You Don’t Need Press To Be Successful (But It Certainly Won’t Hurt)

We received a lot of emails at Haulix from labels, publicists, and bands alike hoping to learn a few additional tricks or tips for better exposing whatever music they are working at that particular moment. We do our best to help everyone that comes to us, and we would hope many of you would respond in a similar manner, but recently we were contacted by someone seeking additional press who seemed to completely misunderstand what it is they needed in their career.

While coverage on blogs and in print is always helpful, it is not something every artist needs in order to be a success. In fact, history is littered with brilliant minds who lead long career in the arts without ever having a number one song or a feature in Billboard magazine. They probably wanted those things, of course, but in the long run they were not an essential part of a healthy career in entertainment.

So here’s what happened:

A call came in this week from an industry contact who shall remain nameless. During our chat, the person who called explained how they were running a label where almost every cost was covered by two very successful electronic artists. These artists have made literally millions of dollars from licensing and placements in everything from movies, to TV shows, advertisements, and even video games. They have been making money this way for years, all while continuing to release new music, but for one reason or another their label had struggled to garner much, if any, traction in the world of music journalism. Their artists were labeled as too electronic for rock blogs, but too rock driven for electronic blog, which left them feeling as if there were no place for them in the modern music business.

While we sympathized with the label owner and how he felt his artists were basically successful outcasts, we also felt that somewhere along the line the label owner had forgotten the point of press. Getting mentions on blogs and in magazines is something done by artists and their representation in order to generate more excitement for an upcoming release. While we could debate all day over the effectiveness of mentions on top music blogs as it relates to sales, the fact of the matter is that in this unique case the artists going uncovered by most members of the music journalism community had long proven their ability to financially succeed in the industry. They don’t need music blogs, or even music magazine to care about their efforts because clearly there is already a well-established demand for new content from them by people who have the power to make sure the artists in question can pay their bills (as well as the bills of their label).

If you or someone your represent are working full time on creating art, and by that I mean living a life that is not dependent on a second source of income, we urge you to not allow yourself to be frustrated if members of the journalism community do not take notice of those efforts. Just because someone with a blog or byline does not see the talent you or your artist possesses does not mean everyone else who has supported that act up to this point is somehow wrong or misguided. Headlines will come in time, but if you’re already paying your bills with music then you’ve already won the game of existing in this industry. You’ve reached a point of success most will never know, and you cannot allow the fact some teens and/or twenty-somethings don’t ‘get it’ hold you back. You don’t need them.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.