Media Gatekeepers – they’re the ones who decide whether or not your music is worthy enough to earn massive exposure. They’re the bloggers, the radio DJs, the music supervisors, A&R execs at major labels, prominent artist managers, radio station program directors, music magazine editors, big venue talent buyers, playlist curators, etc. The ones who decide which artists get their songs heard. And they’re the people that most musicians often can’t seem to figure out.
Once you start to learn about people in positions of power, you begin to see that they’re not nearly as hard to decipher as you might have thought. Figuring them out doesn’t mean, however, that getting them to listen to your music will be easy, but it does mean that you’ll have a better chance of getting through to them. So to help you break down the walls, here are a few things to keep in mind about these music industry “gatekeepers.”
Those in the industry who have the ability to break new artists might have important jobs or large audiences, but for the most part, they’re pretty normal people. What makes them special is not that they’re different from us, but that they’re just like us. Even though we all enjoy playing and listening to music, we each have our own individual tastes and preferences that inform how we act as musicians and music lovers.
The same applies to music industry gatekeepers, and not just in the sense of what style of music they like. Some people like to stream tracks while others prefer digital downloads. Some like to communicate on social media while others prefer email. Some will read your press releases while others will throw them straight in the trash. On top of that, these preferences are often exclusive. If there’s a music supervisor who only likes to stream songs and you send them a download link, there’s a pretty good chance that they’ll never listen to your song – not because they have anything against you, but simply because they don’t like downloading music.
So if you want to get in touch with someone in the music industry, learn how they like to be contacted, learn how they like to listen to music, and learn what sort of music they’re interested in. This will give you a much better chance of not only getting on their radar, but making a strong first impression as well.
If you take the busy-ness factor into consideration, learning the preferences of the person you’re trying to contact becomes all the more important. Some never read press releases, so sending him / her one would be a waste of not only his / her time but your time as well. And instead of reading press releases, some decide which albums to listen to based on their cover art. So if you want your track to be played together with all songs considered, investing in good cover art design would make a lot more sense before hiring a publicist.