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Getting Press

A How-To Guide

On this page you will find information about:

  • How to get reviewed in The Musician
  • Reaching the local and national press
  • Live reviews
  • Radio exposure
  • Getting listed

Across the UK, at any one time, tens of thousands of musical acts are trying to get a record deal. So how do you attract attention and win the coveted review or radio airplay? It is not just about how good your music is, it is how you play the publicity game that can make or break your chances of successful exposure.

A press kit should fully reflect the unique quality of your work and reinforce the fact that your music is extraordinary and worth listening to. The three tools that will make the difference between getting noticed and being ignored are high quality recordings, a couple of fantastic photos and a tightly-written, entertaining, one-page biography detailing your background, gig and release history plus any other interesting facts. Many celebrated musicians have embroidered their own formative experiences to come up with a press-worthy angle.

Once the press kit has been honed to perfection, then research the radio shows and journalists dealing with music that is similar to your own, as targeting a sympathetic ear is likely to reap larger rewards. Every publication or radio station has its own editorial ethos, which may not be apparent from just reading or listening. If in doubt, make contact before sending your press kit.

 

Make sure that your material goes in the right direction to have an impact. Find a journalist who you think is going to help, and arrange to have a chat to find out what he or she is looking for at the moment.

The best submissions have good photography and artwork, clear labelling and information on the CD, with song listing and contact details printed on the disc in case it gets separated.

Supporting material is extremely important — the more entertaining and interesting the better. Artists need to show some character to stand out and pique the reviewer's interest.

Keith Ames, PR & Marketing Official

Music magazines and newspapers

You may want to immediately hit national publications to reach the largest audience, but the best place to start is with local newspapers and magazines.

Most local publications are hungry for news stories and welcome approaches by
potential musical heroes from their area. Local publications will often be happy to
run a profile, preview a performance or review a CD or gig — just ask how they
like to receive material.

The next step up is the national newspapers and specialist music magazines, which come in all musical flavours, from classical and jazz, to pop, techno, folk and world. Submission protocol can vary widely, so it is essential to do your homework. Most magazines and radio stations have an online presence, which makes it easier to make
a list of publications and shows dealing with your type of music, and to research the best way to approach each one.

Be reviewed in The Musician

We review CDs (albums only) or downloads (singles only) from Musicians’ Union members.

When submitting your music for consideration, please include your full contact info, blogs and PR material plus artwork and photos (at a minimum of 300dpi resolution) for printing alongside the review in The Musician.

Please submit your CDs to: Keith Ames, Communications Official, Musicians’ Union, 60—62 Clapham Road, London SW9 0JJ.

Please email your downloads, cover artwork and photos to keith.ames@theMU.org

Live reviews

When trying to get a performance reviewed, call or email the publication and ask who your press kit should be sent to. Include a phone number that reviewers can call to secure a guest list place, as sending tickets will not necessarily ensure their attendance.

Ensuring that your live performances are included in the event listings of local,
specialist and national publications is a good grounding for getting journalists to actually come along and pen a review. They are usually free and easy to place, and will enable members of the press to become familiar with your name.

Radio

National and local radio stations offer many opportunities for unsigned artists to receive airplay and exposure on their associated websites. For details of how to submit your work, look on the station or show’s website.

For example, you can post your CD to any Radio 1 DJ or show via BBC Radio 1, London W1A 1AA or upload your music to the BBC Introducing website. For more information and practical advice on making music and the industry, visit bbc.co.uk/music/introducing

Search for radio DJs in your area who play new music, as they can be a valuable promotional tool. Also note that many local independent radio stations also gladly accept gig listings for their on-air what’s on guides.

Internet

Online radio shows and social media give artists the opportunity to gain local and global exposure. Upload songs, pictures, videos and gig dates to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Bandcamp, SoundCloud and YouTube and you have a virtual press kit available for anyone to access, any time.

Word-of-mouth publicity from fans and other musicians is invaluable, and record labels, gig promoters, online radio stations and the press continue to use social networking sites as a handy way to scout for the best new acts. When working on a profile/page, the same rules of clarity used to put together a press kit still apply.

Get yourself listed

For a live event to reach the widest possible prospective audience, it is important to submit the details for listing by local publications, specialist magazines, national newspapers, radio stations and online event databases.

Although they are not duty bound to use the listings they receive, it is still an easy, cost-free form of publicity that pays noticeable dividends.

For print publications, event information needs to be submitted four weeks in advance. Check each publication for its particular submission requirements.

Any event listing should contain:

  • The date (it is surprising how many people forget this).
  • The name of each artist, ensemble or band that is to perform, headliner listed first.
  • A one-line description of each artist and the style of music they play or the works to be performed, plus the details of any record release, club or charity being promoted via the event.
  • The name and full address of the venue, including postcode and telephone number.
  • The advance ticket and on-the-door entry prices, including the details of any concessionary rates. If applicable, also the details of any ticketing agents.
  • Pertinent website addresses, plus a contact email and phone number in case any additional info is required.

Print listings

PA Media supplies many national newspapers, including The Guardian, The Independent, The Times, and the Metro dailies.
PA Media

Online listings

This is just a small selection of UK online listing sites. Find more by searching online.

Jazz London Radio offers MU members the opportunity to reach online audiences at a discount

Concert Diary compile UK classical music listings that also feed into Gramophone’s website.

Composition:today compile new music concert listings.