I am an enormous cheap skate. I would rather tour in a PT Cruiser with no cruise control than a roomy minivan because it saves gas. I would much rather burn CD’s and print labels out of my house rather than send it out to be done. I would even rather sleep on someone’s floor over paying for a hotel; however, the biggest misstep that I’ve made in my cheapdom is not understanding the value of a great publicist.
A publicist is as general of a profession as being a teacher. Some are Kindergarten educators while others are fifth grade. Some teach high school history while others teach eighth grade biology. Their specialties vary based on their specific accomplishments; however, they all have the same basic training and work under the same purpose…teach. The same goes for the publicist. Some specialize in event planning while others focus on sponsorships. Some work with nonprofits, and some work with music. Their one purpose, though, is to get their clients as much exposure as possible.
Now don’t get me wrong, that exposure comes with a price. Most publicists that I know that deal in the independent markets charge between $1500-$2000 a month and want a 3 month contract. So really you’re talking $4500-$6000. Most times, the money’s due up front. For the average hip hop artist that’s scraping together everything that they have in order to survive and slowly prod ahead, this is almost an insult. I know, I’m one of of them. This is more than my entire recording budget. There was no way I could afford to pay that much for a publicist…I should have found a way though.
Here’s the reasoning:
The average independent is a one man show. We record, executive produce, book, manage, fund, and find a way to be an artist in between all of that. We either do a little bit of everything and really get nothing accomplished, or we excel in one or two areas and let everything else go to the wayside until we can figure out how to properly deal with it. The things that we concentrate most on is our musical content, booking and things related directly to them. The thing that usually suffers the most is presence (I’m using it as a synonym to exposure). With presence, comes value, with value comes money. In other words, the more you’re talked about, the more you make.
Convinced? Great! Slow your role for a minute though (that rhymes). As I said a few paragraphs ago (still rhyming), publicity is a general profession, so it is imperative that you know exactly what you need from a publicist. Do you need press to support touring? A project? Are you looking for sponsorships? These are things that you should know before sitting at the table with someone to discuss being represented. This is your money…your hard earned money that takes food out of your mouth and away from your dream if it doesn’t work out. So make sure it does.
Here are some things that you need to be wary of:
Quanstar is an American underground hip hop artist, indie filmmaker, comic creator, and self published author from Atlanta.