The Label Machine Podcast #15 – Kaytee Long Becker (DIY PR)

Podcast

Kaytee Long Becker - DIY PR

On this episode Nick sits down with Kaytee Long Becker, founder of full service public relations company DIY PR, Inc. Kaytee is also the creator of the DIY Music PR Academy, which instructs indie musicians proven methods to grow their fanbase and get featured on publications.

Join us for a deep dive on PR for independent artists, advertising, NFT's in the music industry and much more!

NICK SADLER: Welcome to The Label Machine Series, where we discuss with our guests how artists and record labels sell music. Today's guest is Kaytee Long Becker. Katie is president of DIY PR group, a full service public relations firm, which is experts in Los Angeles, New York and Nashville. The clients are based in the United States, London, Singapore, Spain, and Stockholm, and have been featured across the biggest publications in the world, including Rolling Stone, Billboard, Newsweek, and Forbes. She is also the creator of the DIY Music PR method, which teaches indie musicians proven methods and industry secrets to make an artist irresistible to media. In short, Katie helps creative leaders get the visibility that they deserve. Katie, how are you today?

KAYTEE LONG BECKER: I'm great, Nick, thank you for that introduction. Here, I'm really excited.

NS: Oh, well, I'll kick things off, as in typical fashion, and ask you how you got started in the industry to story sort of to where you are now?

KLB: Yeah, absolutely. Well, it all began when I was born into a family of musicians and artists. So it goes way back. And my interest in you know, the artist perspective and involvement in the creative process goes back to when I was a little girl to third My earliest memories. So I've always really been passionate about the entertainment industry and just the artistic industry in general in the artistic process. So fast forward many years. I majored in PR in college and with a minor in Spanish and and then I moved to Los Angeles. And I worked in film and television, actually, for many years. And I worked on Academy, the, the Oscar campaigns and Emmy campaigns and all that fun stuff, all the award shows and worked with major studios. And yeah, it was a blast. It was a great, great experience. And then, you know, I've always been very passionate about music. So I started a DIY, er group, and the beginning was actually this academy that you mentioned. Right, so it's the DIY, It's recently been rebranded as the DIY music PR Academy. Originally, it was the DIY music, our bootcamp. And it's an online course that teaches indie musicians how to do their own PR. So I saw the need for that in the industry, because a lot of times independent artists don't have the budget for a publicist to hire a full time publicist. But, you know, with my background, and how passionate I am about helping the artists get their, the word out about their art. And I just, I feel so passionately that everyone should have a fair chance to do that. The way that I was able to contribute to the industry was to create an an online course in that would help people do this and provided at a affordable rate. So, um, that's what I did. And then the company just kind of took off as far as full service clients and, and it's been a really amazing ride. I'm so blessed to work with the artists that I do and, and then this past year, I got married in May. And on our honeymoon, I had, oh, thank you, I had this epiphany that I needed to update the DIY music, PR bootcamp and call it the academy, because so much has changed in the industry since it originally, you know, went live. This is Edward, by the way.

NS: Just noticed your cat!

KLB: I have three animals, they'll probably all make cameos for cat, dog. Um, but yeah, so that's what I had been working on over the summer. And it's actually not live or it is live, but I haven't really talked about it much. So this is one of the places that I'm on.

NS: Well, first. Yeah. So am I right in thinking that the boot camp slashed, which is now the Academy started first, like I think six, seven years ago and then did it… Did you just realize that people were like, Hey, thanks for teaching me. Can you actually just do it for me? And is that sort of what what was born The DIY PR group?

KLB: Yeah, well, what happened was I was asked to speak at a number of different conferences throughout the world, and that brought me full service clients. And so people just kept asking me that actually do their PR for them. And so that's how that grew. And it's just been word of mouth basically, since then.

NS: Interesting, um, we'll get, I think we'll get back to it as well on that balance. So you have these full service clients that you know, work with, very quickly, what are your main activities, day to day, with working with these clients?

KLB: The main activities, well, they kind of, they definitely span all over the place. You know, for my, like, core clients that I've had on my roster for a long time I end up, you know, working with them on licensing deals, and finding agents and stuff that is totally outside the realm of public relations. But you know, at DIY PR, we offer coaching, we offer the PR packages, we offer, Spotify, promotion, and obviously the academy. So there are things that you know, like the day to day things throughout all of that process those processes for PR, specifically, which I think is what we want to focus on, you know, it's like, its day to day follow up and pitching of Music Media. So that's the core of what publicity is and creating relationships with those writers, and getting your music featured by influential blogs, and publications. So that you then have credibility. So to say, you know, in the industry, you can build your online presence, your SEO, your search engine optimization, and just your general online story, it also gives you great social content, of course, and, and low-key bragging rights. But that's basically what I'm, when it comes to just conventional PR, that's what I am consistently working towards on the day to day for each my clients.

NS: It's interesting. So I guess then, yeah, beyond that, what you alluded to at the beginning, as you're sort of, by the sounds of it, doing Artist Management to some degree with some of your clients.

KLB: You're not the first person to say that. Yeah.

NS: I mean, you know, it's funny, you, as you were saying earlier, that you're, you know, you want to help people, that artists get their music, you know, to the wide world and spread their message. And that's, that's exactly what my kind of mission is, as well, it's exactly the same thing. And, and that's, and, you know, I do artist management, as well, and, and, you know, but a big part of that is doing music PR, doing, you know, paid advertising, Spotify campaigns. So, I feel we'd probably there'll be some clients where we probably have very similar roles in that way. And, and, you know, I was speaking to someone earlier today. And I think it's the the trend of the music industry that we do wear many hats these days, especially in the indie, and the independent sector, as well, we have, you know, you might not have the budgets to have individual teams on everything, like a major label does. Yeah, so that's, that's really interesting.

KLB: And think about just interject there, think about what the artists have to go through to you know, this firsthand. You know, we're all entrepreneurs in this scene. You know, I think the artists more so I mean, I am an entrepreneur, because I started a business, same as you. But the artists are being forced now, in this day and age, you know, to literally learn every facet of being an artist, whether that's PR, whether that's, you know, learning an instrument, or if they don't have a manager or doing ads and how to promote everything and when to get their distribution in on time and what needs to be done there. So yeah, I think it's all that's just kind of the, the wavelength of the industry now, but which can be kind of frustrating. I find that is one of the biggest challenges for the artists that I work with.

