours in the past as well, as that’s something we offer at Impulse PR, comprehensive tour press. I did the first ever Mind Equals Blown tour, which happened last November. And that featured Happy Body Slow Brain, which featured a couple of the ex-members of Taking Back Sunday, Culprit , the band I still work with, and a band called The Paper Melody. That was sponsored by the website, and we handled all of the PR for that. We’ve done other tours as well, usually small indie tours. We are a boutique company, so we don’t handle top-tier clients as of yet. So we’re basically the affordable option for start-up bands and record labels that are looking to raise awareness and increase exposure.

Culprit Band Shot by Ian Flanigan

What is your typical work-day like?

Usually Monday through Friday, seeing as those are functioning business hours for most people, well at the least, the press. Typically, I get up around 8 in the morning or so, and since I work from home, I just make some coffee and something to eat, I just jump right into emails right around 8:30-9:00 in the morning. I put out any fires from the night before, especially on Mondays where I catch up on things from the weekends. Usually I start making phone calls like usually (in the) late morning, between 10 and noon, like between breakfast and lunch. Those are two fairly constant parts of my day. Those are staples that happen pretty much every day.

As for the rest of my afternoon, sometimes I’ll have a meeting to go to. And living in LA, things will take forever to get to because of traffic and because the city’s huge. So you know, meetings take up an entire afternoon and at least once or twice a week I’m at a show or having a drinks with a client or potential client. It’s sort of a non-traditional work environment, but I really enjoy constantly changing, it makes for a good learning experience. I feel like I’m learning new things every day from the people I’m interacting with and obviously handling things differently maybe than I did last week. There’s a lot of trial and error as well.

What’s your favorite thing about music publicity?

I’m always in the corner of the underdog, you know? Clients that nobody else would take on, or bands that are sort of forgotten, have lost their way, or need a sense of direction? It’s really exciting for me when we that first piece published. It’s really exciting to see how the client is about having their music exposed to the masses. Because if you’re talking about a mainstream band, or somebody that everybody already knows, like The Used or Blink-182. If The Used’s or Blink-182’s publicist, then good for you, you’re probably doing pretty f***-ing well for yourself. But at the same time, everybody already knows about those bands, and you can think of new and exciting ways to tell the same story I guess, but with bands that are like amazingly talented and hardworking who have not been noticed, it’s really rewarding for me to be able to do the dirty work, get my hands dirty, sink my teeth in, and really expose stuff that’s unknown, different, and nobody’s heard before. That’s how kind of how I’m trying to build my company, by being a trusted provider of solid-clientele that’s going to be creative and innovative on a project.

What’s your least favorite thing about your job?

Well you know, being a smaller company, as far as our “flow” goes, our cash flow and income goes for the company, it’s fairly small as like I said before, we’re trying to be an affordable option for a lot of start-ups and stuff like that, but sometimes the bills have to get paid and you have to take on projects that you don’t necessarily want. It’s basically like you’re advocating or trying to sell something that you really don’t believe in at all. It’s kind of an internal struggle, you know? It is, it’s lying, and it’s lying professionally. You’re basically a professional bulls**t-er. A lot of times when that comes along, it’s sort of demoralizing, you know? That’s the “dark-side” of PR, because everyone knows what it’s like to be super-excited about a project or client that you’re working with, and you’re both passionate about the music and you’re just flowing with ideas. You sort of have to take what you can get, and I don’t do that very often, but sometimes you gotta take a project that is going to pay.


You could reach out to Nate Sirotta through Impulse’s twitter.



So earlier this week, Diddy (or whatever he calls himself these days) announced that he is planning on launching a “social media-driven music tv channel.” This channel will be called REVOLT TV.

"Television" by Dailyinvention

Here’s a link to what Mashable has to say about it.

Some thoughts that have come to mind while reading this were:

But what exactly does this mean for the world of social media?
This just goes to show that social media is penetrating today’s culture more than you would think. The fact that people this big and famous are finding financial potential in this proves that there is more to be tapped in social media. Things are going to get even more widespread out in the real world away from our computers.

Where will this go?
So, here are my assumptions about what the typical user experience of watching this channel would be like:

  • Tweeting in your votes for a trl-esque show.
  • Tweeting out what you’re currently watching, for the world to see, and tune in.
  • Facebook applications that will only work during the time that a correlating show is on.

Of course there’s so much room and potential  for more ideas, but those were the ideas that came to mind at the time of hearing this news.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if all sorts of other social media powered television channels spring up?
There really isn’t a lot of room to interact with this question, but I really think this idea will spread. It might take some time, but this should really grow within the next 5 years. Because of the rate of growth in the industry, I expect to see about 10+ social media-driven channels by the year 2017.


Earshot Media Interview

So while I was looking around at different publicity agencies for potential internship opportunities, I came across Earshot Media. What makes Earshot so interesting to me is that it mostly works with musicians and record labels instead of the typical business or corporation.

"Bass" by Keoni Cabral

But what is it that makes Earshot really stand out from so many of the other music pr agencies? The answer is simple. They work hard, they have a big client list (Hawthorne Heights, Attack Attack, Never Shout Never, Copeland, plus more) and they have results to go with all of it.

So I dug a bit deeper, and eventually I found this interview that Absolute Punk did with Mike Cubillos, the owner of the agency. Rather than a traditional interview, Mike simply hopped onto the website’s message boards and responded to as many questions from different users as time had allowed.

Some of the more interesting things that I learned from reading through the interview were:

  • Education really doesn’t matter much, if you know your stuff. Really, Mike did so much work with labels during his time in school that he apparently learned most of what he knows through independent learning and actual work.
  • Social media makes things easier. One of the people who asked a question asked if the increasing amount of social media sites and forum sites makes his job more difficult, or easier. Mike responded by saying that it might be a little tough and time consuming to navigate through everything. But he did also say that it works out for him in the long run, because it helps him to pick up more clients that wouldn’t have gained recognition without all of these new social media mediums.
  • Anybody can try to do music publicity, up to a certain point. Relationships take time to develop, and contact lists take time to build. There’s going to be a point where your bands grow beyond your scope, and they’re going to need somebody that can provide for them.

I really got a lot out of reading through this interview, and I’m personally hoping to intern for this publicity agency in the future.

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