I just read through the Pay to Play thread, so I thought I'd start a discussion on something that seems to rarely get mentioned around here: getting your band press coverage.
Here's a few do's and don'ts. If you want my bonafides, I spent about 10 years in bands, off and on, and did a few interviews when we could. Since then, I've made part of my living by doing freelance music journalism, interviewing lots of local bands, as well as some bigger names like LCD Soundsystem, Our Lady Peace, Finger Eleven, a British boy band named JLS, and my favourite, Dean from the movie FUBAR. So I've been on both sides.

First off, why do you need press? Well, it's all well and good to play shows, but at some point you're going to want to start presenting a more professional image. A good press pack with clippings is a start for that. It shows you're serious and capable of garnering attention for your band. Not to mention, it gets your name out there and gets your name out to people who might not otherwise hear of you.

Do: start small. Don't contact Rolling Stone and expect them to take you seriously. College and University papers generally have a mandate to support smaller artists, so contact them and offer to put them on the guest list for a show or drop off a CD.

Don't: Be a dick in the interview. You're not a rock star. Don't do some avant garde too cool for school bullshit. They will either drop the article or just absolutely assassinate you. And they'd be right.

Do: Have a proper product to promote. If you don't have a quality demo or shows coming up, you're really not very interesting to write about. At least have the image of having momentum.

Don't: Get pushy. If a journalist says they'll write about you, don't pester them. Don't get on their nerves in any way. There are no shortage of bands to write about. You aren't doing them a favour by giving them content. Music journalism on a local level is just about the easiest thing to find things to write about. Make yourself a pest, and they will drop you as a potential article.

Do: be interesting. Tell funny stories about the band. Be charismatic. Engage me. Make me care about you band. What sets you apart? Give me some good quotes. Which leads me to

Don't: be boring. Don't tell me your philosophy about music. Don't tell me how meaningful your music is. Boring. I've heard it before. It'll come across in the article that you have nothing interesting to say.

And lastly, Do: buy me a beer if I show up at your concert. It's not unethical, and it will get you on my good side. Journalists don't get paid much at the local level. In fact, some just do it cuz they love writing about music. Appeal to the cheapskate in me, and you've got an ally in getting your music to a wider audience.
I'd like to hear what some of the other experienced guys have to say. I'm sure they all have good stories and ideas about interacting with the press.
Last edited by koslack at Jun 11, 2011,
Shouldn't this be in the article section? I don't mean to be a prick...
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Great post. I agree with every word of it.

I'm trying to think of something you missed... but I think you nailed it.

Except I guess.... if you're doing an interview in person, show up on time. If you're doing a phoner, call on time or be home when they call you. If it's an email interview, reply on time and try to write in coherent sentences. And by "on time", that means early enough that when the interview is ready to start, you've had a chance to chat before-hand about what you're going to talk about. You've had a chance to talk about what song they're going to play (for radio), or to set up (if you're doing a "live in studio"), etc.

Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

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