Why can it also be interesting for musicians who do not (yet) earn big money to look at promotion agencies?
In the following article, we would like to navigate you through the music agency jungle and show you which areas are particularly important for you as an independent musician in this part of the ecosystem (of the music industry). In our experience, the music industry is very complex for most newcomers, sometimes unmanageable and difficult to understand. This is quite understandable when you consider how many stakeholders are involved. Some researchers therefore use the plural "music industries" for this part of the creative industry - precisely because there is no "one music industry".
This cosmos includes music publishers, record companies, promotion agencies (TV, print, radio, online, social media), distribution providers, artist managers, labels or booking agencies, ticketing and merchandising, event technology, (freelance) tour managers, collecting societies, further music agencies and many more. Covering all areas at the same time would go beyond the scope of this article (at this point we would like to refer you to the book All You Need To Know About The Music Business by D. Passman) and our mission is to strengthen "DIY" artists in particular. That's why we focus on a topic that concerns many musicians and will concern you sooner or later: Promotion agencies.
First of all, whether you want to hire someone to take over marketing activities for you, be it social media, booking, merchandising, promotion or other management tasks etc. depends entirely on at what point you currently in your career are and, of course, what your financial situation looks like.
(Music) promotion agencies and their services
In this day and age, it is absolutely necessary for artists to have a digital affinity and to take care of project management in addition to releasing music. This is unavoidable in a professional career. Music promotion is central to this.
Therefore, we would like to give you an insight into the work of promotion agencies and show you what you should consider when you decide to work with an agency.
Promotion agencies in Germany can differ somewhat in their way of working from those in other countries, especially in the USA, also in terms of orientation, as the music markets still function differently in some cases and the focus can be distributed differently.
However, promotion agencies in the music business are usually specialised in these four areas:
- print and online,
- radio and
- social media.
What you end up booking or what you need help with also depends a little on which channels you personally find useful.
- TV promotion is usually the most expensive option, as visibility on TV is still the most powerful of the classic mass media. Also, the frequency of artists is not as high as, for example, in social media, where the competition is growing day by day. Whether you make it into (talk) shows, culture, tabloid or news magazines etc. depends of course on your music, the work of the agency (e.g. scout promotion) and other factors such as the timing or whether the focus of the agency also suits you and your music.
- Print media still play a role in Germany. However, this is decreasing from day to day. Therefore, you have to ask yourself the question here as well: Do you want to be in certain magazines and what benefits does this have for you? Even if you don't massively increase the number of your Spotify followers through such coverage, you could use these articles for your bio on your website for instance. Also, you could put these in your artist profile on Spotify and show that you are serious about your career or relevant in the respective music scene - the keyword here is authenticity.
Taking place online can also be very helpful as people can come across articles when they type your band name, song or album title into search engines. Here, interviews, reviews, tour reports or simple music video posts are of great interest to improve your online presence. Points of contact that agencies approach here are online editors of weekly and daily newspapers, webzines, fanzines, blogs, etc.
- Radio is still an important means of being heard and discovered in Germany. You only have to ask artists who are on rotation or get plays at FluxFm, ByteFm, COSMO or Radio Fritz for example. The financial aspect for musicians is also often underestimated, as you can earn several euros with a single play on the radio, depending on the station. On Spotify, on the other hand, you only get about 0.003 cents for a stream. Of course, it is still important to be present on the streaming platforms, but perhaps your priorities should also lie where you are better positioned financially in case of potential success. Therefore, it is definitely worth considering getting professional support here (such as with Guerilla Music Promotion).
- Social media presence is a topic that all musicians (have to) deal with sooner or later. If you want to be successful today, you have to be in the social media. However, you are probably like most artists: You want to concentrate on making music and not feel like an entrepreneur. This is where a digital agency (such as Dark Arts) comes in. They specialise in social media and can, among other things, create campaigns for you that are specifically geared towards this type of communication.
What do you need to keep in mind when collaborating?
In all of the above, you want to meet experts who are aligned with your goals and vision and know what they are doing. This means that whatever you decide to do, there should be some kind of performance measurement in the form of reporting/feedback. If you are not sure who to approach, simply knock on the door of different agencies and describe your situation, sharing your music, setting realistic goals and discussing with them whether these goals are achievable (there is no guarantee of success anywhere, but certainly a method of measuring it!).
Tip: Get a brief consultation beforehand, preferably without obligation, and make sure you get as much information as possible about the way the agency in question works and reports (time span, pattern, form). If they give you a tight-lipped answer, you should consider whether there is a better solution with the competition. After all, as a client you want to build trust and achieve the highest possible transparency and good advice at eye level.
No matter which way you decide to go, we wish you maximum success!
So that you are even better equipped to keep an overview of the music industry, further articles on music agencies in our MusicHub blog will also deal with booking, artist management, merchandising and much more. So subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on Instagram for more tips.
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