Paying to Play? Who, Me?

Paying to Play? Who, Me?
by Kenny Love

The response to my last article addressing the professional 
execution of music promotion has already been so positive, 
I felt compelled to expand it.  Now, while I may, possibly, 
find reader support with this article as well, drive-bys are 
inevitable.  Therefore, I have only one request…please use a 
semi-automatic weapon as this will allow me at least the 
opportunity to momentarily dodge any stray ammo.

Seriously though, it is almost a given fact today that if you pick up any independent recording and compare its graphic design artwork and sound quality, there exists virtually no distinguishable differences. In fact, I will go as far as to say that "indie" product, most of the time, carries a much higher quality all around due to its very nature.
So, why is it that most independent recording artists fail to budget, or even consider the provision or allocation of promotional funds for their own recording? Is it because they believe long lines of record labels will be salivating at the mouth for their product as it rolls off the manufacturer's line?
These are some of the same artists who go all out, sparing no expense, and spending thousands of dollars to ensure that not only is their product recorded and mastered to perfection, but some of them also purchase the same top-of- the-line gear that professional studios carry.
They are also the same artists who seek top graphic designers whose special effects often rival the best work of George Lucas. So, once again, why the ongoing and consistent failure to even consider budgeting for professional promotion of their well vested recording as well?
I believe that the main reason is that they feel that with such a professional sound and appearance, it will, indeed, be a "sure thing" to attract investors for promotion, or record labels that will be impressed with their work enough to provide big- dollar funding.
Here is a wake-up call to all subscribing to this far-flung theory: The music game has now changed! It's not done that way anymore! Everyone and his brother (or sister) is creating high quality product, but many are going steps beyond on their own to make sure the promotion ball starts to roll.
So, the fact that you are now producing your music on compact discs is no longer impressionable. It is now considered the standard and expected format in order to be taken seriously.
However, one way to stand out from the crowd is to not become so overly anxious to release your high-quality recording that you don't take the time to acquire your promotional funding for it.
Granted, it is a fact that many promotional and publicity services charge exorbitant and outrageous fees. But, taking the time to shop around for one you can reasonably afford will, ultimately, place you ahead of your competition.
In fact, you should begin to budget for your promotional phase of your recording at the same time that you start to budget for your recording and manufacturing phases.
The current standard rates for independent radio promoters and press publicists now range from a low-end of $400 per week up to a high-end of $2000 per week. DOUBLE this amount if you intend to use both. And, you will normally require both…again, one for radio promotion, and the other for print media interviews and reviews.
An average initial promotion campaign for a new recording lasts from 12-16 weeks. Figuring a budget based on the low-end would require you to budget a minimum of $4800 in order to affect a national promotion campaign. And again, this figure is computed on only the radio promoter.
If this means delaying your release date by six months, or even a year, so be it. At least, you will be able to move consistently forward without worry of losing your recording financially in the middle of your marketing campaign, attempting to obtain a bank loan, or worse, borrowing money from family and/or friends later.
The worst that could happen from not establishing a promotion budget for your recording? Watching your recording collect dust and age as you scuffle daily to locate needy funds. Pay to Play? You Betcha! ___________________________________________________
Editor's Note: Kenny Love is President/CEO of Sachja Productions, a combined national radio promotion and press publicity firm. Sachja Productions accepts unsolicited recordings (compact disc only) in all music genres for review and consideration. Contact the organization at P. O. Box 701231, Dallas, Texas 75370. You can also telephone the company at (972)390-0529, Fax to (209)755-8329, or Email them at Likewise, you can receive complete automated information on the company by sending an Email request to
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