For a considerable time now I have avoided using my blog as a platform for a good rant but sometimes a good rant is needed!
As an independent blogger focused on the music business I take a genuine joy from helping to spread the word about music that I connect with. I hope that by sharing my almost exclusively positive thoughts on music that I help hard working artists in whatever small way I can.
Although I also write on a number of other platforms I do not get paid for these reviews. I do it for the love of music and to help others in whatever way I can. I am open about the fact that my blogging has lead to my getting paid to write elsewhere and whilst my writing is almost exclusively about music or musicians there it isn’t the sort of platform that does reviews. My paid writing focuses on trending news and pop culture stories.
Over the past few years I have built up great contacts with a wide range of artists and their PR companies. I have been lucky enough to attend some major events and have been able to photograph and interview a lot of fairly high profile artists. I am grateful for the opportunity to do so and really enjoy my ‘work.’
There are however a couple of things that really piss me off and both relate to PR companies. The first thing is just pain rudeness. If I apply attend a show as a photographer through an artists PR company then I don’t think it is too much to ask to have my messages replied to. If the press list is full or you don’t think the publications I write for are high profile enough then just send a two line message turning down my request. It takes 30 seconds and being refused is no big deal. Being kept hanging or being ignored is annoying, it’s rude and it’s unnecessary.
The second thing is a bigger issue. At present I get between 50 and 100 messages a week from PR companies offering interviews, albums to review or gigs to attend to photograph and review. This is wonderful and of course I am flattered. Sadly as a one man independent I can’t meet every request that comes my way.
As a rule I only review things that connects with me in some way. Generally I like to review stuff released by people I know personally or by bands I like. I also like to discover new stuff so if a release from a PR looks interesting I will usually give things a listen and if I like it I will review it.
A few weeks ago i was approached by a PR company who asked me if I would be interested in interviewing their bands. Naturally I wanted to have a look at the roster and to check out the bands to see if it would be my thing. I couldn’t find the PR companies website or any social media presence! I went back to them asking where I could find them. they wrote back saying they don’t have any because they prefer to “spend their money promoting their artists in the most effective way possible.”
They sent me a message with links to three bands Facebook and bandcamp pages but nothing else and asked me to submit a list of questions for e-mail interviews. They also became a little pushy to the point where yesterday they sent me a message demanding a same day response. They got their response. I said I wasn’t interested and took the time to write a message explaining why.
The very least I expect from a PR company is a “one sheet” explaining a bit about the band, their music and an idea as to what bands they are similar to. I don’t expect to have to spend a load of time researching the band before I can even have an idea as to whether or not I am going to like their music.
What this company were actually asking is that I do their job for them, free of charge of course. Well I have news for you. You need to get a grip. What exactly are your clients paying you for? The very least you can do is to help me to help you. If you are not prepared to put a bit of effort in then why the hell should I.