One Stop Shopping for Management and Public Relations

by Edna Landau

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Dear Edna:

I am a well-established soloist who has always booked and promoted myself. Once I reached middle age, I made numerous efforts to find an agent who can do for me what I’ve done for myself, only with more savvy and sophistication. But I’ve found that the most desirable agents are closed to people in my age group, and that typically they do not do promotional work. I’ve also learned that publicists don’t book engagements. It seems to me that one-stop booking and promo would make sense for everyone and that such dual-service entities would be the answer to many artists’ needs.  Are there no hybrid agent/publicists out there who perform both tasks? —-curious soloist

Dear curious soloist:

Your question is a very interesting one. It seems logical that managers who spend their entire working day seeking performance opportunities for their artists would be equally adept at pitching stories about them to the media and helping to develop their image and profile. One would also imagine that their complete familiarity with their artists’ careers would enhance their pitches to the press. In truth, the skills involved in fulfilling these responsibilities are different and both campaigns rely on a well-developed network of contacts that is built over many years. There is no overlap between these two networks. As a result, there are very few agencies that offer their artists both services. I am aware of Kirshbaum, Demler and Associates and Dworkin and Company in the U.S., and Konzertdirektion Schmid and PR2Classic in Germany. (All management agencies do employ staff to send out publicity materials to presenters who have engaged their artists and to field requests for interviews and radio/television appearances which may come into the management.) In the case of the four agencies mentioned above, artists pay separately for public relations. Not all of the artists on the roster avail themselves of these services, except in the case of Dworkin and Company, whose list is rather small. This is probably a good thing since the principals of those companies would probably burn out in no time from the potential stress of fulfilling both roles. It should also be mentioned that not all artists require an ongoing targeted publicity effort to be made on their behalf, in particular the younger ones. Those that do usually have high profile careers with fairly regular newsworthy developments that justify their paying extra for public relations assistance. In your case, it sounds as though you should continue to handle your booking arrangements or find a suitable partner, while seeking out a publicist for key projects such as commissions and recordings. Many publicists will accept such project work. You will pay a fee instead of a monthly retainer and will probably come out ahead of the game financially.

To ask a question, please write Ask Edna.

©Edna Landau 2012

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