Guide To PR And Management For Artists
We spoke to Claire Collins, owner of Bossy Music, an independent management and PR company, to learn all about publicity and management for artists.
Who do you represent currently?
I manage the band Art vs Science and solo artist D.D Dumbo and we currently handle the the publicity for Lorde, Chet Faker, Dustin Tebbutt, Flume, Gotye, The Kite String Tangle, Banks, the Laneway Festival and more.
When should a band or artist think about getting a manager or publicist?
The point at which an artist ‘needs' a manager varies hugely and it really depends on the artist and how hands-on and interested they are about learning about the business, as well as their ability to find someone that they respect and trust. There is obviously a financial cost that comes with having both a manager and a publicist, so that it something to consider. I generally don’t work with artists on the publicity side until they have a manager and a release or tour plan. The release could be one song or EP and 6 months away - but there needs to be content and a plan to work with.
What is the difference between a manager and publicist?
Basically the manager oversees all aspects of the artists’ career - recording, releasing, touring, building the team, business management, emotional needs! Managers work on a commission basis (usually around 20%). A publicist oversees the way the artist is presented to the media - their role includes sending or ‘servicing’ music to radio, online, TV and press, setting up interviews and coming up with interesting editorial pitches, writing press releases and prioritising requests when there is a high demand. Publicists charge retainers or a campaign fee.
Is there usually a contract involved?
Yes. Management contracts should be checked over by your lawyer. PR agreements are less onerous - I just have a simple one-page document.
What makes a good bio?
A good one is short and snappy! If you’re a new artist, keep it to a few paragraphs. State the facts.
Is there a right or wrong when it comes to writing a bio?
Avoid hyperbole and get someone to proofread for spelling and grammatical errors - journos are your audience and sloppy presentation is a real turn-off. Include a photo or logo so readers can understand your aesthetic but don’t worry about going over the top with the design. If it’s a PDF, keep it under 2MBs.
How much humour is too much in a bio?
It’s hard to get right. Show a few people and ask yourself: does anyone other than Mum find it funny? Is humour part of your brand? It’s a risk, but when it pays off it’s great - Meredith Music Festival write amazing press releases and Client Liaison are currently putting in some good work.