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Alternate Career Titles:
Press Agent, Flack Agent
Career Overview: Works to make sure artists and record labels are represented positively to the general public. Also arranges press kits, campaigns, and more.
Career Salary Range: $25,000 to $200,000+
Become a Staff Publicist
Staff Publicists are responsible for a variety of duties, but the main goal of the publicity department is to generate positive publicity for label-signed artists. Of course, this good publicity helps sell albums, which in turn leads to revenue for the record company (buy a current list of record company contacts here).
When first getting started, Staff Publicists perform many administrative tasks, including assembling press kits. As they progress in their position, they work to get an artist’s name in the news and publications, or on TV and the radio. This can be done by writing and distributing press releases, contacting media outlets, and arranging interviews. Press parties or press conferences can be arranged to announce anything of greater importance, like an album release, for example. A work day for a Staff Publicist involves a lot of email and phone conversations with media outlets. When they aren’t on the phone or online, they can be found writing press releases or attending industry parties, functions, or meetings.
In terms of whom the Staff Publicist works with, they usually work closely with the artist’s own personal Publicist or the PR firm as a whole. The difference between a personal Publicist and a Staff Publicist lies within the fact that the personal Publicist works to create an overall image for the artist, firm enough to solidify their place among the general public. Meanwhile, the label Publicists are mainly concerned with creating positive buzz to sell records.
Staff Publicists usually work with around 10 acts at a time, and are usually required to work long days, and then maybe go out to clubs, parties, and other functions to establish connections with the press or listen to the artists they represent. During tours, the Staff Publicist might work with a Tour Publicist and other tour personnel in order to generate publicity for the tour.
The Staff Publicist usually reports to the label’s Director of Publicity.
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Staff Publicist 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 $25,000 for a beginner or a small label publicist to $55,000 for a more experienced publicist at a larger label. The maximum salary for Staff Publicists can go up to $200,000 yearly, with the average salary usually hovering around $40,000 to $60,000 per year.
If a Staff Publicist has above average writing skills and is creative, they have a good chance of landing a position. Because of the fact that individuals move from label to label, there is a relatively high turnover rate for people in this department. To get started as a Staff Publicist, you’ll probably have to begin by doing clerical work that involves assembling press kits and more. Generally, a Staff Publicist position is more easily attainable than landing a gig as a Publicist at a high-powered PR Firm.
Advancement from a Staff Publicist position would be a move to a supervisory role, or the opportunity to handle more prestigious artists. Of course, Staff Publicists have the opportunity to take on roles with other record companies (get your Record Label and A&R contacts list here) as well, if prospects within their own label are lacking.
Education and Training
In general, a BA is required for this position. Useful courses or majors that help you prepare for a Staff Publicist position include public relations, marketing, advertising, merchandising music, journalism, or communications.
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Experience, Skills, and Personality
The ability to handle high-pressure situations and deadlines is necessary to find success as a Staff Publicist. They must also be able to write quality releases both professionally and creatively with interesting release angles. They must be considered a people person, with the ability to establish quality connections. Stamina and perseverance are also a must in order to endure the long hours often required of Staff Publicists. Having an appreciation of music, and especially having an interest in the music of the artists they are promoting is extremely helpful.
Unions and Associations
One of thebest-knownn organizations in the public relations field is the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), which offers seminars, booklets, magazines, and other helpful information. The individual might also belong to the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS).
Suggestions for Getting Started
- Try and find a record company that offers internships, even if they do not offer much or any pay. Some internships will give you college credit, depending on the internship and your college or university. Regardless of what duties you will actually be performing, the experience will be worthwhile, and you will have an improved chance of being hired after the internship ends.
- It never hurts to craft a resume and cover letter and then submit these with a writing sample to Personnel departments or the Publicity Directors of record companies.
- Employment agencies specializing in public relations and publicity jobs might be a useful avenue to explore.
- Be sure to regularly check trade pubs like Billboard and record label websites for any openings.