NS: I mean, for them to get the head around that concept. I have to agree. And what I use as an example is like, because I think artists have this fit like not fantasy, but there's this idea of like, I'm just going to be in the studio being an artist, like just creating music. And then I've got this team around me if like when I've created was amazing music. You know, I'm gonna go to parties and then everyone's gonna go and sell it for me do all the promo up here and I'm just going to show…

KLB: Sounds romantic. Yeah, totally. Yeah,

NS: They're very romantic about it. And the reality is they It's just not how it for very, very, very few genius artists, maybe that is what happens. But largely, it's not, you have to understand the business side and you have to, at some point in your career, like do the marketing, do the PR and, and, and, you know, when I look through history as well, some of the biggest artists, they're just natural born entrepreneurs, they totally get it and the artists I've worked with, they that have success very quickly. They get it, you know, if you're like, hey, we need you to do like, straight to camera thing for the social media thing, because it's for PR, they don't go on but I'm not going to look cool or anything, they just go, okay. I'm like, Hey, can you do this mixing for this? Okay, can you like, write this special thing for your fans? Okay, like they they kind of get that marketing side and, and yet big artists like Elton John, David Bowie. You know, even Kurt Cobain from Nirvana. They were also very strong business heads. And, and I always try and say that to answer when you're starting out, you have to do that. Unless you're, I think, unless you're like, 17 years old, you've written like, 100 demo songs, they're all incredible. And you're gonna get picked up by major label, then that's the romantic idea, right? That I think it's, I think, then you can, but I mean, even if the minute you have the entrepreneurial flair as well, you're gonna even just dominate harder.

KLB: And a lot of times, you know, with major labels, then the creative aspect gets taken out of the art. Not so much art, right? It's, it is a money machine, you know, which is makes sense, because it's an industry. But a lot of times what I've experienced with artists is that when they are signed, because there's this, everyone wants to be signed by a major label, you know, but I don't, I don't always suggest that. Because if you're truly an artist, and you're creating art for the purpose of creating art, right, you're not doing it for the applause, you're not doing it for, for the glitz and glamour, then if you get signed by any major label, it's likely that that creative aspect and your personal creativity is just going to be taken out of the Yeah, so yeah, I think that's something if, if there are any artists out there listening, they're like, oh, I want to get signed to a major, it's like, oh, that's super romantic and cool sounding. But, um, you know, there is an upside to not being signed by major.

NS: And you don't need to, there's so many tools, you know, what we're doing as well, you know, you can build an independent team around you and have the same success that a major label artists would, and build, I think builds your at your own vision. And then if you get hot enough, they'll come along, and possibly pick you up and be, you know, you know, the petrol on the fire and make things go nuts. So, so speaking about artists and labels that you have or currently work with, is there any particular artists or campaigns that you're the most proud of working with?

KLB: Yeah, thank you for asking that. I mean, I I work, I'm very picky about the artists that I do full service with, because I, you know, for me, music has a message. And a lot of the campaigns that I work with, have to do with social justice, LGBTQ world. Or I should say, community, and it just, that's where the, the beauty of PR comes in. And there are multiple reasons for this, why that's beneficial and why it makes sense and why it helps support, you know, the bigger message of why we're all here, right? It's so there's a lot of really passionate about the subject, because there's so much like, shit out there, and noise. And, you know, music is supposed to create emotion, music moves, people, and music, you know, raise your hand if music has saved your life at one point or another, you know, and, and that's what it is meant to be. And there's so much out there right now that just doesn't have any meaning behind it doesn't have a greater purpose. And so with my clients, you know, when they come to me with something that does, I just kind of jump for joy, because that's why I got there and why I got into the industry in the first place was be able to make a difference and help support people that are making a difference and have a message to share. So, um, specifically, you know, I've worked one of my clients, Maggie Szabo. She works a lot with the LGBTQIA community. And we've done multiple campaigns there, and she's been named, you know, top pride anthem for multiple Versace. She, it’s called “Rebuild” that came out this year. And she's, she's doing the Palm Springs Pride festival here coming up in November and just like some really beautiful things. She, the everyone involved in the making of that music video, part of the community. She's not herself. She's an ally. But that was really special and it got a lot of recognition. It was in Yahoo, it's a queer t, it was in just a lot of really large publications in that community. So that was phenomenal. Another one that I'm working on that has been just such a joy to be involved with is called “The Listening.” And it's actually a choral project and it's for your, for your Grammy consideration this year. But yeah, and it's a social justice choral piece. And it's by my client Cheryl B Engelhardt. And it also features Donzaleigh Abernathy, who's the goddaughter of Martin Luther King, Jr. So, I've been blessed to do a number of, sit in a number of interviews, Harper's Bazaar, Metro UK, your web, LGBTQ Nation, huge publications. And listen to this woman, Donzaleigh, talking about her path past and being you know, at Mark, Dr. King's I Have a Dream speech and walking with him from the Selma to Montgomery march and just these beautiful stories and, and terrible stories to they've just moved me to tears and the fact that Cheryl was able to create this piece that can tell this story, and involves such important, you know, members, the people of society in that have, whose families her father is Reverend Ralph David Abernathy, who I've seen the petition he signed the petition that made Martin Luther King Day. So you know, so it's just a really, yeah, a really beautiful thing. So that's been absolutely amazing. Cheryl's an incredible composer. And then one that I adjusted also is for Dallas String Quartet. They're like an electric quartet, they are amazing. If you listen to Pandora study stations, you've heard them, um, they just released a collaboration with the Piano Guys, which are also huge, and are on those same same types of stations. So that was super fun. And, yeah, really,

NS: Wow, that really does tie in with what you're saying earlier about wanting to work with artists that have got a message to share, as well. And I think, you know, if anybody that's, you know, for anybody that's listening, it is so important to figure out what your story is. And I think, you know, that is essential for PR. So for what you're doing, if that doesn't exist, you know, you you can't, your hands are tied, you can't really do your job, or you have to try and you have to try and invent it for them. And then if you're trying to invent it for them, it's not very genuine, and people will just see through that these days. So yeah, I and I think everybody does have a have a story, there is a reason. It's just some, they just have to think about what it is. And even if that story might be something that isn't necessarily like world changing, even if they're like, I just want to play music to make everybody dance and feel happy. I think there's still a great message.

