What Is A Music Publicist & Should You Hire One?

Last updated: 14 Nov 2023

Media visibility and public image are two key elements that need to be taken care of once you reach a certain level of notoriety. This is where music publicists come in. Their job is to fine-tune your public persona as your career develops and to ensure that you’re attracting the right kind of attention. 

But when is the right time to add a music publicist to your team? And what’s their job description? 

The Basics

A music publicist is someone who handles the PR efforts of a music artist. Their tasks vary depending on the clients’ needs, but they mainly get involved in the run-up to a release campaign or tour in order to ensure that your project gets the best coverage possible. Some publicists work with their clients on a long-term basis, and their role develops alongside their client’s career. Other music publicists only get involved on a project-by-project basis.

Their primary role is to work on your public image and target key media outlets that might be interested in your work. They kick off the campaign by creating an EPK – or electronic press kit. This is your digital portfolio. It typically includes the release artwork, tour poster, artist bio as well as several promo shots. Then, they pitch this EPK and the press release to the press contact list that they have built throughout the years in the hopes of getting earned media coverage (coverage that comes about due to PR pitches. This differs from sponsored content, which is paid for by the artist and their team.)

After receiving feedback from relevant press contacts, the music publicist schedules press interviews and a PR rollout strategy. Some music publicists go a step further and arrange photoshoots and video shoots for their clients. Additionally, some of them are involved in creating a cohesive social media strategy that will boost their client’s profile even further. 

In order to be a successful music publicist in the 2020s, it is necessary to be constantly aware of new technologies and strategies that will help the artists on their roster. They also need to think outside the box when it comes to building a solid press contact list. An innovative music publicist should build meaningful relationships with influencers, brands, podcast hosts and online publications since, nowadays, these individuals have more reach than traditional media platforms. 

When should I get a music publicist?

A music publicist’s fee can range from a couple of hundred to thousands of dollars. Therefore, you need to be at the right stage in your career to engage with a publicist and see the desired results. If not, it would be a waste of resources that would be best invested in more effective audience development strategies.

Have a look at the music publicist’s roster before approaching them, and make sure that you ask for their target list and case studies. If you feel it is necessary, you could always ask some of the artists on their roster about their experience working with the publicist. Furthermore, make sure that they already have some level of notoriety amongst key industry tastemakers so that you can rest assured that you’re getting the best bang for your buck.

Final notes

Shared vision, goals and business values are essential ingredients for a successful artist-publicist collaboration that ultimately, raises the profile of both the artist as well as the publicist. Keep in mind that a music publicist can make or break your career, so make sure that you scour the internet and go through your list of potentials with a fine-tooth comb before settling on someone.

author

Janelle knows a thing or two about the music industry. Having been involved in the industry since the age of 13, she's now involved in a variety of music-related projects and is always keen to share industry tips 'n' tricks with fellow musicians.