The short answer is no, but it helps.
Many bands launched their success thanks to social media. The “Myspace era” band rose to fame on the back of vigorous networking on the website, becoming “friends” with potential fans, chatting with them via their “walls”, posting bulletins promoting their latest shows, and from thousands of people having their songs automatically playing when you clicked on their profile.
I mean, many bands still do online self promotion now through Facebook and Twitter, but neither of them have the sense of closeness and community that Myspace did. Bands such as Arctic Monkeys have a lot to thank to Myspace as this is where they largely got their popularity from, as do bands such as Bring Me The Horizon and my personal favourites Enter Shikari. The latter still going strong as a mostly DIY project, with family members stepping in as management, setting up their own record label, and organising their own tours, whilst still maintaining a close relationship with hundreds of thousands of fans worldwide.
Enter Shikari’s ‘Sorry You’re Not A Winner’ – A song that defines a generation.
But not every band were as lucky. If you were lucky enough to make your big break in the Myspace era, when the generation was defined by the music they listened to, then you were definitely in the right place at the right time.
Mainstream record labels have in house public relations, but it isn’t as easy for smaller, independent artists who want to make their break. There are different types of music PR firms. You’ve got your big dog agencies, such as Showcase PR, who handle some of the biggest artists in the world – Beyonce, Rihanna, Justin Bieber and Eminem to name a few – these agencies will set you back thousands a month, realistically, you’ll already be known and have an established music career when you sign up with an agency such as Showcase. Then you’ve got your mid-size boutique agencies, such as Prescription PR and Public City PR, these agencies will usually be run by only a few staff, often deal in a certain genre of music and usually only have a handful of artists on their books. Then lastly, you’ve got the one person music PR agencies, such as Domino PR, and in the beginning of your career, this is probably the best option as they don’t tend to have many artists on their roster and often focus on one campaign at once, therefore giving you more support and time.
Signing up to a PR agency can do several different things for your music career – firstly, hiring a publicist already creates an air of credibility around your band, they can make up campaigns to promote your music and brand, media relations, press releases, blogger relations, crisis management, they can also manage your social media accounts if you wish. Of course, you could do all of these yourself too, but it takes time and effort to do every aspect of PR, and when many artists and bands have an already hefty schedule which include extensive touring, studio time, writing music, as well as actually having a social/family life. It can get hard to fit PR into this schedule, and it’s important to have down time to kick back and binge watch Star Trek isn’t it?!
It’s never too early to sign up with a PR company to help you grow and expand your fan base, whether you have one studio album or ten, a PR team will become an extension of your band and share your vision, walk alongside you and help you achieve your dream to becoming the next Metallica…maybe!