A couple weeks ago on the Muze blog, we took a deep dive into the components of a complete, thorough musician’s Electronic Press Kit (EPK). This virtual promotional package is an all-in-one look and listen which highlights who you are as an artist. Having an EPK is an essential component to telling your story to music industry tastemakers, including media outlets, talent buyers, and others who offer creative or professional services to help you further your career.
Now, for the million-dollar question: what do you do once it’s complete?
You pitch it!
However – like anything else you do in the digital space – you’ll want to pitch responsibly, and understand the steps that you can take to ensure your music lands in the right hands and has an opportunity to shine. In this week’s article, we’ll cover:
- How to find opportunities to connect with music industry tastemakers.
- How to identify the opportunities that are right for you.
- How to build relationships with tastemakers in the music industry.
- How to ensure that you are supporting the tastemakers who are supporting you.
Sound like fun? Let’s jump in!
First of all, it’s good to know where you stand.
As a musician, you may have dreams of appearing on the cover of Rolling Stone. You may covet attention from major outlets like Billboard. We support you in these dreams, and we have no doubt that you can accomplish them. However, if you are just starting out in your career (and don’t have a ton of resources at your disposal), there’s a great chance that you will need to start small and build your way up to those heights.
The good news? There are plenty of outlets that will give you and your music professional at-bats early on. These opportunities are the building blocks needed to create buzz over time, and will add up to propel you to the success you desire.
So… How Do You Find ‘Em?
There are a few ways to find “building block” opportunities for your music, whether on your own or with help from your community. Here are a few places to start:
- The Internet
At this point, all reputable independent media outlets have a digital presence. A simple Google search — i.e.; “Nashville music blog” — will turn up plenty of results, as well as what you need to connect with tastemakers directly. From there, you’ll be able to see which opportunities are a right fit for your music and, at times, your budget. As for knowing when an opportunity is the right fit? We’ll cover that in just a bit…
- Hire a publicist
It is a PR firm’s job to find quality media coverage and career opportunities for its clients, and any publicist you hire is going to have connections you have not yet made. If you’re just starting out — or, perhaps, you don’t know where to start — this is one of the wisest early career investments you can make.
- Ask your friends!
Pay attention to the moves your peers are making – including the ones that you find right here on Muze! Your musician friends are out there finding coverage opportunities. Ask how they made the connection, and even for an introduction.
How Do You Know If An Opportunity Is Right For You?
Whether it’s a media outlet (like a blog or podcast), a performance or festival opportunity, or anything else, it is important to weigh the nuances of each platform. This will allow you to determine whether the platforms you are pitching to fit your artistic vision – and, likewise, whether your artistic vision is a fit with theirs.
Here are some things to consider when weighing coverage opportunities:
- Does it fit your vibe?
As you embark upon your journey to communicate your story to the masses, it is important to pursue opportunities that are authentic to your story. Consider the following:
- Do you and the tastemaker(s) share similar values?
- Can you see yourself building a good working relationship with them?
- How is the quality of their work?
You’ve put a lot of effort into ensuring the components of your EPK are of the highest quality. Therefore, you deserve the same in return. When exploring an opportunity, pay attention to the effort behind their promotion, communication, and overall quality of work. This will tell you everything you need to know, with regard to how beneficial this opportunity will be to your career.
- What genres do they support?
Even in this genre-fluid 21st Century world, there are still outlets that cater to a certain genre and demographic. If you’re releasing a Scandinavian Doom Metal album, submitting to a teen pop publication may not lead to the return you desire. Find opportunities rooted in passion for the type of music you are making.
How To Build Those Relationships
Once you have identified opportunities that are a fit, go a little deeper in your research to find out exactly how you can get on the tastemaker’s radar. Here are a few tips to help you take that step:
- Find out what they offer
In the media world, some outlets stick strictly to reviews and written features. Others may have playlists, podcasts, and other multimedia content. It’s important to know what your target outlets offer, so you can pitch to a specific opportunity. If all else fails, ask yourself: “What do I appreciate about what they do, and how they do it?”
- Assess what you can offer
At the end of the day, these tastemakers are people trying to build a platform, just like you. How will working with you benefit them? Can you offer them an exclusive premiere? Will your social reach help them expand their audience? Whatever you bring to the table, make sure to include it in your pitch email.
- Ask (good) questions
If you’re still unclear on something after your research — and you can’t Google it — reach out to someone who can answer your question. It’s always safe to ask how you can get involved, and what a mutually beneficial relationship looks like to them.
In conjunction with the above points, it is important to remember that building positive, productive, and mutually beneficial relationships are – and will always be – a vital component of your success in the music industry. Taking these notes into consideration will increase your chances of building them, which translates into more opportunities to make your voice heard.
And, speaking of building relationships, have you given Muze a try? You could meet your next collaborators here, which will only increase the number of opportunities at your fingertips. Sign up today!