A note from the FNO newsletter editor...
Hello FNO Bands and Performers,
This month's article
is about press. If you don't have any of that, well, you better
work on getting it! Sheena Metal pens another goodie for indie
musicians about making it happen.
And this month's featured artist is FNO Member Thea Hopkins.
Happy New Year!
Festival Network Online
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|It’s All Good: There Is No Such Thing As Bad Press!
By Sheena Metal
one of the oldest riddles in the history of music: If a band rocks hard
in the forest and there's no one there to hear it... did it ever really
happen? It's a fact: you may be the most talented musician in the
galaxy, but if no knows about you, you'll probably never advance past
playing to your one and only fan in the mirror in your mom's garage.
Writing, recording and
performing terrific music is half the battle, but the other half may be
even tougher than the challenge of creating a #1 hit… the task of
publicizing it. Without publicity, your great opus might very
well sit, gathering dust on your closet floor with the other 999 copies
you had printed, cased and shrink-wrapped. Getting your name/your
band's name out there is quintessentially the most crucial step to:
gigs, management, fans, radio, label exposure and rock ‘n' roll stardom.
But what if your new
found press is not-so-positive? Should you turn away a chance to
pimp your band to the masses if the article is entitled, "Worst Bands
In The History Of Sound" or "CDs You Wouldn't Listen To If They Washed
Up Next To You On A Desert Island"? Is all press "good
press"? Is it always a positive move for your band if the average
music lover reads your name in print; even if the article's content is
not exactly what you'd frame for your dad on his birthday? In a
word, "Hell Yeah!" ...Well, that was two words.
The following are a few tips that may help you to utilize both the positive and the negative press that may come your way:
Never Turn Down
Press --- If people are talking about you, you're doing something
right. Don't throw away free exposure by becoming your own
publicist and deciding who can say what about you. Brittney
Spears can afford to hire a PR genius to nix an upcoming article on
"Overweight Pop Stars Looking For A Comeback After Two Kids."
You, however, should tell your vocalist to pooch out her gut, grab her
babies and smile for the camera. The only thing more important in
the music business than who you know is who knows you. So,
remember, "bad press" is good and "good press" is outstanding.
2.) Make Sure They Print
Your Name --- The single most important key to success in entertainment
is the recognition of your name. A magazine may print, "The John
Smith Band sounds like a toilet flushing." Weeks later, most
people will only remember that they have heard the band name.
This is the beauty of press. Plus, even if rabid music listeners
now associate your band with potties, they will probably check you out
just to see if you're really that terrible. How many songs/bands
do you think are horrific yet, when they come on the radio, you listen
anyway? Name recognition is essential to the success of your
band. Whether they're praising or dissing, everybody needs to be
talking about you.
3.) Turn Bad Press Into
Good --- There's no way around it... bad press happens. Even the
hottest band in the world has just as many hate sites as fan
sites. But what reads to you as bad press doesn't always have to
translate as bad press in your press package and mailers and on your
web site. There are two easy ways, to turn bad press into
good. First, edit it. It's your press after all and not
every word can be bad. Simply omit the parts that make you want
to run screaming and leave the rest to make up at least a decent
review. Second, interpret the negative as positive. No
matter what's in the article, act like you think it's a great
thing. Turn criticism into irony, insults into humor, and bad
ratings into humility. Make it seem as if the reviewer was on
your side and don't let on that it upset you at all. Again, in
the long run, it will only matter that you got the publicity nod in the
4.) Complaining Only
Makes Bad Press Worse --- Bad press will come and go, but your making an
issue out of it will surely last longer than the review itself.
Press is only as current as its latest issue and soon enough, what
feels like the ruin of your band will be replaced by the ruin of
someone else's. But, repeat mentions of it on your websites, My
Space pages, etc. will keep the negativity alive as long as you refuse
to let it go. I realize that your art is precious to you and that
you're easily hurt by bad press but continuing to ruminate on it, only
serves to keep the wound open way past the original issue date.
The energy you put into bad press should be focused onto getting newer,
better press for the band. You will remember the bad press long
after everyone else has forgotten about it so let it go and move onto
more positive things.
No one ever said that
the music business was going to be all sugar and spice and everything
nice, so it should come as no surprise that you'll probably garner as
much bad press as good. Foster the positive publicity as much as
you can and chalk up the negativity to a small pothole on your road to
success. It's true that it doesn't matter what they say as long
as they're talking about you so be thankful for the free PR, take the
high road, and let the bad reviews roll by your band and into oblivion
where they belong. It's unrealistic to think that you can get
everyone to like your music, so make it your goal to get everyone to
remember your name.
Sheena Metal is a radio
host, producer, promoter, music supervisor, consultant, columnist,
journalist and musician. Her syndicated radio program, Music
Highway Radio, airs on over 700 affiliates to more than 126 million
listeners. Her musicians' assistance program, Music Highway,
boasts over 10,000 members. She currently promotes numerous live
shows weekly in the Los Angeles Area, where she resides. For more
|Featured FNO Musician - Thea Hopkins
Massachusetts based singer-songwriter Thea Hopkins possesses a voice
like fine cognac and a warm wood fire (indoors, not out). Her
soothing melodies caress the listener into a state of invested
ease. Fans of Katell Keineg's lower register will find a pleasing
familiarity in Hopkins tone, though Thea's is at the same time unique
unto itself, as rich and complex as her many faceted heritage.|
Thea's August 2007 release "Chickasaw" is full of original material
that could have been written and recorded in any decade since the
sixties. Timeless story songs in the folk tradition ("Once There
Was a Lover") sit nicely next to more upbeat, even danceable numbers
like "Medicine Line". Awards and accolades for her voice and her
songwriting threaten to burst her bio at its seams.
Thea is in more than capable hands on "Chickasaw", all the musicians
having Folk Star resumes containing luminous names like Leonard Cohen,
Chris Smither and Suzanne Vega. The most notable detail of the
band's contribution, however, is restraint, the players dripping and
dipping in and out just enough to frame Thea's fine voice for the
Hopkins plays regularly in the Northeast and has released two albums:
"Chickasaw" and her 2001 debut "Birds of Mystery". Vist her
Musician Review by David Earl Tomlinson of Asheville, North Carolina's The Plowshares.
If you would like to be featured here, please email julie! Put
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