At AWAL we know as well as anyone how much great music is being released each week. In order to grow your audience, you need to get in front of them. As part of our series looking at how you might start to invest a little in your career, we wanted to dig into how you can work with the written press to start building your fanbase.
As your team grows, finding a great press agent is likely part of the journey but if that’s not happened yet there’s still important work that can be done that will amplify your efforts. That’s why you’re here, right!?
Firstly, I’ll be talking to some of the artist marketing foundations to better understand what we should be trying to achieve and how press plays a part in a successful campaign. Then we’ll be talking to PR expert Chris Sharpe from MusoSoup who has set up a great (tried and tested by AWAL) platform for independent artists who need affordable, less risky PR. Using this tool (for free initially with our code) we’ll discover how you can start getting some great results on your own without having to invest hundreds of dollars.
Taken from AWAL Instagram: Lizzy McAlpine / elujay / The Wombats
What should an artist be trying to achieve with their press efforts?
This is something we will explore more in future articles but in short - you need to decide that yourself at the outset of each campaign. There’s nothing wrong with being general initially. “Let’s grow our audience…”. What that looks like for your artist project might more specifically be to grow the number of Spotify followers. Alternatively, you might be looking to focus on growing certain parts of your fan base or maybe develop the artist in a specific territory. Once you’ve picked your goal it will guide your marketing efforts.
Do you have examples where the press has been important in sharing an artist's story?
Recently the team at AWAL has achieved amazing things with Little Simz and her recent album ‘Sometimes I might Be Introvert’ We could look at various areas the team focussed but traditional media was important for fleshing out the story so far - the Evening Standard and The Guardian for example.
What is an artist's story/narrative?
It’s a good question. It’s important to develop your own narrative and that’s something that can be a little tricky when you’re too close to a project (a self-releasing artist for example). Looking at what makes an artist who they are is about understanding what aspects of the artist’s character, culture, and creative connects with the audience. These things are the unique elements that make up the artist's story.
Now that we’ve got an understanding of some of the foundations for this conversation, what’s next? If you don’t already have a press team you can get started without investing much using MusoSoup. That's why I wanted to take some time talking Chris Sharpe and his team who have kindly shared this promotional code with us for a free campaign - AWAL2022
Why would an independent artist use MusoSoup?
As an independent artist, it’s hard to make some noise about your music without breaking the bank. Hiring a decent PR company to manage your release campaign can be upwards of £1k and there’s no real guarantee that you’ll get enough coverage to make it worthwhile.
Here at Musosoup, we have made a compromise, with artists in mind, perfect for those just starting out. Unlike other similar platforms, we first vet your music for free and won’t let you waste your money if we think you won’t have a good chance of success, we’ve kept the upfront cost low and then the remainder is in the control of the artists with complete transparency of what they’ll get in return.
When should people be engaging these tools?
With Musosoup, if you can submit your release about two weeks prior to your release, that will be ideal. Not essential, but it gives the curators on the platform enough time to be able to craft you bespoke offers that will be timed right for your release.
How much does it cost to set up an account and get started?
The initial submission is free. If we feel your release will have a good chance of success with the curators on our site, we’ll then ask you to pay a one-off payment, which is currently discounted to £24.
Taken from musosoup.com...
Can we get on to playlists through MusoSoup?
Yes, there are many playlisters using Musosoup to find music for their playlists.
Is it cool to be buying column inches?
When a curator asks for a contribution, this can only ever be asked in exchange for skilled coverage, and will always come with a free alternative. This is not you paying them to give you a good review that they don’t actually believe. They will only be offering you coverage if they already believe your music is great - which is why they’re willing to cover you for free, the free alternative acts as a quality check and stops people from abusing the system.
What’s the #Sustainablecurator movement?
This is the movement of curators, started by Musosoup, who are revolutionizing music journalism to make it financially sustainable. Clearly defining what is and isn’t okay and how it’s different from ‘payola’. The curators using this hashtag have the musician’s interests at heart but are striving to make their work sustainable so they can in turn give more and more coverage for many years to come.
We now have a good understanding of how to start engaging the press at the beginning of an artist's journey. We know how we can start connecting with great writers and curators who drive great content without throwing money around.👌