A publicist is someone who promotes someone or an organization. 
That is how the dictionary defines the word. 
You may not realize it, but there are many artists in the music industry who think that all
a publicists has to do is make a call to any of the TV networks, major trade
magazines, and get them a guest appearance and interviews, even though they do
not have a record in the charts, have not had a record in several years, or
they are still thinking that they are in the major loop of the music industry

Sorry, but that is not living in the real world. Publicists
pride themselves on having access to all media, and a
good publicist is only as good as what an artists gives him to
work with.
The indie artists are the ones that I really feel for them because it is a tough assignment to
take someone that no one knows, and get them media and radio attention. 
No one knows but the publicists, the job that they take on with a
n indie
artist, veteran artists whose career is not where it
once was, or an artists who is over 40 years old who does not realize that
their chances of becoming a superstar are not good, and then are those artists
who even though they are older, singing great, looking great, great songwriters,
and have vocals as good as any young artists who might be celebrating a record
in the radio charts, these artists are still going to have a difficult time
being successful.  Most of the time it is better to be a regional
successful artist then to jump into the deep waters of the country music
I am not trying to discourage veteran artists, older artists, or indie
artists from pursuing their dreams, but I want them
to realize up front, the job that a publicists is up against to further the
career of any artist.  Publicists need information to send out, maybe a
new single release, a new CD project, special personal appearances, any awards
received, etc.  A publicists is not a booking agent, he is someone who
works for the artists’ benefit to access the media in a specific genre,
not just country music, AND THAT IS HIS JO
He helps push the artists who
had hit records, for guest appearances on TV shows, especially talk
shows.  But the one factor that stands above everything else that a
publicist does, is when a
new artist signs
with a PR company,
no CD, no track record, and
is totally unknown to the music industry, the artist should know that before he
needs a publicist, he needs a record that is getting good airplay that

will produce personal appearances, AND THEN HE
  A known
publicist is not inexpensive, so get ready to pay the price of getting your
name out there to the media and the general public if you are new.  If you
are a veteran or a new artist who has a successful record being played on
radio, or already on the charts, then it is time to find a good
publicists.  A experienced publicists can do wonders for an artists’
career, and the money is normally worth every penny.  Then there are those
who take the money, give the promises, and nothing happens to enhance the
artists’ career.  A good publicists has a database built around the
entire media of the artist they represent in the field of music the artist is
working in.
You cannot and should not sign with a PR firm if you think that
all good things are going to happen overnight, because that is not the
case.  It takes a publicist time to acquaint the media to a new artists,
or to re-establish a veteran artist or a legend.  Time takes its toll on
an aging industry, which makes it difficult for veteran artists, because new PR
firms many times have younger publicists who do not know who the legend or
veteran artist is.  Still there are those artists who believe in what they
are doing and want as much success as time will allow them, and if the
publicists is honest, he will meet with the artists and explain the facts of
life of the music industry, so there is no possibility that the artist will
come back and say, “You promised me this and that, and it never
  Good publicists will lay the cards on the table and
make sure the artists knows the reality of what the publicists can do and
cannot do. 
guess we can call that laying down the ground rules between artist and
publicist.  Just as long as everyone is on the
same page, that is the honest way.  And a publicists is not someone that
you call every hour to find out what is happening in your career.  Let the
publicists get back to you as he makes headway, or if he is having a tough time
moving things forward for you, then maybe you and the publicists should have a
meeting to talk about why things are difficult in getting PR for you. 
That meeting should never take place after you have a contract for
representation with a PR firm, that conversation should take place before you
Remember, the artist must provide all of the news for his
publicists to make things happen.  If the artist just sits home and waits
for the phone to ring to tell him that he is going to make a guest appearance
on the David Letterman Show, (we hope that happens), but you shouldn’t
hold your breath.  Stay in touch with your publicists, give him news of
your special personal appearances, benefits you might be involved
in, name artists you are on the same show with, and
how your record is doing. 
No artist needs a publicists until they have a CD completed
for the publicists to listen to.  Make sure you have a first-class
promotion package for the publicists to review.  Have your career in order
to make the publicists job easier when he presents you to a booking agency, a
promoter, a major record label, TV guest appearances, and interviews,
etc.  And please, please do not record your CD in someone’s basement
or apartment thinking the sound is going to be as good as a well-produced
recording session here in Nashville where the musicians make their living
playing on recording sessions.  Yes it costs more money to record in top
A studio’s, who
hire only studio musicians who are the
best.  What I am trying to get across is for an artist not to record in their bathroom
with a tape recorder.  Do it the right way or do not do it at all. 
Stay a big fish in a little pond until you are ready to show your
talents to the people that can promote your talents, and then maybe you might
be ready to be a big fish in this large pond we call country music.  The
radio stations of today can hear a home cut session quicker than you can blink
your eye, and 90% of the time they will not play any cuts off of your CD.
 It’s your choice-so make the right choice.  There are
very few artists who have been successful doing things the cheapest way
possible.  Find yourself an investor to help you financially. 
Don’t rob your piggy bank, don’t take money from your
children’s college, or DON’T TAKE A SECOND MORTGAGE!!!!
Give the publicist something to work with.  Publicists cannot
promote without having the tools to work with,
but even if you give the
publicists the tools he needs to work for you, that
does not mean that you are going to be another Alan Jackson or Carrie
Underwood, it just means that you are serious about your career, and if you do
your job to help your career, then possibly you might have a chance of getting
noticed in this short area of successful country artists.
Yes a publicists can be so important in your career, but do not
think that you can just sign with a publicists and the whole world is going to
come knocking at your door.  If you have perseverance and the passion for
the music to have a successful career, then you have
climbed a couple
of hills instead of mountains, and oh yes, it does
not hurt to be financially able to pursue your career.  It does take money
and I am sure you have heard the stories of artists who have spent enormous
amounts of money with no great results.  Many come to Nashville with their
pockets lined with money and leave with their dreams shattered, and they are
broke.  Money allows you to present your talents in a first-class way, but
does not mean you will be the next superstar.  YOU MUST HAVE TALENT. 
I turn down 3-4 artists a week, because I would be doing more harm to them in
signing them, knowing that there is no chance the artist will ever climb the
mountain of success that they hoped for.  Sometimes these type of artists
do not like what I tell them, and they think I am crazy to turn their money
down, but in the long run, I know what is the right way.
Please know that there are some great publicists in
Nashville, who really know their business and they will want to interview you
to see if it is worth your time and their time to work together.  Good
Luck and if you have talent, then never give up. 

Marty Martel©

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