KLB: Definitely, I'd say you're right, though it is exceptionally important to be able to tie yourself into a larger picture, I guess. So with your story. You know, that's one of my think you as you're planning to ask later. Something about, you know, what makes a PR campaign the most successful or something along those lines. And you know, when you can tie your story into a larger theme, like the LGBTQ community, because you're actually doing something positive, right. And creating change or social justice, like the two campaigns that I just mentioned, or anything else that you're passionate about. Maybe it's health and wellness, maybe it's you know, there's so many avenues when you can tie yourself into those stories, and it makes sense. You can't be like you said, it needs to be very authentic, otherwise, no one's gonna pick it up. But when that magical time comes and it makes sense, then all of these beautiful doors start opening and and that's when a PR campaign can really make a difference and move the needle for your career as an artist.

NS: So do you think as a as an artist, you should be any artists out there, if they sort of, you know, they're just writing music for themselves at the moment. And you know, maybe they have a small fan base, and it's just the music that they like that while they shouldn't necessarily go, right, I need to jump on a better popular bandwagon and attach myself to that. They should just be thinking about what's important to them and thinking, how can I weave that into the future of my career? So that on the lookout for having something like that, or do you think as an artist, you can actually just, you can still get PR and be a successful artist without tying yourself into a bigger story?

KLB: Oh, sure, you can, I mean, it all starts with the music, right? That's the first and foremost, it's the music. So, um, you know, it goes both ways. I think. Both are great. You know, you can't you you can't start with festival. Say that again.

NS: So you have to grab Music start with like, as well?

KLB: And you can't, and you can't in authentically insert yourself into a different narrative, right? So um, you know, the best place to start is to actually have your own personal story, because you never know when something's gonna happen in pop culture, or in the mass media or anything like that, that makes sense for you. But that, that doesn't arise for every artist, and it doesn't make sense for every artist, right? So you don't want to just push yourself into it. You if it? If it makes sense, then phenomenal. But if it doesn't, then it's not your place. To to do it. And that's okay. Because it's about your music. And it's about telling your story.

NS: Yeah. So I guess, you know, my, this sort of leads? Well, on to my next question, because I think we've, you know, what, the quick, what I want to ask is what trends you find in working for artists labels to get the story across today. And, you know, I guess we've already touched on weaving your story in with a with a bigger picture. And I guess, you know, that's working as well, is, aside from that, is there anything else that you know, that's working these days for us to get the story across?

KLB: So that's the question I was thinking of. Please, but you know, I don't think it's so much trends, I think it's how you approach PR, and, you know, the trend of doing mass email blasts is not a good luck, you know, so it's like actually thinking about how you can thoughtfully pitch writers who, you know, would be interested in your music. So, you know, you're researching, and you're making sure that you're pitching the person@edm.com, for example, that likes your type of music, and you know, what they cover? So do they do interviews? Do they do premieres? What's a past article about an a write about an artist that's similar to you, that would make sense for them to write about you, right? So it's like really doing your research. PR takes a lot of time. So you know, that's why people hire publicists, because it takes a lot of time. But that's when you're actually going to get the most results. And yeah, I don't think it's really about trends, per se, when it comes to, to PR, because you don't want to be a part of a trend unless it's something that takes off. And immediately you jump on the bandwagon, right? And you're like, and it makes sense, like if there's something with TikTok or something along those lines, but you don't want to be a part of a trend because you want to stand out.

NS: Because you're a part of a trend, everyone's doing it like the Ice Bucket Challenge. You're not going to stand out because everybody's doing that challenge.

KLB: Exactly. The trend, that's different. That's true.

NS: I think as well, you sort of started starting to touch on you know what, yeah, what is good PR practice as well. And at some of the things you were saying there, I was thinking sounds so similar, like, you know, we have a PR course inside The Label Machine. And I feel like our methods are probably very parallel. But you know, so you have been talking about, you know, someone doing their own PR DIY. Now, you offer both PR services, and a PR course, which seems to be a conflict of interests. So how does how does that work together? You know, if someone had, you know, to look at both sides, and they've got an easier option, how are you going to kind of guide them through that side?

KLB: Yeah, that's a great question. I've gotten asked that a lot. You know, or I've gotten publicists mad at me, because, um, no, you know, people that want to do their own PR, typically don't have the budget, and that's okay. You know, that's why these resources are out there, people that do have the budget are backed by an investor backed by a major label, they don't want to do their own PR, because they don't have time potentially. Or they can pay someone to do it. Right. That's just like, the truth of the matter. Because PR is really, it takes a lot, you know, you really have to dedicate yourself, I have a coaching client, her name is Phoenix, she is absolute, she could go get hired by a publicity firm. Now, you know, I've been working with her for the past few months. And she just released her second single, I believe. And she made doing PR for her previous two singles, which will lead into an album, basically her full time job, you know, she has like three other jobs that she's doing as well, as she's badass. But she just dedicated the time to this, but it took a lot of time, right. So if that's something and I think it's brilliant for artists to be able to do that, because then then they understand the PR process. Because a huge piece about, you know, the disconnect between publicists and artists is that the artist doesn't understand what actually goes into the PR process, I posted a really silly thing on my Instagram story yesterday, Taylor Swift, like with her glasses, like bring him down. And I think the caption is, your client signed two days ago and calls you today and asks why they don't have any placements. And that's an example of the disconnect. You know, it's like PR takes a lot of time and thoughtfulness that goes into it. And, and when an artist understands how to do it themselves, that can number one, make sure that when they're ready to hire a publicist, they know where their money is going. And they're able to hire the publicist that makes the most sense for them. Because, you know, one publicist might be great for this release. But it's not great for this artist over here. And this, this release, right? So it just gives the artists so much more education, to be able to make smart decisions for their career, and to be able to know, just the basis of where their money is going, and how they can get their own articles written, you know, this woman via she's gotten. I don't even like her success rate. Anomaly. She's incredible. And so yeah, I just, there's no, there has not been any sort of conflict, because the people that want to hire me, or hire a publicist, they don't want to spend the time on this. And the people that want to spend the time on it, they're aware of the commitment that that takes, and they want that education, and they want to empower themselves with that education. So I just and they're totally different price points, obviously. So yeah, no, no conflict. But I do provide, I think something that is really different about the service when I do provide full services. So full, full PR, to the client, I also include the Academy because I want to continue to educate the person, if they're willing, if they want to be educated about the process. You know, I'm happy to do that, as opposed to just, you know, here's our month sprint campaign, and then I'll see you later. And when you pay again, you know, then we can talk. That's not how I roll, no.

