Mark Clayden knows his way around the music business as a performer, record label owner and educator. For a full list of his accomplishments, see the end of this article. But for now, allow us to present the next installment of Your Music, Your Business, his no-nonsense series for MusicRadar.
I’ve written some simple, free, bite-sized, no bullshit blogs on how to get ahead as an artist or musician. You can read each blog in less than 90 seconds. My honest and helpful tips will get you and your music further faster.
I won’t make you famous, but I will make you better.
Most journalists, magazines and online reviewers won’t care about your music
2. Why don’t you like me?
Take a look at your feeds at any given moment. If Billie Eilish or Metallica so much as post a photo of their breakfast, it’s international news. You however will find yourself smashing your head against a brick wall, whilst falling to your knees and holding your hands up to the heavens whilst screaming “Please, just give me some press, any press, I’ll do anything!”
But there is hope…
3. Rookie error 101
Don’t be fooled by a press agent saying they can get you press if you pay them for their time. They cannot guarantee any press, but they can take your money and run. If you’re staring out, you don’t necessarily need an agent. You can do it yourself…
4. Do different
Doing stuff to get press can be simple, and it can be free, but it must be different, exciting and - most of all - simple for journalists, websites and social media to report on it.
Be brave with ideas, experiment, be different, stand out and get ahead. A metal band could give away a their own brand of whisky. A singer songwriter could read weekly bedtime stories. An indie band could all visit the grave of Ian Curtis - you get the idea.
5. Simple minds
Journalists are lazy (Hang on a minute - ed). Write the story for them, make it really clear, short, to the point and include a photo or graphic. Literally write up your press release, as it would feature on an established news site. If all a journalist has to do is copy and paste, what’s not to like?
6. Out with the old
Throw all of the done to death clichés on a bonfire: a launch party, a launch gig, a giveaway, a dumb story from the recording studio, a performance video. Please stop.
7. “Talent borrows. Genius Steals" - Oscar Wilde
If it's a good enough excuse for Wilde, it'll do for you. Search the web and see what up-and-coming bands are doing differently that is getting press coverage and attention, and use that as 'inspiration'.
Who is Mark Clayden, then?
Mark Clayden is the founding member, songwriter and bass player for Pitchshifter and This is Menace.
• Written, recorded and released eleven albums across eight record labels, including Geffen, MCA and Sanctuary, working with world-renowned producers such as Dave Jerden and Simon Effamy
• Toured over 30 countries at stadium level, including Australia, USA, Japan, Canada and Jamaica, with artists such as Iggy Pop,Black Sabbath, Public Enemy, Faith No More, Queens of the Stone Age, Incubus, Metallica, Deftones, Limp Bizkit, Korn and Ozzy Osbourne
• Performed on the main stages at Reading Festival, Vans Warped Tour, Download Festival, the Big Day Out and Ozzfest
• Recorded radio sessions for John Peel, Radio One and XFM
• Secured publishing deals with EMI, including placement of songs into Hollywood films international television shows, adverts and video games
• Founded, ran and managed his own record label, PSI Records
• For more info on Pitchshifter, see facebook.com/Pitchshifter.uk