By: Scott Michael
Musical artists can hit different types of notes and public relations professionals in this field need to be able to do the same thing. Public relations plays a major role in the music industry. Public relations professionals promote tours, album releases, and artists themselves. Promoting a tour with a simple hashtag or a run through the late-night talk shows can help boost the artist and their work.
Some artists are easier to promote than others. An artist like Taylor Swift has die-hard fans who will listen to her music regardless of how much it is promoted. Taylor’s audience is a young demographic of kids in their early to late teenage years. According to a 2017 study by NORC at the University of Chicago, an independent research institution that delivers reliable data and rigorous analysis, 75% of teens use Snapchat and 47% use Twitter. When teens are on Snapchat or Twitter, they will look for their favorite artist and see if there is any hashtag to push or Snapchat filter they could spread around. For example, Taylor Swift had a 4.26 filter on Snapchat for her album, Lover. On Twitter people would push the hashtag #Lover. All of this is done to create awareness about the album and get current fans excited for it.
Some artists are more on the indie circuit. These artists need a lot of work and creativity to grow organically. A PR professional will have to push these artists through multiple social media channels. They’ll have to come up with creative campaigns, hashtags, and ways to get their artists in the community, so people recognize the artist’s face, not just their voice. A good public image can go a long way in helping elevate an artist and raise their profiles, so when the time for promotions comes people will know who the artist is and be more inclined to retweet and post about the artist.
I have never done PR in the music industry, but I have learned that I have contributed to artists’ PR campaigns without even knowing it. I have used hashtags from artists such as Danny Brown, Kendrick Lamar, and Taylor Swift. I have used their Snapchat filters, and even engaged with artists’ contests for a VIP meet and greet and backstage passes. Often retweeting or offering other types of publicity is a requirement of fans entering these contests. By entering, I did the job that the PR professionals wanted me to do – I promoted a contest, tour, or album. And unfortunately, haven’t won yet! Music fans engaging with artists about contests or upcoming album releases can open that artist to a brand-new audience who may not have heard them before.
The PR professional’s job is to come up with creative campaigns for social media then let the fans take it away from there. As stated earlier, an artist with a reach like Taylor Swift will make a PR professional’s job easier rather than an indie artist who will make their PR professional work twice as hard and be three times as creative. For example, a rapper who is still on the mixtape circuit who wants to tour. ASAP Rocky had to invite other well-known rappers who could help bring in more of a crowd. That was a creative strategy that paid off for Rocky in long run. He is now one of the biggest artists in the world.
Public relations jobs are not always red carpets and fancy events; sometimes you must deal with a crisis. Artists may say or tweet something that causes outrage amongst the public. Having to control that could be challenging depending on your client’s ego.
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” This is a quote that every aspiring PR professional should think about before entering the entertainment side of this field. It may seem enticing living in a big city and working with an artist but remember that with everything good, there is the potential for the bad. Don’t let that deter your interest from chasing this career. #CreativityIsKey