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The music industry is continuously evolving and each year there are new ways to get your music heard, book gigs and generally make money as a musician.

As much as it is a creative passion, it is still a business and one that you have to continually promote, market and publicise.

Having worked with the likes of Pete Murray, Grinspoon and Tina Arena, publicist Emily Cheung from On the Map PR has witnessed the key traits that make a musician succeed or fail. The one thing she attributes it to: persistence.
“So many Australian artists plug away for years before they get their big break,” she says.
“Amy Shark’s album went to #1 this week beating out DRAKE. She openly speaks about her many years of releasing and playing small pub and club gigs where no one seemed to take notice of her. Same thing with SIA. If your talent is real, keep at it and you’ll continue to grow your audience and relevance in the market place.”

While persistence is key, there are a few things you can do day-to-day to increase your chances of being heard right now. Each little win builds to something bigger in the future.

Emily’s biggest piece of advice is to play live as much as possible. This means getting support slots, playing at festivals and putting on your own gigs. Each performance helps raise your profile and introduce your music to a new audience.

She adds the importance of having an 18-month plan. Like any business it’s important to have a clear goal in mind and knowing just the people to help you get there.

Talking to a booking agent, radio plugger, digital distributor and publicist are all people who can help you on your journey as a musician. These people will know the things you need to get to the next step, however, it’s important to know who you are as a musician and your ‘brand’ before getting involved in this process.
“When marketing themselves, it’s important they’re staying true to themselves and their brand,” Emily says. “This means not doing interviews that aren’t right, just for the sake of the exposure. Not behaving in a way that might draw negative publicity towards them or anything that might allow them to be perceived negatively.
“Their brand is their ‘business’, so they need to market themselves and behave accordingly. Sometimes it’s good to think, would the CEO or any employee of a major company make such a decision?”
Another tip from Emily? As part of your 18-month plan it’s great to have several singles recorded and ready to release to call upon whenever you need the press or as a back-up if another single doesn’t go to plan.

The moment to engage a publicist is normally around release time or as the band wants to reach the next level. Emily admits it’s a “natural progression” for when bands seek out a publicist.

What is most important in the decision in working with a publicist and the resultant media exposure and brand awareness that comes with it, is finding the right person.
“A publicist is essentially an extension of the band, as they are the voice of the band/artist with the media. A publicist really needs to be passionate about the acts they’re representing and have an understanding of the band and brand in order to put the best foot forward for the act,” she says.

If you’re looking at booking a publicist, you can contact Emily Cheung at On the Map PR 0402 227 890, Emily@onthemappr.com or simply find out more information on onthemappr.com.

(Picture below : Fi (left) and Emily (right)



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