Should That Music Promotion Firm Give You a Deal?
You’re a musician with not a lot of money, but you really want to hire someone to handle your music promotion. You don’t think you can do it without the professionals so you’ll just ask if they’ll cut you a deal, because, y’know, you’re a struggling musician.
I feel your pain. I really do. Working in the music industry isn’t without pain for most involved. Those of us who have chosen a path in music quite often have chosen passion over profit.
Here’s a little secret. The deal you’re asking for doesn’t come without a price. In fact, back in 2010 I stopped cutting deals for bands altogether, with the exception of early payment discounts and creating individually designed campaigns that could fit into a band’s budget and also be viable for us. Before you cast me as just another heartless business owner who would take a Wall Street speaking fee for $400k, hear me out.
Providing quality services for our clients is way too important to me to sacrifice that. There are a host of responsibilities that come with being a business owner including the expenses it takes to run the business and the music publicity campaigns effectively. When we discount fees, we essentially have to take on a higher quantity of bands to compensate. This of course risks the quality we provide for our existing clients, which is not a risk I'm willing to take.
After 15 years of doing this, I've found you almost always get what you pay for in publicity. If someone is quick to cut a deal you should be concerned about the motive, especially when it’s far below the market price. There are extremely legitimate firms who offer deals for clients, but just like I mentioned above it’s most likely not without sacrifice, or they’ve negotiated higher in the beginning to receive the rate they need to effectively run your campaign and the business. If you do negotiate, you should approach it in a way that will be a win win for both of you. Also don’t be afraid to ask what would have to be sacrificed in order to give you the rate.
If a music pr firm quickly cuts a deal or accepts a fee well below the standard fee, it’s usually for one of three reasons (sometimes all three!):
They are driven by money
They are desperate for business
They lack experience
I started GLG because I wanted to be the place bands and labels could trust and I hate to see anyone taken advantage of, although I do understand working within a limited budget. If the fees you’re seeing make your jaw drop to the floor, it quite simply may not be quite the right time to hire a music publicist. Even if you do decide to take the risk and go for the deal, you’ll most likely spend the entire time questioning what is being done on your behalf because you couldn’t really afford it in the first place.
Now, I also don’t believe it has to be an all or nothing proposition. We realized a lot of bands couldn’t afford music pr fees that were in the thousands, so we introduced a DIY campaign for the bands who weren’t quite ready to make an investment in hiring a music publicist. Bands get the insight of our 15 years music publicity experience with an outline of our campaign formula in week to week pragmatic steps, so you have the ability to do it yourself and know it's truly being handled by someone who cares about the project and not for the three reasons I mention above. More information on it can be found here:
Green Light Go: Research rates for music publicists before you reach out so you know what’s fair and if you can afford it. Many music pr firms keeps this private, but we don’t. We want you to have this information at the forefront so you can determine at the forefront. Our rates are pretty standard. View the starting rates here.
Sharing is Caring: Know someone about to release an album or EP who’s in need of a music publicist? Send over the article to set the musician off on the right foot.