Hiring a PR person/team to promote music business: worth it?

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financial.freedom
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Hiring a PR person/team to promote music business: worth it?

Post by financial.freedom » Mon Sep 26, 2016 2:15 pm

I've been selling music online as an independent artist. It has been well-received but it's hard to reach a large audience. Since this is not my main job, I do not have time to tour or promote the album.

It's expensive to hire someone for PR to get press and bring attention to the album, but it might be worth it. Any thoughts? Have any Bogleheads done this for music or a similar business?

These are listed as the best PR firms:

https://www.10bestpr.com/companies/music/

I have a quote from one for digital promotion only (online music blogs, interviews, etc.) for $974 the first month and then $1,500 each additional month.

There are also ways to "boost" my website on Facebook and Ads on Google that are less expensive, not sure if those are worthwhile and delivered to the correct audience.

Any advice is greatly appreciated!

financial.freedom
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Re: Hiring a PR person/team to promote music business: worth it?

Post by financial.freedom » Tue Sep 27, 2016 1:27 am

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Last edited by financial.freedom on Tue Sep 27, 2016 1:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

MrsRoos
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Re: Hiring a PR person/team to promote music business: worth it?

Post by MrsRoos » Tue Sep 27, 2016 1:49 am

My husband started a new music project and we've been trying to get the band off the ground as well. I'm no expert but $1,500 as an ongoing rate seems high. Do they guarantee a certain outcome if you sign up with them? The husband's band has two full-time musicians, so they've been doing the bulk of the work advertising, social media (FB advertising mostly) booking etc. and with me helping during my free time.
“Anyone who believes in indefinite growth in anything physical, on a physically finite planet, is either mad or an economist.” - Kenneth Boulding

WhyNotUs
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Re: Hiring a PR person/team to promote music business: worth it?

Post by WhyNotUs » Tue Sep 27, 2016 4:49 am

Do you know people in a similar genre who have achieved your goal without the work and sacrifices of going on the road and building an audience? If so, I would interview them and see what they did. As you know, the well worn path is playing live on radio stations, at clubs, and building an audience/email list. I personally am unaware of artists who have "made it" without that level of effort in the genres that I listen to. I do occasionally hear about pop acts breaking over the internet but do not know whether PR was a part of their effort.
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Jack FFR1846
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Re: Hiring a PR person/team to promote music business: worth it?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Sep 27, 2016 6:23 am

Nope

Back in the olden days, bands toured to promote their albums. The albums brought in the money. Now, the tours are the only thing that brings in the money. The music tends to not even support itself. This is true even for the biggest names in the business.

To make it even more difficult, I know musicians in successful regional bands and getting venues to play live is dog eat dog where the band has to sell tickets or pay to play. Not like the old days where you play a night in a bar or small venue and take home $100.

If you aren't touring, stick with what you're doing now.
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guitarguy
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Re: Hiring a PR person/team to promote music business: worth it?

Post by guitarguy » Tue Sep 27, 2016 12:34 pm

How much are you making now selling your music online? Can you afford that much overhead?

financial.freedom
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Re: Hiring a PR person/team to promote music business: worth it?

Post by financial.freedom » Tue Sep 27, 2016 1:07 pm

Thank you for the replies! Touring isn't feasible for me, but it seems songs are downloaded or streamed these days so I think that it would be possible to have a niche with online presence and maybe have a few shows locally.

financial.freedom
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Re: Hiring a PR person/team to promote music business: worth it?

Post by financial.freedom » Tue Sep 27, 2016 1:10 pm

guitarguy wrote:How much are you making now selling your music online? Can you afford that much overhead?
My songs are streaming online about 1,000 streams per week. Not much in terms of actual purchases. My goal is revenue of $200-500 per month but that may take 9-12 months. I think that goal could be obtained sooner if there is the right type of online PR/promotions, but not sure how to proceed since it's not my area of expertise.

financial.freedom
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Re: Hiring a PR person/team to promote music business: worth it?

Post by financial.freedom » Tue Sep 27, 2016 1:13 pm

MrsRoos wrote:My husband started a new music project and we've been trying to get the band off the ground as well. I'm no expert but $1,500 as an ongoing rate seems high. Do they guarantee a certain outcome if you sign up with them? The husband's band has two full-time musicians, so they've been doing the bulk of the work advertising, social media (FB advertising mostly) booking etc. and with me helping during my free time.
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financial.freedom
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Re: Hiring a PR person/team to promote music business: worth it?