NS: Well, from a from a label’s point of view. So listening to talk through all that as well. So if you're a label, and you've got a bunch of artists, you're releasing every couple of weeks, it would make sense for you to know how to do your own PR in house, because you'll be doing especially if you're a label that does a particular style of music, and you're going to be wanting to reach out to the same kind of publications, it makes sense to build those relationships up, you know, a because it's, you know, it's going to be cheaper for you in the long term, rather than hiring a publicist for all of them. But, you know, I think with your model, they could come in, learn how to do it themselves, hey, we've actually got a big album coming up, and we've got a budget, we'll get you to do the full service on this and get that kind of extra layer and, and you know, and it's and I guess it's going to be really easy to then work with you. Because you already told them the whole process and how it works. They're going to be you're not going to have to educate them and be like, No, you're like the images you need to be of this resolution. You know, you're not educating them on all these like bits and pieces and They need to seemed over and you know, they'll understand that there's going to be the story which, which I guess is going to make the whole campaigns a lot more successful.

KLB: Exactly. Absolutely.

NS: So do you think you can have in today's day and age a successful career without traditional PR?

KLB: Yeah, I mean, yes, you can it once your quote unquote, “successful,” you know, whatever that means to you, the PR comes with it. Like, if you're reaching massive audiences, you're gonna get inbound requests for articles, and for interviews and such. So, yeah, artists can definitely do that.

NS: But what you're saying is, you have to get to that point first. So it's like the seesaw changes, when you're at the beginning your career, you got to be pushing it. And then it was so early, you'll be so vague than then they just start sort of coming in?

KLB: Yeah, exactly. It's like, if you're Apple, you know, you're getting stuff brought to you all the time. If you're, you know, trying to, to make your way up there, you know, you are presenting your, your product, your, your art to them and hoping that they will latch on. So yeah, there's definitely an there are two ways to look at it. Because a lot of times, you know, if someone is just as beginning of their career, and they want hire me, I usually say no, you know, this isn't the right time for you to do PR, because it just doesn't make sense. Typically, a publicist should be supporting the opportunities that are already created created by your career, there are other situations where it can still be really helpful for us to send out pitches because then we're getting your name out there. And so that is also a very important part of PR, but the, you know, there's going to be a point in your career, that you can't physically manage all of these things yourself, right. So if you're getting inbound enquiries, you need someone to just handle this stuff. And then obviously, send out information when you have new releases coming out and make sure that all the key people have the information and can post about it and all that stuff. But NPR does help build that. When you're just starting out, you know, you can get your I always like to tell when I bring on new clients, you know, PR is not the thing that is going to make you break, right? So I'm going to make you most likely will not make you go viral. If anyone tells you it's gonna make you go viral, you're going to run the opposite direction, because that's just not how you can't plan that type of thing. But it does help support your career. And yeah, it there are ways that it will get your get your brand out there in ways that they just are not possible without the help of a third party, right? Or at least, I should say, the third party processes, right. So that's why it's also important if you learn how to do it yourself. I have I started this company, honestly, I'll be super transparent without any contacts in music, PR. Okay. So when I started doing this, I was trailblazing everything. And it was I remember, I went to meet them in France and National Music Business Conference. And I was speaking I was trying to find all the like, do all the mentor sessions and such and I spoke with this woman, she's publicist in England, she was like, What are you doing? To go find a job like this is? So this is like so hard? Why would you try to do this yourself? I was like, No, I'm gonna do it. My dad was an entrepreneur, like I'm like I have, in my soul, I have to do this. So point being is that I was able to trailblaze all of my own contacts, right? I didn't, I was not a part of a major label. I'm not bringing my contacts from a major label to this company. It was all done by me. And that means that artists can do that themselves as well. And I've coached many independent artists to be able to do these things themselves without the support of a major label. So

NS: I see what you're saying, you've gone through the process from starting from scratch, and you know how to do it. So you can teach other people to do exactly there, rather than because otherwise, how would you teach someone if you got all your contacts because you worked in a big PR firm? Right? The only way to teach them is like, Well, you got to go work in a PR firm.

KLB: Exactly. And they don't want to do that. Tell you that right now. A massive PR firm. But yeah, so you know, there, it's all it's, I think this is totally going away from your your original question. But it, it's, it's not easy it takes time, but it is so worth it once you are able to trailblaze these, these contacts and they can really help support your career as an artist.

NS: What would you say to an artist? What advice would you give to an artist that came to you and want to full service in? You? They're not really in their career? What advice would you give them? To get to the point that they would be pretty?

KLB: Well, I would tell them to take the academy!

NS: Anything else?

KLB: Yeah, no. And that, you know, I'm, I'm pretty forward in the academy with other promotional things, right, because it's not all about PR. It's also about paid ads, it's about, you know, just other ways of, of promoting your brand, whatever that is. And that doesn't all come down to articles being written about you. So it's just really important to learn about all those different ways that you can, can get your music to the right audience, what I would say initially is identify to be able to get to that place identify exactly where your audience is, right? So who are the people, because you're not try, don't try to reach the masses, right? And just take that off the table. Initially, when you're starting out, you want to find a niche of people, because that's what how you can actually find like, whether it's Facebook communities, or you know, reaching out to people on Instagram, or, or TikTok or whatever it is, you know, you want to niche your niche, I think is the like entrepreneurial team term of like, you want to make it as specific as possible, because all you need is 1000 Raise raving fans, right? Yeah. And, and when that happens, you have people that are there for you for life. Think about your own Spotify habits, right? Are you when you're listening to a playlist? How frequently are you fine? Are you hearing something in the background, and then saving it to your playlist happens every once in a while for sure. But a lot, a majority of us are listening passively on Spotify. So those people are not your raving fans, right? So what your job as an artist, when you're just starting out, is to figure out where you're going to go to find those raving artists. So those are the people that would be interested in your music, and will be passionate about you as an artist. And you know, then PR comes in, and then you can find the publications that are in that niche, and reach out to those writers and then get placements in those publications. And that can help support the idea of finding these 1000 raving fans.

