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SEMINAR 6: PUBLICITY
Part V The Triumph
The Part V of our 7 part journey, is where we become "master
of our domain." It is where we have a tested product in hand
and we also have the fine tuned knowledge and experience to take
that product and sell it to the end user.
The tested product we now have in our "journey through
the music industry" is the master recording. Remember, the
songwriter assigned the rights of his song to the music publisher
and also placed his song with Bingo Records. Then, the record
label's recording artist recorded the song, which has now given
us the master recording of the album. We will now take that album
and see how it is exploited to produce income.
Part VI The Sell
This brings us to Part VI. This is where the product will be
packaged and sold.
PACKAGING THE PRODUCT
"Packaging" not only includes the physical packaging
of the product, i.e., the record album CD, but also the image
"package" that the artist himself puts forward.
CD packaging should be done by a professional. There are a
ton of these type of professional services available. Pick up
a current copy of Mix Magazine and leaf through the pages...you
will find a slew of businesses advertising this type of service.
Or, on the WWW go to any search engine site:
At the search engine text box prompt, type
in the words "CD duplication" (without the quotes) and
click search...there are many to choose from. Be sure to get a
sample of their work, and a guarantee of your money back if you
are not satisfied. The cost of this service can vary greatly from
manufacture to manufacture, so shop around.
CD info links:
CD Duplication Information -- SMP Hot Link
The other part of the "package," of course, is the image of the artist. The artist's image is "packaged" and built via a combination of publicity, record promotion and airplay of the CD, and concert touring. In this session we will look at publicity and record promotion, and next session the concert tour.
SMP -- Image
Publicity and Marketing -- SMP Hot Link
Magazines - Music News - Awards - Festivals -- SMP Hot Link
As you know, we are now in Part VI, and one earmark of Part
VI is that you can finally start speaking!!! And that is basically
what publicity is...professing who the artist is via advertisement
or action designed to attract public attention to the artist and
to his CD.
Publicity then, is a major earmark of Part VI in our 7 part
Publicity is kind of a first cousin to record promotion. They
often parallel each other in both time of occurrence and mode
of operation. In fact, the line separating the two is often clouded.
Record promotion is the act of providing support through advertising
and publicity to ultimately reap a profit from record sales. Publicity,
one could deduce, is a part of record promotion. However, since
publicity is advertisement or action designed to attract public
attention or interest in the artist and in his products and services,
others could conclude record promotion is a part of publicity!
Actually, from the overall perspective, publicity has the wider
scope. Publicity operatives are utilized to "sell the total
from CDs, records, tapes, videos, T-shirts,
concerts, biographies, motion pictures, and TV appearances, to
fan club memberships! Publicity is centered around the "visibility"
of the artist and concentrates on press and other mass media vehicles.
To zero in even more on what publicity is, one other area often
confused with publicity needs to be defined--public relations.
Public relations, like publicity, aims at drawing attention to
the artist. But unlike publicity, its main purpose is not to sell
products and services. The main purpose of public relations is
to create, build, and sustain a favorable reputation or public
image of an artist and to enhance the growth of his career. The
image promoted is often a multi-dimensional one. The intent is
to capture an audience or following of a wide variety of people,
i.e., to induce mass appeal.
A public relations (PR) campaign will try to influence or form
a positive public opinion toward the artist. A publicity campaign,
on the other hand, is launched to sell a commodity. A PR campaign
is generally a national or worldwide "process." A publicity
campaign is more often a local or area "event" (although
it can, in some cases be a nationwide or worldwide "push").
PR and publicity campaigns are often run simultaneously by coordinating
the various people and agencies involved, e.g., where the record
label synchronizes efforts with the national PR firm and the artist
Public relations is almost always handled by a PR firm. Often,
especially with nationally known artists, publicity campaigns
are also implemented by a company with nationwide contacts. But,
for many artists, it is possible for their own manager to do much
of the publicity work--especially if it is local or in a targeted
Publicity, as can be seen, is a very important part of an artist's
career. A well organized and correctly implemented publicity campaign
is often the difference between profit and loss in the sale of
the artist's products and services. Many untalented artists have
been monetarily successful because of their prudent publicity
undertakings. Conversely, many talented artists have dropped by
the wayside because they were reluctant to, or unable to, implement
solid publicity programs.
