The phrase “everyone’s an artist” never made more sense than on the day I became a national music publicist. Let me quickly rewind, though, and express my thankfulness to be a part of Chicago’s vibrant queer community, home to some of the most progressive artists on earth. It was the desire to spread the word about the work of my sisters, brothers and goddesses that inspired me to get into music PR in the first place. Fast-forward to that first day on the job and, going forward, I have been honored to help my colleagues through any and all advice I could give. With time, and my name becoming increasingly public, it has become my job to field numbers of unsolicited PR proposals from artists coming out of the global Internet woodwork. While many first contacts have been compelling, most contained several fatal flaws in the “grasp the attention of the publicist” game. So, in an effort to help everyone involved, I am putting together a brief primer in making the best first impression on your dream publicist.
Have you down! So, you’re a juggling tone-poet and honky-tonk revivalist? Tubular, brah! Be proud of what you do and amen to those doing something weird. Just make sure you have a concise and clear point of view that you can stand by. It is okay and, honestly, preferred if you are willing to take advice, but be confident in your craft. Wishy-washiness is evident from the subject line.
More ideas, fewer words. I get somewhere between 12 and 13 million emails a day; therefore, it is vital to strike a balance between being concise and informative. Jam-packed intros and bullet points equal publicist bliss. Be clear: Let me know what you need, specifically. PR is far from a uniform game. Are you managed? Are you signed? What projects or tours are you contemplating and what would you like to publicize? What kind of image would you like to project, where and how? What brought you to me? Also, spell check is your best friend.
Assets, assets, assets! Send as much of you as possible. It is incredible how many musicians don’t even attach audio in their initial pitch. Bios, streaming music (Soundcloud is a godsend), downloadable music (Mediafire, Dropbox, We Transfer galore), photos (bonus points to the creative), and videos (Vimeo, please) are vital.
Eric Dresner is a Detroit-born, Chicago-based publicist, performer, gamelaner and lusophile. He has worked for Biz 3, a top tier music and restaurant PR firm located in the Windy City, since August 2011. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where he earned two degrees, one in business administration and another in ethnomusicology. When he is not sending witty press releases to thousands of newspapers, magazines and blogs, Eric can be found performing at Chances Dances, Making Out and with Friends of the Gamelan, Chicago's one and only Javanese Gamelan ensemble. Eric is rarely, if ever, seen in the presence of olives.