A decent chunk of what I am stating below unfortunately comes from mistakes I have seen people make, time and time again...so I am hoping this will help to save some people of these problems, followed by their time and money.
What we will be talking about is what an artist should do before embarking on a campaign to release their music, or head off on tour (whether you are using a PR company or doing it yourself)
These are the fundamental basics which should be in place before even considering pitching to the media:
1. Fully mastered recordings in both WAV and MP3 format, 150% ready. Do not set your planned release dates until they are done and dusted. If you feel you want to edit something again or change it then cancel the release dates, move them forward and start again! The amount of times I have seen people in above their heads because this wasn’t done correctly is beyond saddening….not only that but I have seen people release an average version of a song and then have a better edit afterwards!! What a waste of time and money…
2. This brings me swiftly onto any planned music videos...same as above. Too many artists assume their video will be shot, edited, and release ready within the two week time frame which has been suggested to them. 90% of the time I have not seen this happen. Do not set your video release or single until you have it in on your computer completely finished!
3. Make sure your press shots are in high res format as JPEG files. Make sure there is at least one landscape and one portrait image, and likewise with your artwork. NB media don't want massive photo files sent over clogging up their inbox so approx 1MB is usually about right. The PR agent can create a smaller file from that if needs be, or make it even easier and send them a low res online worthy copy of each too.
4. Set up a soundcloud page with all relevant tracks uploaded and ready with the correct artwork, (if the songs are yet to be released then just set up a private soundcloud link with those secret tracks so they can still be passed onto the medias to listen…)
5. If with a PR company they will do your press release and make you sound the best they possibly can. However make sure you have your biog on the website up to date, then give them as much background information as possible. The more you give them the more they can help you! For example if you’re in a band, info of where all the members are from, different areas mean more regional coverage. Anything interesting about yourself or band members, and yes...things you think which could be fickle might land you a big interview. If you have all of this ready to pass on then it only saves another job further down the line.
6. Ensure that your website is fully updated with all relevant details for whatever it is you will be promoting. Also make sure if you have a certain artwork or style for the release or tour that you are using the same imagery over all your related social sites to bring it all together.
7. If it’s a tour then checking those tour/show dates are noted fully with location, venue, and very importantly a concise direct link to ticket purchasing, (whether that is direct to the venue website, or a ticket company e.g. Ticketmaster)
8. If we are looking at a release to have all your distribution links ready, be it a pre order link, download links (e.g. iTunes or similar), and streaming sites all set up and ready to go. Likewise with physical releases to make sure any ordering sites are ready, plus having an up to date merch page on your website is so key!
9. Finally to have some grace on time. Don’t expect an effective PR campaign to start two weeks before you release your debut album..it’s just not going to happen. The time scale will depend on many factors so let your PR agent advise on this, but don’t set your release plans until they have discussed it with you. Again it is otherwise a waste of time and money :-(