NS: Um, rookie mistakes, what are some rookie mistakes or common problems that you see over and over again, with new or early career artists?

KLB: Yeah, my biggest one is time, I got a lot of artists reaching out to me about PR campaigns after they've already released music. And unfortunately, that doesn't work. In the music industry, it just, it has to be timely. And when it when the what we call newsworthy or press worthy part of the equation is the release date, then it has to be the all the PR usually happens around the release date. So I start a campaign four to six weeks prior to the release date. And so if someone comes to me two weeks before, you know, I can't really do anything, if people come to me afterwards, it just doesn't make sense. It's not a good place for them to be putting their money.

"I got a lot of artists reaching out to me about PR campaigns after they've already released music. And unfortunately, that doesn't work. In the music industry, it just, it has to be timely."

NS: Yeah, that leads into well, so like how would you run a typical, a single release campaign with a six week lead time?

KLB: That's a loaded question.

NS: So first of all, do you think six weeks is long enough? Or would you you know, would you well, in an ideal world, how much time do you think you would need if you're doing full service?

KLB: Yeah, I would say four to six weeks. It depends if it's a new client that I've never worked with. If it is, then I definitely want six weeks because I want to look at their bio, I want to look at all their assets and make sure you know we're building a new list and we're just getting prepared basically and getting to know the clients voice. So in that case, guest six weeks is great if it's a client that I've had on my roster for a long time. I can usually do it within a month. It's tricky, though, because when you're working with writers, there's so much competition right now. Right? You, what they have is called an editorial calendar. So if their editorial calendar is full, which is what articles are coming out, when at what time, you know, then you've missed your opportunity, and they just don't have time to write about your music. So if that were to happen, then you're just kind of shit out of luck, because you started too late. And that's the thing that you don't want to start too early.

NS: Yeah, yeah, exactly.

KLB: So yeah, I say four to six weeks is a good sweet spot. For a single for sure.

NS: So talk us through, like, what happens on six weeks before? What do you do? What do you do then on the five weeks before four weeks, you know, sort of an overview?

KLB: Yeah, well, like I said, previously, with finding your audience, that's what you want to think about, when you're building your list, or of media right there, you're going to reach out to. So the biggest thing that you need, this is like your Bible, for lack of a better term is your list, your media list. So you're just researching, you're spending a good amount of time finding the writers that would be interested in covering your music, specifically, right? Don't reach out to somebody, a Billboard just because their writer at Billboard, right, you need to find the person. Um, and so that's the biggest thing, that's where you're spending a lot of your time upfront doing and you're making notes, you're like, This person wrote about this artist, and this is why I think they'd be interested in my music. And, you know, if you have an album coming out, it's like, this person might be interested in this song, but not this song, you know, and, and just, like, get to know them, like, really, you know, build before you. And if you have the opportunity, start building that relationship with them on social media, some are some writers have private profiles. And if they do, leave them alone, you just like respect their privacy, not full stop. But if they have public profiles, then you can start interacting and engaging with them authentically, of course, on social media and, and commenting and then building that relationship, you can do that, so that the first time you reach out to them is not to ask them for something that is going to be really important for you. That's not always possible, but you're giving yourself ample time, then it's definitely a possibility.

NS: So you found you found your 15 people, and you've started following, and they support artists that release Bruce's music to you, you're following them on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, you're retweeting, commenting on their stuff on Twitter. So they're kind of hopefully seeing you're kind of, you know, your reactions coming up. And you're, you've done that over three weeks, you've got three weeks left, what's the net? What are the next steps?

KLB: Well, I would initially reach out to them via email at four weeks, personally, and I will something that you mentioned, I would say numbers wise, have at least 50 to 100 people on your list.

NS: 50 to 100 people on your list. Wow. Okay.

KLB: Because there's just, I mean, you're gonna not get responses from a fair amount of people. And that's just how it is publicists deal with that, too. And that's okay. So just like, prep yourself with that now and that's, it's just part of the process. And, you know, there's a whole follow up process, a lot of my results come from the follow up. But part of it's a numbers game, you know, because you do need the person to actually, even if you have an absolutely killer pitch, you need them to answer to open your email initially, right? And sometimes that doesn't happen. Follow up certainly help. But you do want to give yourself enough people to give yourself a good chance at that happening. So,

NS: I mean, I can you know what, I mean, I guess everybody takes a holiday right throughout the year. You know, there's like, 365 days of the year, three weeks, as people aren't gonna you got 100 people. There's a portion of those people most likely when you reach out there on holiday, and you're never going to get a response. So yeah, I see what you say it's a numbers game almost. So you want to get a list. So get 100 people, and then you're four weeks before you're sending out individually emails?

KLB: Yeah, yeah, individual emails.

NS: That's the time thing, isn't it? You're essentially writing 100 emails, 100 personal emails, and you're saying, Hey, I, you know, I loved the article you wrote on your blog or something like, it's, yeah, it's gonna take you half an hour for each one of those, that's a lot of time.

KLB: A lot of time. And you know, you'll get faster at it as it as the time goes on. And you'll have certain stuff in your email that is just sort of a template, like, you know, that you're going to be including your socials or you know, whatever it is, um, but yeah, you're definitely personalizing each one and in a certain capacity. So it's a lot of time. That's what that's why I said, a lot of people hire someone, because the time that it requires.

NS: If anyone uses Gmail, I discovered a year ago that Gmail has a template saver built into it, you can go into your, you can go into the settings and say, switch it on. And then you can just go I mean, I've got a whole bunch of them now, whatever. Sponsors, and I'm like, and it's just got the whole team play, you just go New, and build it. It's called. I always my is my mascot. Yeah, I had the three little dots and it goes templates. And then I've got insert templates, save draft as templates, or delete templates, and they're all in there, and it comes up, puts the subject line, whatever your subject line template is, and whatever your whatever the message is. It's amazing. It's saved me so much time because I reached you know, I reached out to people as well, I'm when I reached out to you. So when I reached out to you the email about “hey, do you want to come on the podcast?” That was a template.

