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Is It Really Worth It To Hire a Music PR Company?

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(Hypebot) — In this piece, noted PR company skeptic Brian Hazard of Color Theory, details his recent experience taking a chance on a PR Company and whether or not, in the end, it was ultimately worth it.

Guest post by Brian Hazard of Passive Promotion

Over the past two decades, dozens of my mastering clients have hired music PR companies to promote their music.

They always regret it, and always tell me the same thing:

“They didn’t do anything for me that I couldn’t have done for myself.”

Same goes for labels, by the way.

I’ve never been on a label, and the two radio promoters I’ve worked with both turned out to be scammers. Knowing what I know, why would I take a chance on a music PR company?

Two reasons:

First, the company I hired lives and breathes my genre, and works with some of the biggest names in it.

Second and most importantly, this article! I knew that even if the campaign was a total disaster, I’d at least be able to prevent others from making the same mistake.

So I forged ahead, paying roughly $2K for a two-month campaign to promote a double A-side release.

The contract I signed includes a confidentiality clause, so I’m not going to go into the specifics of my campaign, or even name the company. I think they did a solid job and I’d happily recommend them, but I understand why they’d rather keep the finer details between us.

UPDATE: They read the article and are totally fine with being mentioned! I worked with The Playground and would absolutely hire them again.

My Music PR Campaign Setup

My relationship with the PR team was very one-sided to begin with. I had homework to do, and plenty of it!

I uploaded assets to Google Drive, filled out a long questionnaire, and answered a series of stock questions for an interview that would later be posted on their site.

Next, we nailed down the press release, which was essentially a light rewrite of the bio I provided.

In retrospect, we should’ve worked harder on it. At the time, I didn’t realize that the vast majority of blog features would be a verbatim copy/paste of the press release.

Last but not least, I provided a spreadsheet of the various outlets that I routinely hit up. There was some overlap, and we double-teamed a handful of them, but for the most part, they solicited their contacts and I solicited mine.

My Music PR Campaign Results

Communication between myself and the PR team was near-constant, and they provided several progress reports. We worked closely to coordinate the premieres — three of them!

They were with Atwood MagazineClash Magazine, and Wonderland.

I could not have done this myself.

You may be wondering how we managed three premieres with two tracks. Wonderland called their feature a premiere a full two months after the track premiered in Atwood! I wasn’t going to complain.

Of course, the music PR company got me a lot more than those three features.

The songs received over three dozen plays on terrestrial and internet radio, a couple dozen more blog posts, and even a couple of YouTube features.

They reached out to big names like Pitchfork, Stereogum, NPR, Consequence of Sound, Brooklyn Vegan, and many, many more. Presumably if the songs were better or our pitch more interesting, the coverage would’ve scaled along with it.

My Music PR Campaign Conclusion

I’m satisfied with the campaign for the three big features alone. They make for great social proof on my About page and helped me establish credibility for my free CD campaign.

Brian Hazard is a recording artist with over twenty years of experience promoting eleven Color Theory albums, and head mastering engineer and owner of Resonance Mastering in Huntington Beach, California.

His Passive Promotion blog emphasizes “set it and forget it” methods of music promotion.

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