5 Top Music-Focused Firms Share Their Strategies and Inspirations

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Today we bring you a guest post by Devin Jacobs, a student at Berklee College of Music and an aspiring music publicist/manager. (He tells us that he loves spaghetti and meatballs.)

Over the course of the past decade, the music business has seen a sharp rise in independent publicists as traditonal, antiquated promotional tactics fall by the wayside.

PR as we know it has played an immense role in the digital revolution of the industry, from highly-scrutinized pop stars to rising underground acts. As fans and aspiring professionals, we decided to contact some of our favorite firms — shops that excel at building brand equity for their clients — to get their own takes on how they make it work.

(Please keep in mind that list is in no particular order.)

The Sixth Degree

Since its inception, The Sixth Degree has arguably proven itself to be one of the leading PR firms for the new age of the music business. Representing a range of clients with a focus on the EDM genre, this now-transatlantic company has helped hype artists like Zomboy and labels like Mutants Records by incorporating traditional PR and digital marketing with new techniques like Reddit AMAs:

“Our philosophy and approach to PR has always been to adapt to change, and drive innovation within everything we do. [The Sixth Degree] incorporates all facets of a client’s brand to create an entirely new product all together, while still accomplishing objectives beyond the end goal. We believe in developing one-on-one relationships with everyone we work with, be it journalists or company directors, and strive to deliver optimum results on every project. Each platform of publicity has something unique about it. You wouldn’t copy and paste a billboard ad onto the television, and we continue to crack the secrets of these new tools daily.”

Tom, Jacob, & Jenny

Get In! PR

Launched in 2008 by Jonathan Llewellyn, London-based Get In! PR has earned recognition as one of dance music’s most prestigious go-to firms. Representing all aspects of EDM from its festivals to individual superstar acts like Bingo Players, Bassnectar, Danny Avila, Fareoh, Flosstradamus, and Nicky Romero, the agency is driven by its love of the music:

“My philosophy for Get In PR has always been driven by one thing – passion. We are in this business, because of our love for the industry and our admiration for the people in it. Having been a part of it for the past eight years, we can testify that our business practices are inspired by our own personal and hands on experiences. Since we only work with clients that we truly believe in, we take a very personalized approach to PR.

Each campaign is specifically tailored to the client, capitalizing on their strengths and marketability. Whether acting as an extension of management, consulting on branding and marketing tactics, or using our worldwide network to position our clients globally, we pride ourselves as being a one stop shop agency. Our offices in London, New York, Thailand and soon to be Australia, are staffed with publicists that have been trained from the ground up through our rigorous internship program and are driven by the work that they do.”

-Jonathan Llewellyn

Toast Press

Known notoriously for representing some of electro-pop music’s newest breakthrough acts, Toast Press is the award-winning PR firm behind Lorde, Disclosure, AlunaGeorge, RAC, and others:

“Our philosophy at Toast is that you are only ever as good as your roster, and that has to be the key to everything for us – work with brilliant and exciting new artists and the media will continue to be interested. In that sense quite a lot of the job has an A&R aspect to it, with a similar mentality to running an independent label. Another key element is keeping attuned to ongoing developments and emerging trends in the media and digital landscape, and working creatively with both journalists and artists on campaigns”.

-Ruth & Beth Drake

MSO PR

Mitch Schneider started his career in music as an NYC-based freelance journalist for Rolling Stone in the mid-late 70′s before founding MSO PR, and as a former journalist he has an inherent grasp on the day-to-day functions of the “new” media.

Initially spun off from Levine/Schneider Public Relations, MSO PR now represents an astonishingly wide spectrum of artists from the old school (Aerosmith, Black Sabbath) to the new (Deadmau5, Armin Van Buuren).

When MSO PR opened its doors in February 1995, its roster included most of the employees from the music division at Levine/Schneider PR.

“What’s kept MSO PR going strong for almost 20 years is simple: we love what we do 100%, turning people onto artists’ music and cool festivals/events, all of which advances the culture and lifts people’s spirits. We’re honored to play a part in this.  Me? I am still the eight-year old kid on my front porch back in the Bronx, with my portable record player spinning songs like “Jimmy Mack” (Martha & the Vandellas) and saying to passersby, “ya gotta hear this!”

-Mitch Schneider

Biz3

Biz3’s co-founder Kathryn Frazier — recently named one of Rolling Stone’s “50 Most Important People In EDM” — has led national publicity campaigns for more than a decade now, representing clients in both the art and music communities. While her firm started in a “closet” at a Chicago club, they now represent more than 80 bands, rappers, authors, filmmakers, and visual artists from Daft Punk and Diplo to Vice Media’s “Guide to Travel” series.

The philosophy behind Biz 3 is somewhat simple in that it’s about trying to really understand what someone’s art is about and conveying that to the world as clearly and poignantly as possible. We want people to care as much as we do about these works. We have a process that sometimes runs through many eyes here before it goes out — even a simple line or two about a song or video will have been passed around amongst us to get it honed to its peak.

We want to keep artists away from day jobs. We want to share people’s art with the world. You only have one chance to introduce someone’s art to the world. These people spend hours, months, even years to create what is important to them, and they rely on us to do it justice. That goes for a fully orchestrated album or a four-minute booty rap song.

We might be different in our tactics — multiple people working on one project, doing non-press work beyond contacting editors and writers‎ like advising on art direction, styling, hooking people up on collabs, etc. But it’s really about rolling up your sleeves and creatively figuring out how to present something.”

-Kathryn & Dana 

What do we think, readers? What are your favorite music-focused firms?