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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 artist"--from CDs, music
video DVDs, 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 company synchronizes
efforts with the national PR firm and the artist manager.
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 area. See Cross-links: PUBLIC RELATIONS.
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.
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. See Cross-links: RIGHT
under "Right to Publicity,"
and "Right to Privacy."
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, cartoons, etc.. See Cross-links: RIGHT
under "Merchandising Right," CONTRACT--RECORDING CONTRACT
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).
See Cross-links: TRADEMARK,
TRADEMARK-A CLOSER LOOK,
NAME under "Name Rights."
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
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.
The law then, prohibits
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