Expert Music Career Advice For DIY Musicians

10 Ways to Get Your Music in the Press (Besides the Usual Album Release and Tour PR)

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This article originally appeared on The DIY Musician Blog.

 

As a musician, when are you most likely to contact the press? Probably when you're putting out a new album or heading out on tour. Well, hopefully a few months prior to those events, actually. But there are a lot of other ways to get press and blog coverage for your music besides the usual tour and album launch publicity push.

A perfect stranger will probably need to hear your name at least a few times before they say to themselves, "Hey, maybe I should check out their music." If that's the case, then you need to be taking advantage of as many of these press opportunities as possible. If you start with a few of these in advance of your next album release, you might just have a whole new audience primed for your music! So, here are some additional newsworthy events in your music career that you can pitch to journalists and bloggers.

You don't have to do a full-on PR campaign or prepare a proper press release for all of these events. Targeting just one blog and offering them an exclusive (in the case of a single or video premiere, or sending an informal email to a few folks who've favorably reviewed your music in the past might be all it takes. Do what feels right for you. But make sure you let some people in the industry know.

1. When you start recording a new album, single, or collaboration

Your fans will be psyched, and that means a blog or print publication stands to gain new readers when they announce the exciting news about your recording project.

Things to tell the press:

  • Who you're working with (engineer, producer, guest musicians, etc.)
  • Where you're recording
  • What's different about this creative process from previous projects

2. When you're deep into the recording sessions

If your recording process takes more than a month or so, it can be also be exciting for people to see how things are shaping up. When you hit the halfway mark, send another update.

Things that bloggers may want you to provide:

  • Details on how it's going and how many new songs you're working on
  • Any tentative song titles
  • Photos, videos, rough mixes, or demos that they can share

3. When you finish your recording

Here's the logical follow up to the previous two: a big announcement saying, "We're done!" This gives you another chance to share details about the project, videos of you in the studio, photos, etc. Plus, you can set some expectations about the release timeline.

4. When you choose an album title

Oh, the album title reveal. So exciting for fans. And again, an opportunity for blogs and print publications to attract some new readers with a quick story about your upcoming – and now named – record.

What to tell the press:

  • A few essential details about your career
  • The most interesting soundbite about the new album
  • How the title reflects on the music or vision for this project

5. When you finalize your album art

This is always another fun reveal. I love seeing the covers for soon-to-be-released albums by my favorite bands. When pitching this story to the press, provide similar info as your album title announcement, but perhaps include a few words about the design, the designer, and what it signifies about the music.

[How to Make an Impact With Your Album Artwork]

6. When you launch your first (or any) single from the new record

Here's a great opportunity to capitalize on the promo power of an individual blog or website by giving them either a limited-time exclusive (where they are the only place where fans can find the song for a week or so) or a premiere (where they get to be the first to share the song, but then it's open season after a day or two). Because they are the only place to find the song, they have an incentive to promote your music to their readers and social media followers.

7. When you launch a video

Same goes for videos! You've got another chance to get your song out there (with visuals), and another chance to get an exclusive or premiere from a cool blog or website. Provide the blog or website with the embed code for an unlisted video on YouTube or Vimeo (or give them the video file if they request it).

8. When your band has personnel changes

Adding a new member? Losing a member? Did someone quit or get fired? Share your excitement, pain, or acrimony with the world. Okay, so maybe tone down the acrimony – but still, this is another opportunity to get coverage for your music, talk about how your sound will change as a result, and manage perceptions about the personnel changes.

9. When you enter into a sponsorship, partnership, endorsement deal, or launch a co-branded product

Is Taco Bell or Red Bull helping you out on your next tour? Did you get an endorsement from Taylor Guitars? Are you now the house band for a nursing home choir? Did a local brewery name a beer after your music? First, that's awesome. Second, alert the press! (And make sure your partner/sponsor is doing their part to get the word out there, too.)

[How to Strike a Sponsorship Deal]

10. When you appear on high-profile TV or radio shows, or at festivals and benefit concerts

All of these types of events give you a chance to score double the publicity since the show or event will be motivated to promote your appearance as well.

What to tell the press:

  • The details about the event (name, date, time, etc.)
  • Why it's a big deal (perhaps you can mention the show's viewership or reach, the number of concert attendees, etc.)
  • Hint at what you'll be doing for the show or event, and why that is exciting for your fans

 

Ready to spread the word? Get your press list together and prepare a killer email in the form of a professional press release. Here's how to write one!

 

Chris Robley is an indie-pop songwriter whose music has been praised by the LA Times, NPR, the Boston Globe, and more. His poems have been published or are forthcoming in Poetrymagazine, Prairie Schooner, Boulevard, and others. Robley is also the editor of CD Baby's DIY Musician Blog.

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