Metallian assembled some of metal's premier publicists and asked them how they go about their work - 04.2004


Metal Publicity And Promotion
-How do you typically approach the promotion of a record? -Can you compare and contrast the promotion of a younger band with the promotion of a popular band? -How do you gauge success in a promotion and publicity campaign? -How do you deal with negative reaction as in a bad review or in the case of a media backlash? -Should all women be banned from driving or just Asian ones?
-Dave Brenner - EarsplitPR Publicist -It all comes down to staying in touch with the writers and publications. You need to stay in touch with everyone, develop relationships and just target the right music to the right places. The main thing is developing contacts and a system of approach, and keeping people informed. You can't make anyone cover your stuff; they're going to if they want to, so we do what we can. -That kind of depends, but it goes along with the first question. Already known bands are obviously going to get a more immediate response since they have been around, but I find it more satisfying to help new or unknown bands get some 'love' from the scene. We do everything in our power to help out every band we work and some just catch on bigger than others and that depends on the band more than anything else. Without the underground we can't have major acts. -If we see our work stirring up a buzz in the scene we did our job. If nobody gives a shit, at least we have tried. Some records get relentless response months after we've worked it and some just dry up. Many factors play a role in a bands' success though - label support, advertising and most importantly touring all work hand-in-hand with publicity. The band needs to be involved or it just doesn't happen. -Well, there ain't a whole hell of a lot you can do about that. We only work with bands we like and aim to get them covered in the right spots, but coverage all comes down to opinion in the long run. Of course, we want everything to do well, but none of them are bands we're in so you can't take anything personally. You know what they say; 'opinions are like assholes, everybody's got one.' -People who can't drive shouldn't, but they all do. Man, woman, hybrid, Asian, Mexican, whatever doesn't matter. But anyone living in the city with an SUV and can't parallel park should be beaten. Anyone driving those ugly-ass new box-shaped SUV's are the ones that should be banned.
-Hannah Raymond - Nuclear Blast USA Publicist -First off, we as a label take a listen and give our personal feedback in regards to the marketing strategy for the release. We figure what we imagine will work well for the band and the release. Then we decide what we are going to do to go above and beyond for the release. This possibly includes some long shots or something that we think would be a great opportunity and then push to obtain that. Sometimes that is in regards to a tour, a feature in a specific publication, radio spins, etc. At that point I work on biographies for the promo package and press photos. Then I work on the amount of promotional material and who we will service for reviews, features etc. I always stay optimistic and keep in touch with the bands to find out what I can do to assist them concerning publications that they would like to be featured in or anything that they would like me to acquire for them. -More popular bands are quicker to get the attention of writers and publications. Younger bands take more patience and time when it comes to getting a publication's interest. More popular bands have writers that they know, or have images that publications are attracted to, while the younger bands are still in the process of getting that together. It takes different approaches but there is always the one feature that you want for a band, may it be the popular band or the young one, that you really want to work for, and then it levels out. -A successful publicity campaign for me usually comes in the quality of coverage. I can get a million reviews for a band, but I will not be happy until I get an article that I want to run. I want the bands to get the attention and the coverage that they deserve. I work with bands that are so passionate and driven, and I want them to get the exposure that they deserve. It is really just something that you know as a publicist, you can tell if you have worked your hardest or if you have done the band justice. It is just something that you have to expect from yourself, and you know if it was a success. -Negative reactions come with the territory. I look at the average and then I step back and judge the feedback. I understand that some releases are going to rub people the wrong way, or venture out in a direction that the fans are not used to and usually I am prepared. The good thing about Nuclear Blast is that we are all fans of the music, so we are aware of what a fan will be thinking. I always do the first listen as a fan, and take that initial reaction to heart then I gear up for the release. Sometimes a band will do something that is out of the ordinary and I know that it will get mixed reviews, oh well. These bands are artists, and we are always going to judge them. The main priority to me is just to get them heard. -Women are very observant which should make us better drivers. I am with you though when it seems that most women and Asians (not only women) seem to be missing that gene.
-Eric Corbin - Inside Out Music America Publicist -Our releases definitely have "priority levels." We prioritize them as A, B or C. Depending on how well the band sells in the US and how much of a budget we're given to work the record. I work the B and C level releases in-house to press and radio. Most of our higher priority or "A-level" bands such as Evergrey and Symphony X are worked by an outside agency. Although my list is growing, they have bigger and better contacts than I do. We will prioritize our A-level bands in our ads. Give them more ad space, push the CD to radio, make posters and post cards for the record stores. Basically keep them in the face of the record buyers. We will do limited edition packaging and offer bonus material. Whatever we can do to set them apart. -Younger bands are much harder to get press on. If its a new band and their first release sometimes we're lucky to just get the CD reviewed in magazines let alone interviewed. Unless the band is completely breaking new ground, it can be difficult to divert the writer's attention. Popular bands are much easier because everyone wants to talk to them, review the record, etc. The new Evergrey CD The Inner Circle is one such example. Evergrey are really hot for us right now and the interview requests are coming from everywhere. -It is all in vain if the CD sales don't reflect your hard work. I've worked bands that I thought were great, they got great reviews, but the CD just didn't sell. It can be a little disheartening at times, but you just hope that you can build on your hard work with their next release. -We've had a few bad reviews, but never a full-on media backlash. Inside Out is a niche label. We do Progressive Metal and Progressive Rock. So everything we release at least has great musicianship. I have the privilege of working with the best musicians in the world. Even if you dislike one of our releases, the one thing you can't say is that it doesn't sound good or that the players aren't up to par. -I love Asian women! It's one of my little fetishes. Women can drive just fine as long as they don't have a cel. phone, the radio or a bug in the car to distract them. One of my ex-girlfriends almost crashed my car one time because a bee flew in the window. She was Japanese, so it was double trouble! lol.
-Heather Smith - Century Media USA Publicist -You have to decide who will be the band's listenership and target those magazines and web sites. For example, you don't send everyone power metal. It is a waste of the label's time and money to blanket everyone on most releases. I try to listen to the CD and get to know what the artist is trying to express musically and lyrically. After that it's just trying to get press peeps to actually listen to the promo. -They are both difficult. The longer the band has been around the more they expect out of you and the more they know they should expect. They also have more conflicts with their schedule, so you end up rescheduling lots of interviews. Younger bands don't know what is and isn't important and also are dedicated to doing everything. With a popular band press comes to you to get the story, with a younger band you have to tell it enough times to generate an interest. -How much press feedback you get! How many reviews and interviews that get emailed or mailed to you. Publicity, getting the band "out there" sells records, so ultimately the sales of the album also reflect how well the bands publicist did his/her job. -Just keep swimming, just keep swimming... what do we do we swim swim... (Dorie - Finding Nemo) -Actually women have less accidents then men, that's why our insurance rates are lower then our male counterparts. We also don't feel the need to make up for our lack of self-esteem by driving too fast or too aggressively. I know I can drive better than most men could ever hope to. I can drive full-size vans and trucks, manual shift vehicles, trucks with trailers, and tractors. Most people in the U.S. can't even drive a stick... so I am one up on them. I challenge you to parallel parking a full size Chevy truck!



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