Producing and recording music is one thing. Promoting it successfully is another. And if you think Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, SoundCloud and ReverbNation are the only platforms you need to get your music out, you’re in for a surprise! How you promote yourself will make or break you. How will people know you exist when a million other artists are using the same overcrowded sites to promote their music? Sounds like you need a publicist!
A traditional publicist generates publicity for a variety of clients ranging from celebrities and new artists to businesses, authors and entrepreneurs. A Hip Hop publicist (that would be me) does the same but specifically for Hip Hop artists. Although most decent publicists can garner general publicity for any type of client, few specialize in Hip Hop culture and understand the particular needs of a rapper, producer, DJ or any other Hip Hop based clientele.
A Hip Hop publicist knows how to write a bio that appeals to Hip Hop media outlets. Remember, a bio is your calling card, your introduction to the world. It should tell a compelling story and make readers eager to learn more about your music, business or product. A bio is what helps you make a good first impression in the eyes of those whose can give you the exposure you need. You don’t want to hurt your chances of making a positive impact by having a sloppy bio written by your 93 year old grandmother, your homie who brags about his “C+” average in English class or anyone else who doesn’t have professional experience. No offense to grandmothers by the way!
A Hip Hop publicist knows how to create a press release that generates interest from Hip Hop media including blogs, websites, magazines, radio, podcasts and more. What’s a press release, you ask? A press release is a written document directed at the media, announcing something newsworthy, such as the release of a new album, project, video, product, business or anything else being promoted. The release is then distributed to members of the media including bloggers, writers, editors and journalists. It’s ultimately up to them to determine if what you offer is interesting and unique enough for them to publicize. A Hip Hop publicist will make sure that the odds are in your favor. Still, at the end of the day, it comes down to how well put together your overall game plan really is.
What a Hip Hop publicist will do that no traditional publicist can is help develop an artist or counsel a client. Ok, I made up that last part! Truth is, this isn’t even part of a publicist’s job at all. It’s simply what I’ve chosen to do because I love Hip Hop culture and I want to see quality Hip Hop prevail over the current sad state of mainstream rap. But I digress!
One thing’s for sure, NO publicist will work for free, no matter how much they love the job. So if you’re serious about your career, you’ll need to hire one. Basic services such as bios and press releases range from $125 to $200. Consultations or artist development can range from $50 to $100 per hour depending on your particular needs.
The ball is in your court. You can sit around and wait to miraculously get 10 million YouTube views of your latest video, hoping that some big name star discovers you, or you can invest in your dream and step up your game. The choice is yours.
Sebastien Elkouby is a Hip Hop Culture historian, part time publicist, freelance writer and award-winning educator. Check out his educational program, Global Awareness Through Hip Hop Culture and his blog, SebIsHipHop.wordpress.com. For more info about his services, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SebIsHipHop (Although he rarely uses it!)