4 Essentials Of PR in Music | When Music Tells Its Story

By Prema Sagar
October 30, 2017
4 Essentials Of PR in Music | When Music Tells Its Story


Prema Sagar

Vice Chair, Burson-Marsteller, Asia Pacific & Principal/Founder, Genesis Burson-Marsteller

"Impactful communication can be the difference between an artist becoming successful or disappearing into obscurity" Prema Sagar, Vice Chair, Burson-Marsteller, Asia Pacific & Principal/Founder, Genesis Burson-Marsteller

Remember the days when scores used to line up outside the local Planet M store the moment a new Michael Jackson or a Metallica album was out? Or the time, the total number of ‘records sold’ determined the stature of a pop icon? Well, that’s passé now and so are the traditional definitions of a music icon. With the advent and adoption of digital music platforms, almost anyone with a guitar and a passion to sing can be the next musical star. From Gangnam Style, Kolaveri Di, to Coke Studio and Indian Idol—music is content that anybody can create today. And like any other content, it needs to tell a story, and that story needs to be communicated.

With the evolution of the music industry, diversification of the audience base as well as easy access to music, the role of the communications has become important for an artist to tell her or his story to the audience. Of course, the quality of music is important, but there are plenty of good artists, so how do you make sure that your music is heard and stands apart? With a carefully designed communication strategy.

1. Break the clutter 

 Nothing gets the word going more proficiently than an effective, distinct communications campaign. There’s a song being created every minute and attention span diminishing by the second. All it takes is a moment for a song to be a viral sensation or to be hurled into obscurity without making a lasting impression on anyone’s mind. With a thought-through campaign, an artist (or a music platform) can create a distinct image for their music so that it reaches the kind of audience it should. That involves being present where the audience is and most importantly connecting with what that audience is looking for. 

2. Establish next-gen stars

 Talent being crucial to an enterprise’s success holds true for the music industry as much as it does for any big conglomerate. While talent managers can scout the best of talent from across regions and social strata, what really makes one click with the audience is often a mystery. An efficient, clear communication strategy here can be the key that launches a talented music professional into public conscience and consequently on the path of greatness. Remember Susan Boyle? The world would never have taken notice of a talent as special as her if were not for the wide reach that Britain’s Got Talent allowed her to have.

3. An effective issue-coping strategy

 Indian music industry suffers from the perennial issue of piracy. While artists and record labels over the past few years have been able to limit the losses with the advent of subscription streaming services such as Gaana and Saavn, the industry still loses millions to piracy every year. Building awareness and a sense of responsibility among the audience about the implications of piracy practices via strategic and engagement-oriented public relation campaigns can be a step forward in this direction.

4. Facilitate stable sources of revenue

 Effective communication draws masses and builds an audience for an artist or even an album. This can further draw sponsors as well as advertisers, who see the artist as ‘bankable’. And that means stable, organised form of income for the performers in an industry that is otherwise very sporadic in terms of opportunities of earning.

Whether you are an artist or a corporate organisation, getting your audience to see, like and use, and of course, recommend your ‘product’ takes a similar approach—through a carefully constructed communications campaign. The tactics and the message may differ, but all the other elements of campaign planning—goal, insight, idea, execution, and measurement—apply. If you get the elements right, no one can stop your music from hitting the right note with your audience.

Interesting… Rajeev Raja, Founder and Soundsmith, Brandmusic –

Look at Dharavi Rocks – it really rocks.


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