What do you want to become?
DIRECTOR OF PUBLICITY
Alternate Career Titles:
PR Director, Publicity Director, Director of Publicity and Press Relations
Career Overview: Oversees the Publicity Department at record labels and is responsible for formulating and managing publicity campaigns.
Career Salary Range: $35,000 to $100,000+
Become a Director of Publicity
It is the Director of Publicity at a record company (get your record label contacts list) who oversees the entire publicity and/or PR department. He or she matches Staff Publicists with the Artists on the label. Then the Artist, their Manager, and the assigned Staff Publicists work together to develop what is hopefully a successful publicity campaign.
Once that campaign is developed, the Director of Publicity is responsible for all aspects of the campaign. Sometimes, with the label’s top Artists, the Director of Publicity will personally handle publicity requirements. In the case of smaller, independent record labels, the Director of Publicity may be the only person in the publicity department, and will handle all publicity functions.
When the Director of Publicity has a staff to work with, they all discuss strategies, media, or any problems that may have come up. The Director also meets with other department heads of the record label to talk about publicity campaign strategies. He or she also works closely with the label’s marketing and artist relations departments, along with the A & R and promotion departments.
How does the Director of Publicity get their information? They gather stats, data, and info from staff members in the form of publicity reports about each act they are assigned to. From there, the reports are passed along to various company executives.
The Director of Publicity is also in charge of approving all major publicity expenditures, including photo sessions, press parties, giveaways, and more. Also as Director of Publicity, he or she will make sure all campaigns remain on schedule. Of course, the favorable publicity each artist receives helps realize the overall goal of selling albums. It is in the Director’s best interest to attend press parties of all Artists in order to mingle and connect with the press.
The Director of Publicity at each record label usually works long hours in an attempt to publicize the label’s acts.
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Director salaries vary depending on the size of the record label and the level of experience and responsibilities of the individual. All things considered, salaries range from $35,000 to $40,000 annually. If the Director works with a relatively larger company with better-known acts, they can expect to earn between $40,000 and $55,000 per year. If you are a Director of Publicity at a major record label, salaries can range from $50,000 to $100,000 per year.
Like most other record label positions, competition is fierce. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to become Director of Publicity for a major record label without some type of experience. The usual track involves breaking in with a smaller, independent label and then moving up.
The Director of Publicity can advance their career by moving into the position of Vice President of Public Relations and Publicity. Also, he or she can find advancement by obtaining a Director of Publicity position with a larger, more prestigious record company. Of course, there is always the option for an individual to open their own firm to handle the publicity of their music industry clients.
Education and Training
While most Directors of Publicity have attended college, sometimes independent record companies (record label contacts) do not require a formal educational background, where larger, more prestigious labels might. Useful courses include public relations, communications, publicity, marketing and/or music merchandising. Aside from formal course learning, there are many industry-related seminars offered for the aspiring Director of Publicity to take part in.
Experience, Skills, and Personality
Experience in other publicity positions is usually something an aspiring Director has obtained before landing their position. Others have worked as Music Critics or Journalists. In terms of skills, the Publicity Director should have advanced skills in writing and communicating and should have the ability to supervise others.
Unions and Associations
The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is an option for the Publicity Director, along with the Country Music Association (CMA), the Gospel Music Association (GMA), and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS). Some of these associations provide internships, scholarships, seminars, and other assistance.
Suggestions for Getting Started
- Check classified sections of newspapers in the major music capitals.
- Try and gain experience at a small label to just get your foot in the door. You might be able to gain wide-ranging experience.
- Send your résumé and cover letter to personnel departments at different record companies. Also ask that your resume be kept on file.
- Check for openings that may be advertised in the classified section of trade publications like Billboard.
- Also check for openings online.