VIDEO: Rob Potylo talks with Presskit.to
Below, Rob talks about his experience in the Boston music scene, filming season five of Quiet Desperation, his new show on WEMF Radio, and the artist & musician community he represents.
What To Expect From The MIDEM Conference
A brief recap and some insight from my first trip to MIDEM
Now in its 47th year, MIDEM continues to be the place where leaders in the global music & entertainment industry meet to conduct business, show off their country’s musical heritage, pitch opportunities they have in their markets, and stay up late for VIP parties and networking at the Majestic Barriere or Carlton.
It’s different than any other industry festival I have attended; everything takes place in the Palais de Festivals during the day and is then split between two hotel bars at night with shows sprinkled in between. It isn’t crowded like 6th Street in March or spread across a giant city in October; it’s nestled in the small French Riviera town of Cannes. You can develop strong relationships with other conference goers and find time to squeeze in a demo or impromptu meeting, a crucial opportunity to get things done and take advantage of the time you have here.
Not only is MIDEM a great place for developing actionable relationships, its attendees represent the world’s vast music markets. Sponsorship managers from brands like VW & Red Bull, music supervisors from Bollywood, record label heads, marketing execs, distributors, innovators, and non-profits looking to promote their talent to a global market, are all there. It was an awesome experience and really excited me on the prospects of working with more artists and companies outside of the States.
I was fortunate to attend this years MIDEM as an official speaker after years of failed attempts due to timing & budgetary concerns (afterall, we are a startup). Through sheer luck, I was invited by our friend Marcus Taylor of Venture Harbour and the fine folks at MIDEM to give an hour-long lecture at Midem Academy.
“Midem Academy provides you with concrete and practical skills through courses on entrepreneurship, new business models and marketing to truly help you accelerate your career and boost your business.”
I chose to host a talk called “It’s Not All About Likes - Effective B2B Communication in a Direct-To-Fan Economy” which touched on the importance of improving the communication streams between artists and decision makers, brand managers, sponsors, agents, publishers, the media, and the like. In today’s social media world, it’s crucial to keep up on ways of better communicating your art to those who can move it forward, and we at Presskit.to are committed to helping talent and their representatives do just that - move their careers forward. We plan to share a recording of my talk in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for that!
I saw incredible speakers, workshops, panels, and startups pitching their ideas for new revenue streams in the industry. It was an honor to be in attendance and on top of that, be an official speaker. I highly encourage this conference to anyone seriously looking to build or maintain a sustainable career in the music industry. The festival producers and staff were incredible. Everything ran super smoothly, and I’m looking forward to attending and (hopefully) speaking at it again in 2015.
In a nutshell, MIDEM is:
- A place to develop strong professional relationships.
- A place to learn about what other music markets are doing to grow their economies.
- A place to network with like-minded people dedicated to contributing something great to their industry.
- A place to discover new trends and talent in developing markets.
- A place to make things happen.
Advice for 1st timers:
- Search through the MIDEM directory of attendees and panelists before you go to make a “hit list” of people you want to meet
- Reach out with enough time to introduce yourself and set up meeting times or locations while in Cannes
- Bring more business cards than you think you need - and make them nice - don’t go cheap or single sided - make them stand out. In fact, you should make a Presskit and include your URL on your card!
- Dress is business casual. It’s Europe so nobody judges anyway. Be comfortable and confident - that’s more important than anything.
- Take notes - write down names and why they were relevant to you at the time. This will make you more effective with follow-ups later.
- Play nice - we’re all in the same industry so leave your ego at the airport.
If you have any questions or would like to share your own experience at MIDEM let us know in the comments below!
Announcing An All New Presskit Theme: Gray Steel!
To our amazing Presskit.to users!
It has been a little over a year since we released Presskit.to into public beta and we couldn’t be happier with how far we’ve come in such a short time. With your help, we have grown to over 4,000 creative users who are building & distributing Presskits to promote their initiatives. We’re also working with some really top level names in the industry, from chart-topping artists like Karmin, to fine arts institutions like Berklee College of Music and label service legends Caroline Distribution (UMG). My team and I have heard some incredible success stories of how our ‘kits have helped users get professional representation, press or blog coverage, sponsorships, gigs, jobs, scholarships and new customers, and it’s an honor to have played a role in these developments.
