When considering alternative jobs in the music industry, music PR is a top choice. For our third issue, we spoke to senior music press officer, Ellie Clarke from Prescription PR, who told us about her role and offered advice on how to get a job as a music publicist.
It’s my job to achieve press coverage for an artist, particularly via a certain release such as an album, single, video or tour, by encouraging journalists to take a listen and giving them viable reasons to cover them in their magazine or on their site. Although we ensure the music press is covered, we also look at other areas such as gaming, sports, home, women’s mags and more – even car/motorbike magazines! If you see a piece about music in any publication you can be sure that a music PR has been behind it.
What advice would you give to a musician trying to get the right balance between a career and having the time to write music?
Finding time to write and be creative is important and always a tricky one, but a career in music definitely helps. It can be hectic but keeps you inspired every day and teaches you about all sorts of music processes, not to mention the influential people you meet. I appreciate music jobs seem sparse and elusive and impossible to get with so much competition but don’t forget about all the different roles it offers.
It’s not just an option between being a musician or a promoter. There’s legal, publishing, marketing, journalism, broadcasting, distribution, booking, production, retail and more! And once you get into one it makes it so much easier to approach another. The industry can be quite transferrable so don’t be afraid to hop around until you find something that’s right for you.
It might sound obvious but location is quite important as well. Try to move to an area with a vibrant and active music scene if you can. That way, not only should you find more music companies for potential work, you’ll also have a community on your doorstep to keep you motivated, supported and inspired.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to work in music PR?
Listen to as much music and read as many music magazines (print and online) as possible, and regularly. This way you’ll naturally learn everything you need to know. And keep an open mind – you absolutely can’t limit yourself to one genre or one opinion because honestly, you’ll be missing out on a lot of great stuff. Even if you don’t like something you can let it feed your knowledge and give you the big picture.
Also, knowledge is important but never let any musos intimidate you or put you off with theirs. They can be a scary bunch when they start talking about obscure music or using reference points you don’t know, but just remember that everyone has different pockets of musical knowledge and yours is just as valuable.
You shouldn’t be afraid to ask about a band you haven’t heard of, or disagree with someone just because they sound like they know what they’re talking about. Finally, be openly enthusiastic. Basically, if you feel like you love music that little bit more than the average person, and can talk passionately about it, then chances are you’d be perfect for the job.
Interview by Ruby Rebelle & Jennifer Le Roux
Read the full article here to find out what led Ellie towards a career as a music publicist.
I worried I’d become disillusioned if I saw what went on behind the scenes…