To properly plan and carry out a publicity campaign the publicist
must know the legal and substantive aspects of publicizing an
artist. He also needs to have the procedural or tactical expertise.
He must have or find the proper contacts and outlets to access
The legal factors concerning publicity center around what is
called the "right to publicity." The right to publicity
is the legal exclusive right of a person (or his heirs) to commercialize
the character and substance of himself. This right is granted
by state civil statute (in some states via criminal statute),
or case law.
Another right that often becomes involved is called a "merchandising
right." A merchandising right is a right, under state common
law, to exploit and market the name, signature, picture, image,
likeness, biographical material, and/or success of a person by
any means, e.g., on T-shirts, posters, in editorials, books, movies,
A third right that applies here is called a "name right."
A name right is the right to legally use a name. This right is
protected by state common law, the Lanham Trademark Act, and in
some cases, indirectly by the federal copyright law (e.g., when
the name is embedded in copyrighted material).
In summation, the law basically gives the artist the exclusive
rights to his name, likeness, and substance if the operation of
these does not infringe on a right of another who has previously
established such rights (in rare instances, depending on jurisdictional
laws, a court of law may rule against someone who actually established
use first if a second party's later use is more widely associated
with the name at the time of litigation).
In general, rights to a name are established by use and by
the existence of public notoriety. In other cases the rights may
be established by procedure in accordance with law, e.g., with
the Lanham Trademark Act. Since these rights (for the most part)
fall under the jurisdiction of civil law conflicting claims or
uses must be resolved by litigation (as opposed to police action)
and court judgment carried out under criminal law.
Trademark info links:
Trademarks and Service Marks -- SMP Hot Link
The law then, prohibits the unauthorized use for profit of
the artist's name, likeness, and substance. So, before a publicity
campaign can begin, these rights must be assigned (by contract)
to the publicist, other manager or agent, or to the record company.
Many, if not all of these rights, are often assigned to the record
company in the artist's recording contract. If this is the case,
the artist, his publicist, manager, or other agent could be denied
the right to publicize!
A publicity program has two dimensions--substantive and procedural.
The substantive aspects of a publicity campaign are the:
3) Where, and
and the procedural has to do with the:
But what about the "why?" Well, it comes into play
and keeps the mind occupied if everything else fails!
The substantive deals with objective facts. The procedural
is the process that puts the facts to work. It is more subjective.
It has sort of a "personality" to it. The procedural
will reflect the artist manager/publicist's own experience and
When the substantive aspects are addressed the manager/publicist
will have to address many questions. The following is a list of
some of them.
1) What is the message?
2) What are the ways available to package and convey the message?
3) What are the delegated responsibilities of all concerned?
4) What will the costs be?
5) What yardstick is used to measure the success or failure of the campaign?
1) Who will hear the message?
2) Who needs to hear the message?
3) Who wants to hear the message!
4) Who will pay the costs incurred to get the message out?
1) Where would the message be introduced?
2) Where would it be proclaimed later?
1) When would the message(s) go out?
1) How does one package and convey the publicity message?
2) How long before meaningful conclusions can be drawn about the success of publicity endeavors?
3) How does one determine which conclusions are the meaningful ones?
4) How long does one push the message?
Here is where you will need the SMP Membership Full Text Version of Seminar #6, along with the access it gives to the SMP Hot Links you will find out how "to take care of business" with detailed step-by-step answers to all of the above questions!! Also covered are the typical percent cuts and bonuses regarding the publicist and the media and who it is that normally pays for the production expenses.
Go To SMP Membership Full Text Version -- Index List of All Seminars
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In summation, for most publicists, "going for the gold"
in the publicity game is a crazy mixture of talent, blind luck,
and money. For others it is a purposeful expression of the intangible.
Although the outcome of a publicity push is often monetarily deficient
for many beginners, the return is effectively zero if one never
gives it a shot!
Experienced publicists always proceed with caution, caring,
and courage. Hang in there!
See you next session for a look at Record Promotion.
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