KLB: Beautiful. Thank you for teaching me this. On Outlook, you can do like the send again button, right? But then you have to like change things and whatever, which is fine. But I don't use Outlook. Yeah, by choice. And so yeah, that's great. I use Gmail. Thank you.

NS: So we're just watching time. Right, I'm going to I'm going to jump on to some sort of selling music trends. Now I do I do know you work in PR, but I think some of these questions are going to be relevant to what you're doing. So I know you do a Spotify playlist with Spotify. What have you been finding works well, recently with getting artists on Spotify playlists?

KLB: On official playlists, like the official Spotify curator playlist?

NS: Not so much the curated playlists, because I know so much of that is algorithmic, driven by algorithms. And you know, it's just about making sure you're doing an amazing promotion campaign across everything you're doing PR, you're doing your pay PR and etc, I guess to get on the curated playlists, you know, if you're, if your aim is to get on as many of those have you ever, is there any techniques or anything you found that works with getting on those are any kind of trick tricks or hacks?

KLB: Yeah, I mean, first of all, I would say that, you know, that can be a really dicey game, the, what you need to do as an artist is do your due diligence, and make sure that the curators that you're reaching out to or that you're speaking to, are legit, and they're not using bots, because a lot of them do and if, if you all of a sudden have hundreds of 1000s of streams randomly in their bots that can get you in trouble with the Spotify algorithm. So you really want to be careful there. As far as pitching, make it as short and sweet as possible. So a PR pitch needs to include your story. A Spotify pitch does not. It can include, you know, selling points, like selling talking points like this. The previous release had 500,000 streams, or was placed on Spotify as official cardio playlist or something like that things quick, quick tidbits that catch the person's eye. But yeah, you definitely don't want it to be a novel, which you don't try to be a novel either. But Spotify you have, you have the right to make just like super short and concise you want to include the Spotify or the link. What's great about Spotify is that the you don't need to pitch a month prior to the release. Because there's so much happening within that time frame that the your email just get pushed aside right. You want it to be the week of release or After release, and and in this case, you can do that type of promotion after it's released, whereas PR, you can't. So I'd also be really just be careful with a lot of them are paid.

NS: So you're talking or you're just talking about the, these companies that you see Instagram feed that are like, hey, we'll work, you know, pay $100. And we'll, we'll pitch it to we'll get on X amount of playlists. So you're sort of saying be careful of those. Because I personally, like run away from those ones. I'm like, those are definitely bots. Are you talking about even just other just genuine, independent, curated playlists?

KLB: Yeah, well, the thing I was actually talking to a client about this yesterday. It's become a business, right? So it's really rare that you'll find a Spotify curator and independent Spotify curator who doesn't charge or maybe it's via submit hub or, or some other, you know, thing, which they're still getting paid in some way, shape or form through those. It's just different. You're not actually paying them.

NS: Yeah. Oh, it doesn't go against Spotify Terms and Conditions.

KLB: Yeah, Spotify is trying to really make that no, I got out of the Spotify game for quite a while, because I was really frustrated with where it was going. I felt like it was really disingenuine to the industry. Because everything, you know, I would reach I'd spend hours researching these playlists that are perfect for my clients, and then the person would come back to me with you know, it's gonna cost you this amount of money. And like…

NS: Isn’t this supposed to be because you like the music?

KLB: Yeah, exactly. And so that was really frustrating. And, and then I came across some that were actually really a, you know, a reggae playlist, for example, that just is, absolutely, there are no bots involved. Because I've been a fan of the playlist for a long time. I know, it's super, super legit. And, you know, it's all like local to Hawaii are very, like very niche. And they still charge a nominal, but still a fee. So, yeah, Spotify, I think in the past couple of weeks, they've made it a big deal about paying third parties for for playlisting. So, you know, that's an enter at your own risk. I don't against those terms and conditions.

NS: It's interesting, what you're saying, because you're, I think you're the third person in the last couple of weeks, who has mentioned that they sort of don't, you know, not focusing on the Spotify playlist game and kind of stepping away, and for various reasons. And, and, you know, I think, you know, and I think even when I add, this is a question I've been asking for a year, and I actually am beginning to think it's, it's not the end all be all. And, yeah, maybe it shouldn't be such a focus. Now, because people are trying to charge for it, it is a bit of a game. And I guess, if you do all the other parts of your promotion properly, well, then you'll get picked up by the Spotify algorithm anyway. And if your musics great, and it's getting played on those playlists, well, the other big playlists will see that and go, “Hey, that's a great song” and edit organically anyway. And I guess that's how you keep it, I guess you keep it more real on Spotify that way.

KLB: So you know, if you just that's why I really support the idea of single releases, because you know, I love the full concept album, absolutely. But if you're an independent artist, and you're just starting out, or you are working really hard to keep those numbers consistently consistent, if you release an album, then you're likely not going to be releasing new music for the next, you know, however many months or however long and then that'll cause any traction that you gained with your album release to just and so you want to avoid that in the way that you can do that is by continuously creating momentum by releasing singles.

NS: Agree. I mean, and, uh, you know, in the electronic world where I've spent a lot of my time it's just as a standard, you just released singles, you do remixes, which are essentially like a remix single, maybe EP’s, the occasional like three or four track EP, and you do that for for five years. And then you release an album. And all the artists I've worked with a bit of you know, they've gone on and been really successful. That's, that's the model I've used. So go on.

KLB: Oh, go ahead. Go ahead.

NS: No, no, I was just gonna say I don't know whether it's just the way, the electronic industry just kind of works. Because they do see in a more indie rock singer songwriter, they have this, like, I'm gonna record this album, and they have all that and then they're like, Oh, now I have this album. And now I kind of want to release it. And yeah, and it just doesn't sell because they haven't been building up the audience with loads of singles.

