Entertainment Business 100: What Have You Done For Me Lately?!
Maybe it’s because I’ve been on social media a lot lately, maybe it’s because I get at least a couple emails and facebook messages a day from the “next big thing.” Either way, I thought I should make it clear to these young artists, producers, authors, even these new-age publicists and managers that the world does not revolve around them and neither does a magazine or blogs business model. Hasn’t been that way for a while now. In fact, these days ask not what you can do for a magazine, figure out why a magazine should even bother to give you a good look. We will have a look on how the entertainment business is not as easy as it seems.
There have been several blasts on my feeds lately about magazines (and blogs) giving artists (we’ll use that umbrella term for everything mentioned above) this terrible treatment in their pursuit of press.
~Treating them like they haven’t accomplished anything special in the industry.
~Treating them like they aren’t any different than the next artist.
~Some editors will even act like they are doing these artists a favor… GASP!
I have taken it upon myself to get a few things straight to help clarify some things for these artists. The music industry is run by people who go to school to learn the business side, people who go to school for degrees in things like business management, marketing and communications. These people then intern and hustle to become experts in their field. The reason? Most artists know exactly NOTHING about the entertainment business . They don’t know what a bio is, much less how to write one. And most haven’t even heard of the term press kit. Artists generally don’t bother to learn about the entertainment business either or hire someone that knows what they’re doing so when it comes time to market themselves the interest from the media is nonexistent from the beginning.
Essentially magazines end up getting emails that are riddled with typos from MC Joe Blow, Pretty P, Lil’ Thugga or Suzie. Usually giving us the ultimate one-liner on why they are the shit! Some will throw on their attached mp3, others will link their soundcloud. Subject line: Magazine Feature. Chances are this email features at least 2 typos, which is probably a complete turn-off to a magazine editor. You tell me why I’d even bother to listen? Would you?
As if that weren’t bad enough most of these artists have no story. No uniqueness. What sets you apart from the other people doing the same thing in your state, your town, on your block and even in your crew? If you can’t tell me why I should listen to you and not the next man than what do you expect me to tell my readers???
Another thing, if you have a “publicist” who can’t help you do these things and get you co-signs, press kits and good looks… then you don’t have a publicist! In the last few years thanks to the internet everyone thinks they can rap, write, manage and do publicity, but each one of those things is an art, which take time to master. I can even agree that some of these blogs are nothing more than glorified trash, because they too haven’t mastered the art of journalism. Publicists have connections, they made friends in the media industry, they know how to network with the media industry, so even if they have an artist that doesn’t have a great story, they can get them the right looks because they know what to say. Keep that in mind when adding people to your team.
The last thing I want to touch on is the misconception that magazines NEED you. At face value, that sounds good. But it’s not nearly accurate. We need good content, great features and great stories. If you can’t help with that, we don’t need you. We need artists that have a following, social media knowledge, a fan base. Chances are, if you have some of the issues we discussed above, you don’t have any of those things in order either! If you do than you’ll give yourself a leg up when talking to magazines because if nothing else they’ll at least know your thousands of fb/twitter fans might click the story and your fans might be checking your next interview. Note, it does say thousands. If you have 150 fb likes… that’s not enough.
For us to NEED you, you have to understand how the magazine business works. People come onto our sites in passing or because they have us bookmarked and they enjoy our content. But they gravitate towards reading stories about people they know. Why do you think Rihanna is in the news every week, even when there is no news to report?! People know her, they’ll read the story regardless. People don’t know you… no need to complete that sentence. Another way magazines and other sites get traffic is through search engines like google, yahoo and bing. Those all generally require people to search your name or your song name in order for them to land on story. Of course there are also sites like WorldStar, VladTV, & DatPiff who have their own unique models. They don’t need you either, but you knew that already. The final way a magazine gets clicks is through social media, posting on our own social media accounts and reposts from the artists, their fans and other people who like the story. This goes back to you getting your social media activity in order.
So, next time you fix your fingers to type something on social media about a blog/magazine and the entertainment business, take a moment to reconsider your position in the industry. Determine if you are in a space where you should be feeling yourself. Analyze if you even deserve a good look. Put yourself in the shoes of that magazine editor or blog owner and ask yourself what they’ll be thinking. What have you done for me lately?! The entertainment business is not as easy as you would think.
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