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Playing The Game : A Guide To Press Releases For Independent Artists

I get plenty of acts asking me how they can promote their next show or their new release. I always give the same answer; “Get yourself a PR”. And the bands always give the same answers to me; “We can’t afford it” or “We don’t know how to do it”. PR is pricey, no doubt, but you’ll get nowhere without it. Nothing will be written about you, or your music, if you don’t have one. That’s the reality of the situation. If you are not willing to spend money promoting your music, then you are not serious about it. Get out now and save the time and effort for yourself and for us.

But if you are genuinely strapped, and are in this for the long haul, then I’ll get you started. I will now show you how to write a Press Release that will get published. In an ideal world, the music would speak for itself but that is not good enough. All of your favourite bands have great PR behind them. Even the ones that say they don’t.

So you have booked your headline show, or have your single/EP/album ready for release. We’ll do this for a single but the format is identical for any circumstance.

First write yourself a headline, which includes the name of your band. It can be a pun, or make a point, or be whatever you want, as long as it is short and publishable. A simple [BAND NAME Release ‘SINGLE TITLE’] will do nicely.

 Next, copy in a picture of the band or the single cover (gig poster if relevant). Put it in the body of the email. You can put a link, attachment, or dropbox link in as well, but the one in the body of the email is probably the one that will get used.

 Next put a link to the song on YouTube and Soundcloud. These are the most commonly used and most easily embedded media for websites. You can include the Spotify/ Bandcamp/ etc if you like. Don’t use a tinyURL or anything, post the exact link. Writers and editors can then embed them whichever way their particular website works.

 Then tell us about the single. When is it coming out? Is it from an album? Is it following up another single? Does it rock hard? Is it a booty shaker? Is it a rip-roaring party record? Is it super serious subject matter? We don’t know, and the readers won’t know unless you tell us. So tell us.

 Next, tell us about your band. We don’t need your life story but describe your sound in 10 words. Where are you based? Have you released anything before or is this your debut single? Tell us that [OUR BAND have played FESTIVAL NAMES, as well as playing VENUE NAMES, and have shared stages with BANDS THAT PEOPLE MIGHT HAVE HEARD OF].

 Next, tell us if you have any planned future releases or gigs to promote the single.

 Next, a member of the band should tell us a bit about the single. What is it about? What happened when you were recording it? Did you work with anyone interesting while making it? E.g. [BAND MEMBER JOE BLOGGS says of the new single “we had a great time recording it. It’s a song that means a lot to us because X. Working in STUDIO NAME was a great honour. We could feel the history of those other bands that recorded there]”.

This whole thing should be 200-500 words. That’s all we need. If you follow those instructions and then send that press release to every blog, paper and magazine that you can think of, you will get coverage (unless you are very unlucky, or your music is totally unlistenable). Then you’ll have a quote or two for your next poster or PR campaign; “[A Rip-Roaring Party Record - Musos’ Guide]”.

It may seem disingenuous or phoney, but this is the game. And if you don’t play by the rules, your band will fail. You can start by writing one about your next release or gig and sending it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Good luck!

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