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.
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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
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-
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Likewise, you can
receive complete automated information on the company by
sending an Email request to email@example.com.