Publicists get a lot of requests from newer or "newish" outlets who want to interview bands, both established and developing. They're understandably shocked when we tell them that a specific band isn't available for press or interviews. They don't realize we didn't say "no" arbitrarily or without seriously considering the request. We may have said "no" based on a variety of factors.
Interviews aren't a given, and not all bands want to or have to do them. There is predetermined protocol put into place during the planning and setup of a release; it's usually handed down by the band manager and label product manager.
There are certain media goals that the band needs and wants to achieve, and that often means that a certain set of criteria is in place for publicists to approve or deny interviews. Interviews can become very rote, so in order to keep a band fresh and effective for media coverage, they simply can't do every single interview that's requested.
Here's a rundown of some of the most common reasons that certain bands pass on press.
1. They've done it all already
Some bands have "been there, done that" when it comes to media interviews and coverage. It's not that they don't care or that they're ungrateful, although that may seem to be the case on the surface to the uninformed. It's just that they may have told their story already and have moved on from telling it again. For them, it's time for a fresh approach and a new angle, and that could mean a media blackout or a very limited list of approved media.
2. They want to maintain mystique
If you're a band that's always available and talking to the press constantly, the mystique can be lessened. It's like dating; if you're too available, you become less desirable. This stance, usually adopted by established bands with lengthy press kits or with a hot buzz band that wants to seem unreachable, could actually benefit up-and-coming bands as a result. Why's that? Well, it makes room for those new bands to fill the unoccupied space in magazine pages and blog posts!
3. They want to appear unattainable
Some acts nix press because they want to foster an air of being unattainable, placing themselves as just beyond the reach of the media and the fan. They are reachable, but not really. That is a viable press strategy. It's also the basic psychology of artists and fans. They become gods that you can only get so close to. The same applies for levels of media.
4. The media outlet isn't ready for the band
Some outlets aren't ready to talk to some of the bands that do limited press. That could be due to management and band-defined factors, like lack of traffic, lack of experience, or the fact that the outlet hasn't yet established itself as in it for the long haul.
Just like bands, you don't start at the top as a media outlet. You have to work your way up and earn it. That way, it keeps you hungry and vying to be the best and for the best possible interview subjects.
Most publicists have had outlets come to them and say, "I just started my site six weeks ago. Can I get [insert band name here]? Having an interview with them will help me get more traffic and page views." Or they have a person ask for music to review or an interview for a site that doesn't yet exist. Sadly, it doesn't work that way. The reverse is actually true. You have to build your readership and your reputation first, and then you will be considered for big "get" interviews.
Many times, publicists who are contacted by a newly launching outlet do a solid and set them up, and then the site never materializes. Like any person with a boss, the PR person has someone to answer to when the interview fails to yield a clip.
It might feel like a "chicken or the egg" argument, but there has to be a standard set into place. Publicists can't just give out access and music to outlets that aren't live and functioning. The topic of "how to become a live and functioning media outlet" is a whole other article, though.
5. They can do as they wish
Some bands don't need to do interviews anymore because they are bigger than God, and they can do as they wish. Case in point: Beyonce. The Queen Bey doesn't do interviews, and she still commands covers of major magazines like Vogue. She can nix an interview and get the cover anyway since she is Beyonce. She has earned that media power. So the simple answer is that some bands or artists don't do interviews simply because they don't have to and don't need to.
While as a publicist, I like to get the media what they ask for, it's not always an option, and it's never personal. Press and marketing strategies vary from band to band.
- Ask a Music Journalist: How to Get Maximum Press for Your Band Using Lead Time
- 10 Ways to Get Your Music in the Press (Besides the Usual Album Release and Tour PR)
- 4 Reasons You're Not Hearing Back From the Press (And What to Do About It)
- 5 Effective Ways to Maintain Press Relationships After Your First Review
- 8 Dos and Don'ts for Engaging the Press on Social Media
Amy Sciarretto has 20 years of print and online bylines, from Kerrang to Spin.com to Revolver to Bustle, covering music, beauty, and fashion. After 12 years doing radio and publicity at Roadrunner Records, she now fronts Atom Splitter PR, her own boutique PR firm, which has over 30 clients. She also is active in animal charity and rescue.