New music service Musosoup, aims to turn the music PR business on it’s head by allowing musicians to cut out the PR middle men and deal directly with the music bloggers that support them. We consider the implications of this disruptive new approach.
NB Right Chord Music has no financial stake or involvement in Musosoup. We just think this is a game changer.
Earlier this year we wrote an article urging unsigned bands to stop wasting their money on radio pluggers. The article might have annoyed a few pluggers but hey! more importantly it resonated with artists who unanimously agreed that their financial outlay was not returned by direct promotional value. In the article we proposed an alternative approach that focused on fans, social media and Spotify.
Our work with The Daydream Club and Broken Witt Rebels further demonstrates our desire to challenge the status quo and consider disruptive, alternative approaches. With the launch of new service Musosoup it seems the perfect time to reconsider how unsigned bands approach the task of gaining coverage on music blogs.
The traditional music PR model for unsigned artists
Band and artists hire a PR consultant or agency, spending between £500 and £1,500 per release to help secure blog coverage to promote a single, album or EP release.
The bands I have managed in the past have been told by PRs that it’s unlikely they will get much coverage with a first single. If however, they work with them for three releases (£1,500 – £4,500) the chances of coverage will be much higher. How convenient! It really is an expensive business for self-funded artists.
What you get when you engage a PR
- Firstly a warning that there are no guarantees of any press coverage at all
- A professionally written press release (although as somebody in the business once told me, ‘the best PRs are often the worst writers’ so be prepared to edit what they are saying about you!)
- The distribution of the press release and music links to their database of music blogs and publishers
You would hope to receive regular updates during and after your campaign detailing who has been contacted and who is covering you. However, from experience there is no guarantee you will receive any such reporting. All too frequently once you have paid your money unless you get press, you won’t hear anything again.
At the end of the campaign, you are frequently left pondering: Who did they contact? Was there any feedback? How hard did they really try? Did I get value for money?
What returns can you expect?
The amount and quality of coverage you achieve is obviously down to a number of factors: The quality of the marketing, the quality of the song and the strength of the relationships between the PR and the blogs.
Over the last ten years working with a variety of unsigned artists I would ‘quesstimate’ the average campaign delivers four pieces of music blog coverage. Based on an average spend of £1,000 per campaign that equates to £250 per feature. When you consider that only one or two pieces of coverage will be on blogs that offer genuine reach and credibility, the cost per result further sky-rockets. Too often the press you do receive will be posted and buried by lunchtime the same day. At this point the value of PR to unsigned artists really has to be questioned.
Musosoup offers an alternative
Musosoup is the brainchild of Chris Sharpe from Lost In The Manor a promoter, label, blog and PR! (one of the good ones!). It’s fair to say, even as a PR he considered there might be a better solution. Musosoup offers a simple and more cost efficient solution that benefits both unsigned musicians and blogs.
Benefits to unsigned musicians
Unsigned artists register on Musosoup and submit their music by adding a biog and the normal streaming links. All submissions are reviewed by the Musosoup team, to ensure high quality submissions. The team will let you know if you are missing anything.
Meanwhile registered blogs and writers will be notified and given the chance to review the submissions, when they find something they love, they make the artist an offer. That could be anything from a review, to an interview, a playlist feature or even a live session. For example: ‘We will review your album for £5.00 and spend a further £5 promoting the feature on Facebook’. If the artist agrees, the blogger gets to work. Once the review is complete it is shared with the artist, payment is only released by Musosoup once the work is complete and the musician is happy.
Musosoup delivers a dramatically more cost efficient solution for artists
Using this approach four pieces of quality, promoted blog coverage might only cost you £40.00. (NB prices are set by the individual blog and agreed by with the artist). This is dramatically different to the £1,000 paid to a traditional PR without any guarantees of press. This pay as you go approach is a game changer for unsigned artists.
We can hear the purists amongst you already saying, ‘you shouldn’t be paying for coverage’. But we would counter, you shouldn’t be paying not to get coverage! Moreover, would you really prefer to pay the PR middleman or the people that actually do the work? For us it’s a no brainer.
How much do musicians spend on promoting their music?
Research conducted as part of the RCM Music Census highlights that unsigned artists typically fall into two camps. The majority 67% spend less than £100 to promote the music they release, typically relying on promoted social posts and adverts. Meanwhile 29% spend more than £100 but less than £3,000.
While access to a traditional PR services has been reserved for the minority, Musosoup’s offer has the potential to level the playing field, offering coverage to the high quality artists who typically can’t afford their services. As a music blog that focuses on unsigned bands and independent artists, this aspect of the service really appeals to us.
Musosoup for Right Chord Music
I founded Right Chord Music in 2011, and since then the blog has continued to grow and it was recently ranked among the Top 50 UK music blogs and websites. As the RCM blog has grown so have the number of emails we receive. At the time of writing this we have over 2,000 unread music submissions. There is only so many hours in the day, and sadly RCM is not my full-time job. From time to time we attract new writers, but when we can’t pay writers we struggle to retain them.
The Musosoup model allows us to retain writers by paying them for their time. Quite simply we can cover more music and promote it more effectively through paid social posts.
At Right Chord Music we trust our writers, if they love music we allow them to write about it. Musosoup also ensures the music and content on their platform meets a basic quality threshold. Nothing is published on Right Chord Music without my final approval. With this in mind I am confident editorial standards won’t be compromised by our writers receiving payment.
For these reasons, to submit music to Right Chord Music we encourage you to join Musosoup.
Words: Mark Knight, Founder Right Chord Music.
Links & further reading
- Visit Major Labl for unsigned artists
- Artists & writers register for Musosoup
- Join the Right Chord Music editorial team by sending examples of your work
- Read other Right Chord Music thought pieces