An Advertisement Wary Audience
Gone are the days where many record companies are willing to spend enormous sums of money to promote musicians through advertising. Can you blame them?
Faced with trying to reach an audience that increasingly becomes more fragmented, labels and promoters struggle with finding an audience that will sit still long enough to listen to an artist’s songs – let alone buy them.
Public relations practitioners should be thankful for America’s shrinking attention span. After all, it’s this lack of focus that has the smart record executives sinking their money into public relations. Where the music industry once held its distribution channels in an iron clad fist, the public relations practitioner is gaining an increasingly better foothold in the communication arena.
Public Relations and Advertising — Round One
So what is the difference between public relations and advertising? The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) answers this question in The new rules: Time to remember the difference between publicity and public relations, an article in the September issue of PR Tactics.
At its best, public relations focuses on developing mutually beneficial relationships with audiences.
Check out this blog entry on adsoftheworld.com for effective (and entertaining) illustrations of the difference between advertising, branding, marketing, and branding.
Without getting too technical, individuals in today’s society are wired to block out the thousands of messages that advertisers are pitching at them from moment to moment. Luckily for public relations practitioners, and the musicians they may represent, PR is about managing perception. It’s also about managing relationships.
What this means is that music industry professionals are increasingly turning to public relations practitioners as an economical and viable solution to the problem of reaching the ever elusive target audience.
PR practitioners are able to slip under the radar of message wary audience members through use of social media. For an example of social media in the music industry check out the band Three Miles Out on MySpace. The band’s website provides a fun platform to connect with fans and TMO’s music is pretty good too! In the interest of transparency, I need to include a disclaimer (this is a blog about PR after all). I have played a couple shows with these guys and consider them friends (they are a class act).
Whereas advertising tends to be akin to a one-sided shouting match, public relations practitioners can use social media relations to create dialogue (two-sided conversations) with the audience. The relationship that is established through these conversations may be much less guarded, on the part of the audience, and much more beneficial for the PR practitioner. Check out this presentation by Todd Andrlik (pronounced And-er-leck) for more on social media relations.
Common Social Media Forms:
Connecting the Dots
An audience group less on guard can mean that there is a greater chance that individuals will listen to what you are trying to say — read about the band — instead of tuning the message out.
Public relations practitioners hold reputation in high regard. They wield understanding and support to influence opinion and behavior. By carefully and continuously working to create and maintain goodwill and understanding between a client and its publics, PR cuts through the clutter of advertising messages and can gain exposure for a band or musician.