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Media and Industry Tips for the Accomplished Jazz Musician

Media and Industry Tips for the Accomplished Jazz Musician

Photo credit: Guillaume Peltier

Kerilie McDowall By

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Don't underestimate it, thinking outside-of-the-box and creatively grabs the media's attention and guarantees almost without fail that your online COVID-friendly EPK will get noticed.
Are you releasing your next recording? Are you an independent artist? Is getting that crucial interview to further your music career on your bucket list?—A couple of key points:

For reviews, interviews, or story coverage (generally speaking), print editors of magazines require a listen three months' notice BEFORE your release date. Newspapers need one month's notice (sometimes two months if it is a larger event) for story coverage. Major publications are able to jump online with publishing very fast often within days for online material, but it's still as a courtesy rule best to give a month's warning for scheduling flexibility to an online blogger or website publisher. Note that radio and TV, Web producers, and podcasting producers often require two months' notice.

Who do I contact at my local TV station?

For television performances contact the Television Producer of the program that interests you at your local community TV studio, local news station, or through local commercial Television. TV Producers are very busy; keep communication short and concise and provide your details and best contact information. Ask if you can submit a program idea. Many TV stations are taping online-only with Skype and other formats then editing afterward.

Keep communications to the media short, informative, and concise. Include relevant sideplayer work experience you have done as well, it counts. Always list international work, awards, and celebrity performances. It's a very good idea not to contact writers and editors at their personal emails on the weekends, it's best to contact them during the workweek.

If you receive support from the press with a review or interview, be sure to follow up with a thank you. If you were reviewed, filmed, or interviewed by the press be appreciative and invite them to your online concert or release party. (It's often standard in the industry to "comp" the writer/publication/producer with at least two free tickets). Showing a thank you where possible to show appreciation for busy press who receive up to 100 email or more coverage requests per day is a kind courtesy and will help the press remember you.

How do I get radio airplay in Canada?

Send your digital EPK or press package to the radio host of your genre AND the music director at campus and community radio stations. Despite the extra cost, sending your new release also to the radio host will make you stand out from the crowd and gives you a much better chance of radio airplay.

When sending into a radio or TV producer, go for a creative eye-catching presentation of your digital EPK or physical press package. Being unique and thinking outside-of-the-box catches a producer's attention. A beautifully produced video to accompany your EPK can make your submission impressive and will showcase your work in the way it deserves. Remember that many radio and TV stations now only take online submissions.

Public Radio contact info:

Contact: The producer of the radio program (not the host).

Community and University Radio contact:

Contact: The Music Director and Radio Host of your genre.

What's a one-sheet?

The one-sheet is a quick summary of your new recording release for the press (radio/print/online/TV). Include the album song title tracks, catalog number, record label, personnel, cover art, total album duration, and recording/mixing details.

Present a brief biography that mentions your international or local experience along with awards, nominations, celebrity performances, and interesting or relevant side player/collaborative work. Mention any upcoming tours and visiting or international members/guests in the band. If there are any important or interesting recording details in your album concept mention them as well. It's crucial to mention your release date and any CD release performance/party information. Don't forget an audio streaming link and a download link with a video link in your email, too. Remember to keep it to one page and include your in-depth band/bio/album details in a separate press release. You can learn how to write press releases by going to your favorite artists' websites and looking at what publicists have created for those artists. Look at as many press releases as you can on websites like allaboutjazz.com and note the format and adjust your information to a similar format and style.

How do I catch a writer's or radio/TV producer's attention?

Some JUNO winners here in Canada devised a very clever EPK for radio airplay that was a standout many years ago. The clever band (you know who you are) sent me an impressive private digital audio link email with some simple promo as well (many years before anyone else was doing that), but before they even got me to that email they sent a beautifully crafted physical postcard with impressive art and graphics with a private download link. I loved this idea. It is also a way to cut costs on sending out bulky physical CD packages. The band won their first JUNO not too shortly after those efforts.

Many years back another impressive physical press package came into the radio station from another well-known JUNO winning band. In their media package, they sent children's toys with their band name on them including colorful eye-catching fun games and trinkets, and rubber balls. Yes, there was even a Slinky! The package was very noticeable among the many submissions coming into the radio station and brought attention to their music and creativity. Don't underestimate it, thinking outside-of-the-box and creatively grabs the media's attention and guarantees almost without fail that your online COVID-friendly EPK will get noticed.

It is often a great idea to sit down and just write and brainstorm ideas for executing your plan of action according to your own goals. Do you want to stay local? Or would you like to branch out? Major media coverage is the best way to cross international boundaries and you do not necessarily need a publicist if you are not shy to talk to people within the industry and explain what it is that you are doing with your artistry. Learn how to write a press release, or hire publicists for the work. Often you can find someone new in business with competitive rates.

Sticking to your vision concept and developing it, and staying fresh with your ideas will inspire you to move forward on your creative journey. Recording and making videos will document your path, inspiring new thought and connection.

Do not be shy to collaborate with others and exchange ideas and work closely with a concept that is not your own idea. Due to COVID-19 it is important to stick to your artistic vision. Then decide your path. Focus on balance and the moment. Stick with your dreams and do not get distracted unless it's a worthwhile distraction. Be open-minded to trying out new skills and action plans. You may be surprised to learn that you have hidden talents that you never dreamed of. Experiment, be courageous. Enjoy your creative process. Explore the fun of jumping in.

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