Dotted Music Blog

James Moore's Top Tips On Getting Music Press

James Moore is the founder of the Independent Music Promotions agency, and the author of highly acclaimed book on music promotion called Your Band Is A Virus.

In the latest Music Growth Talks Recipes podcast episode, James talks a lot about getting press – something that all artists want desperately. How do you craft your email? How to catch a journalist’s interest? What platforms to focus on?

Listen to the conversation to learn James’ music PR insights, and check out James’ expanded edition of Your Band Is A Virus for more tips on music promotion.

Listen to the episode below:

Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify or Apple Podcasts, or by searching “Music Growth Talks” in your favorite podcast app.

Some of the topics covered in the podcast episode:

  • The relevance of PR these days.
  • How to get the most out of each publication about you.
  • What it takes to do music PR yourself.
  • James’ example on how to approach an industry professional.
  • “Ask for an advice, don’t ask for help.”
  • Think on what exactly to offer press.
  • Targeting music discovery platforms.
  • Using your interests for niche PR.

A few notable passages from the episode

Crafting a Perfect Email Pitch

There are different tactics when artists do media outreach themselves compared to when a company is doing it for them. With artists, one thing that impresses me is a shorter pitch, something that is quick to take in logically, and it often is very personal.
One thing that I’ve found to be really effective and that you should often do is ask for advice. Don't ask for help. If you ask for help right away, it's kind of ironic, but a lot of people's knee-jerk reaction is resistance. But, if you ask for advice in a humble way, then you’re more likely to receive advice in return, and maybe other things such as contacts. They want to help you get a leg up, or get that next step. For me, there's a drastic difference between an artist who is saying “We want a review on your site,” and, “We want an interview, here are all of our accolades.” The latter gives me reasons as to why I should cover the artist.
A really good example of this is a hip hop group that got in touch with me. Essentially what they said was, “We're a hip hop group from Hampton, Connecticut. We've been working hard and recently released our first project.” They gave me the download link right after introducing themselves. They said, “We're a very hard-working, self-promoting, and self-managing group of artists looking to expand our audience and network, and we believe you can help us do so. We would love it if you would review our music submission via the links provided and please give us feedback.” Notice that they're not actually asking for a review nor are they demanding anything. I think it's very important here that they're saying “please give us feedback,” after which they say “If it interests you, we would love it if you can possibly share our project.” So, they provided a link and genuinely asked for feedback on how to improve. Moreover, they included personal comments about me and my site. Their simple approach came across to me as an example of dedication and a desire to learn. It was very positive, we set up a review right away and promoted it. I think that there's really something to be said about that kind of communication. It’s simple and positive. Be personal with individual writers and individual blogs.
Another really smart thing for artists to do is to arrange exclusive content during their recording process. This could be remixes, a B-side, or an unreleased song. You can actually plan your album releases this way. Keep the stream of the album private and release each track exclusively on different blogs one by one. In addition, I would recommend doing a lot of alternate versions, live takes, a whole lot of remixes, and a lot of different interpretations so that you can constantly release exclusive content. It's also very important when you approach blogs and website, that the exclusive content is enticing to them. This means that you’re going to be directing your fans to that website because that's the one and only place they're going to hear this track. Ideally, if you can book more songs the better. Exclusive releases can really be a huge way for you to promote yourself.

Target Niche Blogs

Oftentimes, music blogs receive thousands of emails a day, so it’s easy to get overlooked. Sometimes, there will just be an intern skimming through the blog’s inbox. In order to give yourself a better shot at getting more effective press, look into the many niches available out there.
A good example is fashion magazines and fashion blogs. They tend to have big audiences and also a lot of artists appeal to that demographic. Skateboarding or snowboarding publications are another good example of niche blogs. There are also general publications, entertainment publications, even gossip ones – each genre's going to work for certain types of artists. For any message that you have, you should be scouring your music for what you are about and to whom you appeal. Some of it is going to be political blogs or counter-culture blogs, anti-authoritarian type stuff, which are more newsworthy. It's really specific to the artist and that's part of the fun creative process.
But the main point is that these publications are not getting 10,000 music submissions a day. You're going to stand out more because, first of all, you fit in with their niche. That's what they're looking for. It's not just that you fit in with the general music niche because you have a new EP out. That's not very unique. But if you have a fashion hook and you can get hold of them, or if your music appeals to snowboarders because you’re some type of punk band and so on, you can provide them with a reason as to why you fit in with that niche. They may be only getting two or three music submissions a day. You could potentially get a much bigger publication this way. I think when you do something like that you're really separating yourself from the massive influx of artists who only do the lazy thing such as look up the hundred most influential music blogs and send them an email. It really makes you stand out when you put in that effort of sending them your music submission.
Andrew Apanov is the founder of the Dotted Music digital marketing agency, and host of the Music Growth Talks podcast.
Podcast Interviews