KLB: I feel like there's a sort of a story arc more so with a lot of like the indie rock and that type of vibe with that it's more just like, the single is all that's needed. You know, it's not a full fledged story. I'm a big fan of, of EDM music and I just have to do a shameless plug for one of my clients who is the featured artist on the next Morgan Page song, Maggie Szabo. You familiar with Morgan?

NS: Yes, yeah.

KLB: Um, so that it's called Sweet illusion. And it's coming out on November 5th. So sweet. My other plans? Yeah. Oh, I should have mentioned him actually, in one of the the campaigns that I just absolutely loved. His name's Ellis Miah. And he's a songwriter. He's a platinum songwriter. He wrote on the last BTS album. And he is he was also the DJ at my wedding because he's super sweet and is a great friend. And he made that sacrifice for me. Um, but he, yeah, he's one of the songwriters also on that Morgan Page release. So pre save it. Listen to it. It's awesome. I'm really excited.

NS: I will, I definitely well. So, goodness, me, you. Good one for you. Blogs. Are they still relevant?

KLB: Yeah, I mean, what's the difference between a publication and a blog?

NS: What is the difference between a blog and a publication?

KLB: They all kind of merge. See, you know, it depends on what, obviously a publication would be billboard, it would be music connection would be people that have editorial staffs, you know that then, you know, like, the song is sick, was started. Are you familiar with the song is amazing? Yeah. Yeah. So I went to school with Nick, the guy that created it in Greeley, Colorado, farm town, and it started as a blog. Right. And now it's a huge, you know, you would call it a publication, but it was originally it's a blog, you know.

NS: I had stuff published on there years ago, like, you know, because there's a big supporter of like, a lot of the early EDM stuff I was involved in. Yeah, I do know, you mean, that publication blog thing is, is getting very blurred? Because, because there's no physical publications as such, if it's all digital, they sort of are the same. It's I guess, it's whether or not they were a junior publication, maybe or whether they have editorial stuff as a difference.

KLB: Yeah, like I wouldn't, I would never call billboard a blog, right, even though they do have a digital publication as well as print but you know, but But yeah, they're when it comes to like, the more like EDM joy or EDM identity or any of those are or you know, we're in such a world of influencers and influencers, sometimes have blogs, you know, and they have massive followings. So I wouldn't call those publications. But I think they can be not interchangeable. But the purpose is the same. The purpose is that they have a large audience and you're getting your music featured by that publication or blog. And that's the point of PR, because using yourself into in front of a new audience or utilizing the blogger publications audience.

NS: Yeah. I think it also does as well, it does give you bragging rights as well, like, Hey, I just got featured on this blog. And you do like a little Instagram Stories post about it. It you know, it shows to your existing fans, and any new ones. Oh, wow. An independent person supporting them, like they must be doing well. And then I think as well, you can sort of add that to your just general story, isn't it when you're speaking to anybody in the industry? They're like, okay, cool. You're getting featured, whether or not you're working with a publicist to get that happen. But if you are that means you're investing in a major serious about your career. I think that should be shouldn't be overlooked either.

KLB: No, you're completely absolutely 100% Spot on there. It does give you humble bragging rights. You know, it's like, because it's human nature that if someone else is speaking about your music, it's going to give the like third parties, the people watching. They're going to be more interested because social proofing Yeah, it's social proof. It's like If someone else is talking about your music, it's not just you talking about how great your music is. So, yeah, there's definitely it helps build your credibility, it helps build your story. It's a great talking point. A lot of good stuff.

"As far as pitching, make it as short and sweet as possible. So a PR pitch needs to include your story. A Spotify pitch does not."

NS: When it comes to social media, for your clients, what platforms and you know, let's keep this to the last six months. Are you finding you're getting the best response? You know, across YouTube, SoundCloud, TikTok, Twitter, Instagram? Snap?

KLB: Yeah, I mean, it depends on the client. So if it's Dallas String Quartet who they have a lot of people on Facebook still, you know, then you want to spend time on Facebook. They're probably the only client I have right now that I would say, you know, like really drive home on Facebook. Instagram, definitely. TikTok is the other one that is really, it seems to be making quite a splash for people. And TikTok campaigns and all the influencer campaigns and stuff. That's a whole another topic of conversation.

NS: I just, I just launched one last month. And yeah, I just spoke to a few people. And I just realized it's gonna be one of those things that like, because I think I didn't get an Instagram one for a while because it's another platform. Another Yeah. And then I was like, I should have done that age. When I set it up as I should have done this ages ago. And I thought you know what, with TikTok, I think I'm going to be the same but it did it took a few months to figure out what I'm actually going to kind of do and say on there. And and I do it through The Label Machine as well. It's on a personal one. And you know, and I just basically give like quick tips on stuff, you know, three great websites to do stuff and, and yeah, and we get some we the interactions we get are so much higher than what we get on Instagram at the moment, which is great.

KLB: Maybe I’ll do that. You know, I've been flirting with that idea but because I watch things on TikTok, but I don't I've never like created so maybe maybe you're inspiring me to do.

NS: Yeah, look at Rebecca Smart Bakken. She's, she was a sort of one that sort of convinced me to go over. And, and you know, and I've one of my team members has sort of gone out. And once we sort of figured out what the story was, and you know, just giving like, quick tip type things and cool websites that are cool tools. You know, we're just gone, where he's just gone off and created this massive list for me, and it's just an Excel spreadsheet. And so I just pull up my phone and go, Okay, what am I doing, right? And I started to do it to Cameron. Brilliant. And they said, and it's just like, he put some music underneath it. And it's done. And it's and then also repurposing any other content on YouTube and stuff getting a little tidbit. So I'll see how it goes. You know, I'll see how it goes.

KLB:
@thelabelmachine?

NS: Yeah, just
@thelabelmachine. Yeah. Yeah, I'll check. So yeah, um, so yeah. So I interjected with the kind of TikTok conversation. Yeah. And so I guess you're saying TikTok, Instagram, others, a lot of people are saying is sort of the best place for music these days at the moment. With paid advertising, do you do use? I think you said you help clients do that? I mean, do you help them directly? Or do you sort of whether you do or don't? What have you been finding works recently to kind of get the message out?

KLB: Yeah, I tend to oversee what's happening with their advertising. I don't really do it on a couple people. But that's not like one of my offerings. But what do I see? I see Facebook and Instagram, who are, you know, one, one massive company now?

