Publicists: How to Properly Send Press Releases. Writers: How Not to Be Dicks.


A photograph taken in 2007 of about two days' worth of received publicity mail.
  • A photograph taken in 2007 of about two days' worth of received publicity mail.

Without getting too "inside baseball" on it, as they say, allow me to just share a little part of our job with you: Our inboxes here at the Cream/Scene are regularly inundated with just about every sort of entertainment-related email you'd never want to see. Random example from the top of this morning's e-heap? "Extra's First Look [as in the TV show hosted by A.C. Slater]: Simon Cowell's 'Everybody Hurts' Video." Blech. I also received word just last week that Guitar Center has created a battle-of-the-bands style competition (perhaps as a diversion from this), the winner of which gets to record a three-song EP with Mike Clink and Slash. Cutting-edge stuff right there.

But for all the Slash contests and old-man breast fests we catch wind of, there are also plenty of emails about bands we actually care about. Though there are pretty much never bios we want to read, there are albums we want to hear and videos we want to see. The trick is getting folks to send them to us in such a manner that we can a) distinguish them from the shit we don't want and b) actually have copies of an artist's material, not just links to streaming 30-second clips. That's where Chris Weingarten comes in. He's the fire-and-brimstone pastor of music journalism we've blogged about before, and he recently squeezed out a series of tweets about the suckiest parts of publicists' emails. Not to be outdone, Bloodshot Records publicist Marah Eakin responded with a list of how writers can be less sucky as well. Both lists are pretty entertaining, and you can see them after the jizzy.

Weingarten's publicist tips:

PublicistTip 1: When I ask for a digital promo and you tell me "its streaming on their site," you might as well be telling me to fuck myself

PublicistTip 2: Sending "fake-out" emails where subject line looks like a real convo totally works--but we all secretly resent you for it

PublicistTip 3: If I can't download your record in ONE FOLDER with ONE CLICK, my chances of listening to it decrease by ~75%

PublicistTip 4: If you're a "big indie" and guys like me still have to "request" records from you, you are pretty much doing your job wrong.

PublicistTip 5: If I see you at a show, keep the "what I'm working" speech to a one-or-two sentence reminder--or you are playing yourself

PublicistTip 6: Treat every press releases and bio like a newspaper story. Inverted pyramid. Most important info is IN THE FIRST SENTENCE

PublicistTip 7: Tagging the correct artist, album name and song titles on a digital promo takes 5 minutes and makes everyone's life easier

Yes. RT @jesshopp Can #8 be "If you have to call PlayMPE tech support to get the digitally watermarked stream to work, why bother"

Tip #9 RT @jesshopp Telling me Pitchfork/Fader/GvB/Stereogum have *already* covered is not a good pitch--it makes me want to cover it less

PublicistTip #10: Don't ever ever ever ever attach an MP3 in an email, for fuck's sake. It's 2010.

PublicistTip #11 Make sure the band name is ON THE .ZIP FILE. I have 20 folders on my desktop marked (via @bourgwick)

PublicistTip #12: A publicist willing to admit they sometimes work a crappy record is infinitely more trustworthy than one who won't.

PublicistTip #13: No-brainer: Bios should be exactly one page. Anything longer gets tossed. It's called a "one-sheet" for a reason.

PublicistTip #14: "Influenced by Radiohead" reads to us as "this band has a shallow record collection and is corny as fuck"

Eakin's responses:

All valid points, @1000timesyes. Now "hey music writers": don't call artist b/c you have their phone # from an old interview

hey writers pt #2: don't go off the rails when i can't list you for a show. there are always reasons. sometimes, we all have to pay

For the record, i'm not trying to stick it to @1000timesyes or writers. Publicists, writers alike, we're just talking about extremes.

hey writers (from another publicist): don't quote the publicist of the band in the article - esp. w/o asking them. credibility, shot.

@austinlouisray and you can't just say "GET BENT." publicists = nice people. ;-)

good one! RT @dangervillage: @marahe how about pretending to preview a show for your band when they want to get listed to see the headliner

hey writers: things that don't go unnoticed: not showing up for shows you're listed for habitually.

hey writers: also not unnoticed: always having to ask for a new copy of a cd after you "lost" (sold) the 1st one we sent.

Also for the record, I like 99.99% of writers very much, and think they do great jobs. Real talk.

hey writers #7 (h/t j.d.) "Really? You CAN'T review it unless you get hard copy?...

@dangervillage @1000timesyes that's like "RIYL: Radiohead" MEANINGLESS.

hey writers #8: asking me about a band that left the label years ago doesn't fly. it's not that hard to find out their current label, right?

In conclusion, we writers should be more patient, polite and grateful considering the fact that we're getting shit for free, and publicists should think about the fact that we have to sort through scores of these emails and mail-outs every day. Wait ... what are we bitching for? We all have pretty great jobs.

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