Post by financial.freedom » Tue Sep 27, 2016 1:15 pm

MrsRoos wrote:My husband started a new music project and we've been trying to get the band off the ground as well. I'm no expert but $1,500 as an ongoing rate seems high. Do they guarantee a certain outcome if you sign up with them? The husband's band has two full-time musicians, so they've been doing the bulk of the work advertising, social media (FB advertising mostly) booking etc. and with me helping during my free time.
What type of FB advertising do you think is helpful? I've been reading about it, and there are different ways to advertise on FB. It's a little confusing.

financial.freedom
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Re: Hiring a PR person/team to promote music business: worth it?

Post by financial.freedom » Tue Sep 27, 2016 1:17 pm

WhyNotUs wrote:Do you know people in a similar genre who have achieved your goal without the work and sacrifices of going on the road and building an audience? If so, I would interview them and see what they did. As you know, the well worn path is playing live on radio stations, at clubs, and building an audience/email list. I personally am unaware of artists who have "made it" without that level of effort in the genres that I listen to. I do occasionally hear about pop acts breaking over the internet but do not know whether PR was a part of their effort.
I used to record acoustic guitar, piano, etc and agree that genre requires performing and a lot of time building a fan base. But lately, I have been recording instrumental and synthesized music that is more for dance clubs, lounges, could be used for soundtracks or video games. For this genre, it seems possible to sell music through online presence. I could be wrong.

MrsRoos
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Re: Hiring a PR person/team to promote music business: worth it?

Post by MrsRoos » Tue Sep 27, 2016 6:52 pm

financial.freedom wrote:
MrsRoos wrote:My husband started a new music project and we've been trying to get the band off the ground as well. I'm no expert but $1,500 as an ongoing rate seems high. Do they guarantee a certain outcome if you sign up with them? The husband's band has two full-time musicians, so they've been doing the bulk of the work advertising, social media (FB advertising mostly) booking etc. and with me helping during my free time.
What type of FB advertising do you think is helpful? I've been reading about it, and there are different ways to advertise on FB. It's a little confusing.
We've mostly promoted our events on FB and have gained a (small) amount of new "Likes"/followers. It's a low cost marketing platform since you can allocate as low as $1/day for X number of days. No other advertising on social media beyond that.

Marketing your music is likened to marketing a product. What is your brand? What is your edge compared to the other electronic artists that are out there? What benefit are you bringing to your audience? I think if you can define these and understand your market segment (ie. people who will listen to your music), then you can define your marketing strategy.

FYI, the income stream from CD sales or online music purchase is minimal for the Husband's band. I think as we move into music digitization (think Spotify/Apple Music), artists will find that the revenue from music sales will slowly diminish.
“Anyone who believes in indefinite growth in anything physical, on a physically finite planet, is either mad or an economist.” - Kenneth Boulding

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Bogle_Feet
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Re: Hiring a PR person/team to promote music business: worth it?

Post by Bogle_Feet » Tue Sep 27, 2016 6:58 pm

I read Tim Sweeney's old book about independent distribution. He advised never to spend money on advertisement. You will be lucky to get 1 cent back on every dollar. Instead he recommended that you go for the free advertising: radio airplay. I can tell you from personal experience and from talking to others that advertising is a waste of money. Just keep plugging away the old fashion way... radio airplay, promoting YouTube channel, SEO, etc. The entertainment business is a tough business and it has become very fragmented. Only about 1 out of 20 artist signings turn out to be big money makers.

Of course promoters are going to tell you that you need them and that they will do great things. I've spoken to a couple of indie artists who regretted hiring a PR firm. Big waste of money. Whatever they do, you can do yourself.

PR firms are for major artists.

guitarguy
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Re: Hiring a PR person/team to promote music business: worth it?

Post by guitarguy » Wed Sep 28, 2016 6:14 am

financial.freedom wrote:
guitarguy wrote:How much are you making now selling your music online? Can you afford that much overhead?
My songs are streaming online about 1,000 streams per week. Not much in terms of actual purchases. My goal is revenue of $200-500 per month but that may take 9-12 months. I think that goal could be obtained sooner if there is the right type of online PR/promotions, but not sure how to proceed since it's not my area of expertise.
Based on simple math, I would stay away.

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