NS: Facebook and Instagram ads? I mean, I guess is there been a campaign in the last six months? That that you know, that you can sort of like what the strategy that they use that you thought worked really well?

KLB: Yeah, I think growing your email list is the best strategy and doing that with paid. Paid Facebook and Instagram ads seems to work really well. I've seen artists, you know, spend 2000 make 10,000 type of…

NS: What are they doing specifically like, are they just saying, Hey, give me your email address, like what? What's the what's the call to action?

KLB: They're providing some sort of value. So that will depend on the artist, whether it's, you know, swag, or, or a free behind the scenes look into the making of their music video that nobody else has or something like that. That's digital that can just be automatically emailed to the automations. But it needs to be something holds a lot of value. So, and if you're doing ads, then it can be something that holds value to people that aren't necessarily your fans yet, right? So that can be challenging too, so there's, for each artist is different. And there are, there's a strategy that you need to really think about and create before going about this. But I'm a big fan of email gathering emails, because say, there's a huge tech blackout, and Facebook goes under, and we have no Facebook or Instagram tomorrow, you know? Where are your fans?

NS: I'm just, I just bang on about it constantly to everybody in The Label Machine hours, build up your email list, I can't recommend it enough labels as well, like all the successful labels, I've worked with big a huge, like, over over 250,000 emails, like minimum. And you know, that's the kind of database they've got when they're emailing stuff. And that's how when they do merch drops, or they want people to go and you know, they want to especially try music, they want something to chat on beatport you know, they just send out that email. I can't stress it enough. But you know, the challenge, and that's why I asked the question, because the challenge is, you know, what, can you give a value to a someone that isn't your fan yet? To give you an email address? You know, that's yeah, I guess there isn't a kind of one once one answer for that. But yeah, I think that is the challenge, and you need to find out.

KLB: Yeah, and you know, maybe it's something to do around the holiday. Maybe it's like, here's a Black Friday gift that you can give to your mom. You know, like something that but yeah, and it's not a one stop shop. That's something that you really just have to come up with that has to do with your personal brand.

NS: I'm actually having in the next week, I've got one of my clients SIREN. And we were trying to figure out what that kind of digital thing is that we can give away.

KLB: NFT’s are all the rage, right?

NS: Yes, yeah, I'm, I'm watching it closely. I've got a bit of crypto myself.

KLB: When did you get in?

NS: Years ago, I've had Bitcoin for a while. So I've been quite lucky when I did that, like peak thing recently, which has been great. So I've got some nice capital there. But yeah, I've been watching the DeFi, the kind of more working in that place. It's so I work in film as well. I have a film production company First Flights, and we're looking to do crowd funding with crypto. And the rewards are NFT's. So we're setting up a platform for that as well. So and that's just a recent thing. So I'm actually just kind of getting into this rabbit hole of it all now and reading a lot of things watching our YouTube videos. So any years time we can have a good another conversation and I'll probably be far more knowledgeable on it.

KLB: Oh, I'm obsessed. And I got into crypto. I got into bitcoin when I think it was 5000.

NS: Wow.

KLB: So I've been obsessed for years.

NS: Well, this summer I was I was maybe it was about I think I got about six, seven. So yeah, not far off.

KLB: Same time timeframe ish. And I wish I put more money. We all do. But how would we have known? You know,

NS: I didn't have the money to be honest.

KLB: Right? No, totally, totally. Yeah, it's wild. But I mean, I've had going to your point about NFT's it's a really interesting, I don't I'm not an expert in it by any means. But I have clients who are working with artists that are, you know, creating NFT's and waking up with $150,000 in sales in the next morning, you know, so like, wildly successful.

NS: These artists already got a fan base? I think that's the key thing. I think if you are listening, and you're starting out, NFT's are not for you, it's another It's like another way the world successful ones people have already got an audience and their audience. I mean, we did a poll yesterday on a webinar for it was a webinar for filmmakers. And there was just under 100 people on there and I said how many people have got crypto? And it was about 25% of the people said they did? And I was like wow, okay, so if I was a filmmaker, and I had an audience of 10,000 people, out of those 10,000 people, probably about two two and a half 1000 People have got crypto, they're gonna want a day they're going to be able to buy an NFT for me, and that's how it's gonna work. And I think that's really important to remember.

KLB: You're right though. Having a fan base initially is going to be really important.

NS: Awesome. Well, I mean, I could keep asking you so many questions, I think we could keep talking. I'm gonna wrap it up. So where's the best place to find you as well, what's what the website which is hang on, I've written this down, I should be able to say it's
diyprgroup.com. is where you can find everything. And if that's if you want the full spectrum, PR spectrum, for those between PR. Yeah. And also, if you go to the, on the offers, you've got there as well on the DIY course, if you use the code TLM, you can get 25% off. So thank you so much for that.

KLB: Let me just say that's because that's a different website. The academy is different. So
diymusicpracademy.com.

NS: Gotcha. If you go to the main website and go to services, it's listed on your menu, if you click on that, it takes you to the new website.

KLB: Oh, you're right. Okay, thank you.

NS: Yeah, you go to the main website, go to services, you can you can go to the program, the DIY program, get 25% Off with code TLM. And I believe there's also a, you've got another free download as well to tell us about it.

KLB: Yeah, for sure. If you are interested in sending pitches, you know, the free download that I created is it has the top 10 things of what you want to include in your email pitch. Because there are certain things that you know, you want to absolutely include or that will make you appear professional, right. So whether you have a publicist or not, you want to present yourself in a professional manner. So these are the things that you want to include. And you can have that for free at diymusicpracademy.com/pitch.

NS: Awesome. And I'll put those links in the show notes as well to comment.

KLB: And connect with me on Instagram too, I would love to chat with you. It's
@kayteelongbecker. So lots of places, but I would love to continue the conversation. Awesome.

NS: Thank you again so much. I really really enjoyed this. I mean, I think PR is maybe a little bit of a passion of mine. Maybe in another life I might have been a PR... So yeah, super insightful. Thank you so much.

KLB: Thank you, Nick. It was lovely chatting with you. And yeah, and love, love the show and the podcast and really excited to be here. So thank you.

NS: Awesome.


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