Interview with the Staff of A Creation Productions

By Mick Michaels

Getting the word out there, letting the world know that you, as an artist, have something going on worth paying attention to takes a plan, takes strategy, takes time and takes good PR. PR is often that piece of the puzzle many artists overlook, misunderstand or even avoid all together. It’s the invitation to the party…the one you are throwing and want the world to attend.

In this installment of AIMPOINT we talk with the staff at A Creation Productions about PR; what it is, what it does and how artists can benefit most from it.

AIMPOINT: Hello! Welcome to AIMPOINT. Thank you all for taking
some time out of your day to chat with me, it's greatly appreciated.
AP: How would you define PR? Many artists are often confused about the subject and what it actually means, entails, what's involved and to what the actual difference is between promotion and public relations. Can you shed some light in this area?A Creation Productions: How a band does their promotions is essentially public relations. PR is how the world sees you, how they interpret what you are doing and through PR, it is how the world decides whether or not they want to listen to what you have to say. I am sure there are those who feel promotions are the business end of the game, what you see…the marketing and public relations are the personal aspects of the game, how you relate to the public, what’s the message…but the bottom line is, it’s all business.

AP: How important is PR to an artist's career? Can they succeed without it?
ACP: PR is very important…otherwise it is like throwing a party and not inviting anyone to come. A lot of time, money and food would be wasted…same for a band.  If you have something going on, tell the world.

PR is an opportunity to let the world see you as you want to be seen. It is a well constructed and properly executed series of campaigns to do just that.

AP: Many young artists feel social media and the internet are all the promotion they'll ever need and often elect to do it themselves. Is the internet, and all its accessibility and reach, all an artist needs to build their intended audience?
ACP: To some degree this is true; the internet has given us an unbelievable reach, 24/7 worldwide. There is nothing else like it. There are many PR firms that focus just on social media platforms; targeting specific groups of fans, special interest groups, certain demographics…social media provides an unlimited resource. The internet is untouchable in its resource capabilities.  However, navigating it is the real trick…finding the right rabbit holes that lead to bigger highways takes time and persistence. Unfortunately, there are a lot of dead ends on the internet. As well, there are even more individuals and groups that are only out for one thing…your money, and don’t really care if they get you the results you want or need for success.

AP: Can an artist do it on their own without the assistance of a PR firm or agent? Are there limitations to a self managed PR campaign?
ACP: Can an artist do it on their own…sure they can. Many have and do. Most artists don’t work with a PR firm of any kind. So to say that it can’t be done would be misleading. It just takes a lot work...a ton of persistence and consistency.

Are there limitations…maybe?  But the only real limitations are the ones we impose on ourselves.

AP: What constitutes a solid, reputable PR agent or firm? Are all PR firms created equal in your opinion?
ACP: All PR firms are not created equal and most offer nothing more than an address book of defunct email contacts.  The funny thing about the music business is that some PR guy today could have easily been in some other unrelated field just six months ago.  What I mean by that is not everyone out there has a proven track record. So definitely do your homework. 

AP: What are some key points artists should know when considering to work with a PR group? Are there specific questions that should be asked? Are there specific responses to those questions that would tell the artist they are on the right track?
ACP: Research who it is you are going to go into business with.  See who they are working with, who they have worked with… What are people saying about them? Are they regularly engaged in campaigns or do they just sit around and wait for the artist to have something going on? Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t just take their word for it either, ask the artists and bands they work with.

For a band that doesn’t do a lot, any amount of PR, even the minimal is great.  But for a band or artist who is very active, the PR has to balance out.  Nothing is guaranteed, but ask what they plan to do for you and how do they go about doing it.  If they aren’t willing to work with you, then they are not vested in your success.

AP: Are there immediate red flags that artists need to be aware of before signing on?
ACP: If a PR firms has hundreds and hundreds of clients…that is always a level of concern.  No one can give 100% to that many artists…someone is always going to get snubbed. They may just be taking the money.

If a PR firms spends more time looking for business and telling people how great they are, that means they are primarily doing PR for themselves and aren’t spending the time working on campaigns for the artists…which then goes back to my first point above.

AP: Some artists also feel that PR is the job and responsibility of the labels.  Is this an accurate assumption? Are labels charged with this duty and can an artist depend solely on the label to make the effort?
ACP: No one is more serious about your career than you are. So if you want results go and get them yourself.
Labels these days are like chicken coops; they house a ton of bands that are producing a mega load of albums. No one has the budget to PR that much content…and with the limited rate of return on such an investment, no one wants to even bother. Should labels do some form of PR as a new album comes available by one of their artists, sure.  But that window these days is less than three months if that. New albums for most artists have a shelf life of six months. That means the biggest bang needs to take place in the first 8 weeks of its release.  But the PR should have already started months prior. And unless you are a big household name, the chances of that ever begin budgeted is slim shady to none.

AP: Is there such a thing as too much PR for an artist, thus, having the reverse effect?
ACP: Over saturation can definitely have the reverse effect…look at Disco…LOL. Social media can have the tendency to over saturate.  Over saturation is a PR method in and of itself. It just all depends on what the goal is. Most products have a short shelf life, so pushing it to the max can be a way to get all there is to get out of it.

AP: Some artists can be impatient; their passion can get the best of them at times. What would be a realistic time expectation for an artist to begin to possibly see a return on their PR services/campaign?
ACP: With the internet and social media platforms available, PR can be seen almost immediately. But that PR should start to garnish interest: interviews, additional contacts, sales, and even more PR... It becomes organic and that is the best kind.

We always tell people give it three months, allow things to permeate…a good product is a good product…it will hold its own.

AP: What advice would you give to a band that is ready to move to the next level and begin working with PR agency?
ACP: Know what you want and what it is you want to accomplish with the PR.  Ask questions. And understand that your involvement is a crucial part of the puzzle…it’s often the difference between making it or breaking it.

AP: Thank you all again for spending some time talking and sharing your expertise with our readers. It was pleasure. I wish you all the best and continued success.
ACP: Thank you!

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My name is Mick Michaels...I'm an artist, music fan, songwriter, producer, dreamer and guitarist for the traditional Heavy Metal band Corners of Sanctuary. Writing has always been a creative outlet for me; what I couldn't say in speech, I was able to do with the written word.  Writing has given me a voice and a way for me to create on a multitude of platforms including music and song, articles, independent screenplays, books and now, artist interviews. The Cosmick View is an opportunity to raise the bar and showcase artists in a positive and inspirational light. For me, it's another out-of-this-world adventure.


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