New music service Musosoup, aims to turn the music PR business on its head by allowing musicians to cut out the PR middlemen and deal directly with the music bloggers that support them. We consider the implications of this disruptive new approach.

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 music 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 the 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 guesstimate 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 to music PR

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 the artist). This is dramatically different to the £1,000 paid to a traditional music PR without any guarantees of press support. 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 traditional music 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 at The Takeover

Attend our online workshop with Musosoup for The Takeover Conference, the first online music conference for independent artists.

Submitting music to Right Chord Music

We’ve changed the way musicians submit music to the RCM blog. We’ve removed the reliance on email and now have a central online submission process. This new approach means when you submit to RCM your music doesn’t just sit unread in our inbox. Now all submissions are added to a database that can be viewed by our team of freelance writers. That means more chance of coverage and support for your music.

Words: Mark Knight, Founder Right Chord Music.

Links & further reading

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash