What Are the Different Tiers of Music Publicity Campaigns?

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Publicity can be kind of confusing. Even more so when you start to get into the weeds of what to expect with the different tiers of music publicity. And if I’ve just lost you there and you’re thinking “wait what? Tiers? What are you talking about?” stick with me, because you’re not alone in that. 

Especially when so many independent musicians are their own publicists, marketers, managers, bookers, and everything else they need to be to create a successful career, it can feel difficult to understand what exactly PR is and how it’s beneficial. But understanding the different tiers is the first step to that.

This post looks specifically at hiring publicists but if you want to run your own campaign, check out our post, “How to DIY Your PR Campaign” on Flypaper.

Please note that while I’m going to include rough price estimates so that you can get an idea of what to budget, these are just estimates. Every company will have their own system based on the level of artists they work with, how well known and respected they are in the industry, the placements they’ve had for their artists, and so on.

Tier 1: Getting Your Feet Wet

$500-$1500/month

I like to describe this tier as the place most emerging artists start. At this stage you’ve probably either never had PR before or are just looking for a very small amount of press for a smaller release. This can be a good way to get your feet wet and start accumulating press, figuring out your brand and test different messages or strategies.

It’s usually a cheaper option because you’re not getting the same level of support as someone who is looking for a full strategy or wanting a lot of press. So if you only want a handful of pieces of coverage and already feel pretty solid on your branding this is a good option.

The other time this is a good option is if you’re planning to release a lot of songs over the course of the year and this is one of the songs you want to get some press for but don’t need a ton like your other singles.

In short, this is the cheapest option but it’s not the option you want to pick solely for that reason. It’s cheaper because you’re not getting the whole PR package. Most of the time you won’t be getting branding and messaging assistance, you won’t be getting a full strategy surrounding the release or hands-on support. You’ll get a few pieces of coverage to get you going though and that can be a great start.

And speaking of various price tiers…

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Tier 2: All-In for Indie Artists

$2500/month and up

This is for artists that have been at it a while and are ready to pour their resources into their next release, or who really do need the whole package. (Which honestly….is most indie artists.) Your publicist will come on at this point to first help you with solidifying (and maybe even identifying) your brand, working on your messaging (what angles to use for press and different strategies for each), and overall strategy for the coarse of the campaign.You’ll get more hands on support and in most cases, much more coverage. 

You might think this means you have to be an established, well known artist for this to work but that’s not true. In fact, a lot of artists come to us for this package when they’ve been struggling with building a fanbase and getting traction and need our help to re-work their branding and messaging. We help them with all of that and then do a press campaign around their new release.

This is for artists who are ready to go all in on their career and accept help.

+ Read more on Flypaper: “Your Fans Want to Hear Your Narrative: Crafting a Story for Your Music Career.”

Tier 3: Major Label Campaign 

This is for the major label artists. I didn’t include a price for this because it’s usually going to be part of your label deal and will vary so much depending on if they use in house or not for publicity anyways.

At this level, you still have to participate in PR activities like doing interviews or (hopefully) sharing the coverage that people post about you, but you aren’t out there looking for your own publicist or working with them one on one. Usually that will be your manager handling that.

However, keep this in mind as you grow — you can usually request to bring your team with you, so just like you’d bring your manager on as you get signed, if you have been working with a publicist you really like, you can request the label work with them on the next release. 

Final Thoughts 

PR campaigns are all about building awareness and visibility and bringing you more fans. The way you do that and the tier you choose will determine how that plays out, but the important thing is to make PR an essential part of your overall strategy. It’s a key player in your success, so ask yourself: What do I need to do to make the most of this release? And what can take me there? 

Don’t stop here!

Continue learning with hundreds of lessons on songwriting, mixing, recording and production, composing, beat making, and more on Soundfly, with artist-led courses by Kimbra, JlinKiefer, RJD2, Ryan Lott, and of course, Com Truise: Mid-Fi Synthwave Slow-Motion Funk

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