Ariel’s latest book release The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity has hit #1 bestseller on Amazon. Ilyana Kadushin and James Harrell sit with Ariel Hyatt to discuss some key concepts addressed in this book on their podcast No, I Know. Ariel has been a publicist for over 25 years now. She continuously gives advice on how to conquer the ever-changing world of publicity.
Nuggets of Music Publicity Wisdom Given by Ariel
Being a musician today is vastly different from 20 years ago. There are over 60 track releases daily. It is easier now more than ever to get music out. However, everyone has access to the same resources, causing the industry to be oversaturated. On this episode, Ariel discusses important steps to take in order to stand out.
It All Starts With A Brand
A brand is just as important as the music. Social media has forced us to think about “what is our color, what is our font, what style are we? Are we silly, are we witty, are we political activists?” Brand is everything. From what you wear to what your background shows, even what books you’re reading. For a musician who just wants to make and put out music, think about all of that can suck the life out of them. This is where publicists can step in to help.
“Artists fill out questionnaires with our company and we use all that information to help create their brand.”
Mass Media Has Done a Disservice When It Comes To Telling Your Story
Along with your brand, you need a story. Shows like American Idol or The Voice. before you’re introduced to the contestant you’re already sobbing. The media portrays the contestant only by their sob story. Maybe they have cancer, or a family member passed away, or maybe their house flooded. Artists come in confused because they have no horrific story.
At Cyber PR, we help artists understand that their story can be subtle or be a small setback. It can be a small thing that your fans can help identify you with and that’s sufficient. You have to think about your fans. The purpose of a story is not to invent or fabricate something to draw more attention. If the audience connects with you and understand why you do what you do, they can find it interesting and want to listen to more.
Is There Such A Thing As Positive v.s. Negative Music Publicity?
Attention seeking is a personal choice. If your whole image is “I must be seen all the time”, if it bleeds it leads so you must continue to do things outrageous and shocking. How far do you need to go to get that attention? It’s not easy for artists to consistently think they have to do something to go viral. Going viral is not the best way to manage a music career if you’re going viral for all the wrong reasons.
There is also intentional music publicity. Artists who have thought about how publicity is necessary and plan, that is intentional publicity. It is needed to get people to pay attention to you whether it’s on your social channels or from media. You add something to the mix when you set an intention. If you’re the artist that releases tracks and spend your extra time fostering kittens or attending BLM marches or losing weight and being healthy; whatever it is you’re now adding to your brand and story. These are what make you remarkable in another way.
It doesn’t have to be some very generous, uplifting thing either. If you don’t find it interesting, you cannot force it. If partying is your thing, use that to connect with your audience. Mary Jennings makes bolo ties. She created a business with bolo ties. Now people know her as the artist who makes bolo ties.
COVID Impact on Musicians
The pandemic forced artists who thought they could never stream out of their homes to do it. They had to do it if they wanted to stay connected. It put many artists on a heavy learning curve. However, one positive thing coming out of the pandemic is it gave the super fan the opportunity to attend as many shows as they wanted. This gives the artist the opportunity to consistently see and bond with their fans and realize there are people that want to support you. Live streaming is here to stay. It is a part of the equation for all artists. Some artists will still tour, but some form of streaming will forever be in the future plan.
Artists need to get very adept at asking for money from fans. If you’re so resistant on asking for money, stop thinking about it as a musician. While helping artists with Total Tuneup, the part they seem most stuck or troubled with is the email list. The reason why is probably because they are on the email list of one too many artists that do it really bad. The artist looks at this and says “I don’t want mine to look like that. I don’t want to seem desperate”. Your email list is where you have the power to communicate.
You have to think back to the 1,000 true fans example. You don’t need millions of fans, you just need 1,000 true fans. If you get 1,000 true fans to spend $100 on you within a year, you now have $100,000.
Why Hire A Publicist?
First of all, you don’t need to hire a publicist. That is the amazing thing about social media. You can easily send out a DM and find their email address or phone number with just 5 keystrokes on Google. Publicity is a process and it can get difficult. When you feel exhausted or like you don’t have enough time, that is when you should consider hiring a publicist. The question now comes down to can you afford it?
Hiring a good publicist can be expensive and there are no guarantees. It’s a gamble. You want to hire a publicist that has integrity and is adding something to the mix. Hiring a publicist is like adding another band member. It is good to hire one when you have tried it on your own or if you truly aren’t passionate about the work. Publicists are amazing at selling themselves. So you have to go in with eyes wide open and do your research beforehand. Find someone who is a good fit.
If you’re a fan, I implore you to find a smaller band or artist. Maybe it’s someone you heard a your local farmer’s market or maybe they opened at the last show you attended. Look them up, see if they have a Patreon and sign up. That $5 a month makes a tremendous different. Don’t want to sign up for Patreon? Go kick a giant tip the next time there’s someone standing outside a store with a guitar. Put in $20. Really think about how you could be someone’s superhero. Being better fans is part of how we all help the artistic community.
We thank Ariel for taking the time to discuss key concepts of her latest book release. For more tips and tricks, order The Ultimate Guide To Music Publicity today!