One of the coolest things we’ve discovered is that musicians aren’t the only creators using Presskit.to; Actors, comedians, producers, directors, authors, voice-over artists, public speakers, app developers, and even street performing contortionists are building ‘kits to promote their creative talents. I’ve already been a professional carnie, musician, tour manager, marketing director, label exec., session player, and now - an aspiring tech entrepreneur. It makes perfect sense for us to create a tool that caters to the greater Creator community, which is why I’m extremely excited to announce our new theme that we’re calling “Gray Steel”. It’s a little more gray than blue, but it’s still really, really, really ridiculously good looking.
Doug, our fearless CTO and our Dev Wizard, Mr. Steve Callan have been working their butts off on this new look and functionality after numerous discussions we had with musicians, actors, directors, and publicists looking to have a “Media Spotlight” section at the top of each ‘kit. This addition allows actors to put their reel front & center without making people go to the videos section of the media tab to view it, or for musicians to highlight a new track or video.
Introducing Gray SteelGray Steel brings many slick layout changes to the Presskit that you can see first hand on Gentlemen Hall’s Presskit embedded below. SAY WHAT?! A fully-functional Presskit embedded into a blog post? Hot damn. That’s kinda cool…
Switching your Presskit to Gray Steel
As we roll out the new theme it will be included with all Classic or paid plans (SOLO, INDIE, PRO, PREMIER, etc.) but we’re also offering it to Starter users for a limited time for a one-time purchase of $5 because we really think everyone should use it!
Exciting New Features
Along with releasing Gray Steel, we snuck in a few new features that have been some of our most requested yet. You can read more about them and watch quick little videos on the Gray Steel page, but we’re excited to give you personalized background images for each of your Presskits, "Wimages", which allow you to accompany your Wins with press clippings and related artwork, and most importantly a new Media Spotlight section so you can easily call attention to your newest or most important song (or playlist), video or image. We’ve also added a ton of new link icons for services that you’ve requested.
Thank you all for being with us as we continue to grow and develop tools to help advance your career. We care deeply about helping artists of all disciplines find ways to build sustainable careers in the arts, and we couldn’t do it without you and your feedback. Please let us know what you think of our service and request the new theme when you have a second. I promise you won’t be disappointed!
Make it happen!
THE EPK Management Solution for Creative Business
The result is what we call Presskit.to for Business, a talent asset management solution designed to centralize the creation, organization, management and distribution of EPK’s and other promotional assets across an entire talent roster. It’s a fully complementary service to Presskit.to’s current offering for individuals, and will now be referred to as the company’s flagship product. And here’s why…
We Saw A ProblemThe use and popularity of EPKs have grown faster than the ability to manage them. This is particularly true for music labels, management agencies, and other companies catering to multiple creative professionals. They have multiple artists, with multiple assets, being managed by multiple departments and staffers. The result is a fragmented and chaotic state of affairs which we aim to solve.
How We Solved ItWhile the larger major labels might have an antiquated, proprietary system in-house for managing all this, smaller independent distributors, labels, or management firms typically rely on email, Dropbox, and Facebook. This is what Presskit.to for Business addresses. It gives managers, marketing staff, and others responsible for promoting talent the tools to centralize these assets into one system, resulting in better communication, quicker approvals, and more efficient promotion of their artists.
With Presskit.to for Business, companies of all sizes can build as many electronic press kits as they need, and:
- Organize Presskits in our new Business Networks built specifically for teams
- Assign access and permissions to multiple administrators
- Collaboratively collect, review, and approve talent assets
- Create standardized EPKs with custom branding options
- Easily share clients’ Presskits with the media, retail, venue bookers and intermediaries
A Music Company Use CaseFor instance, let’s say a music distribution company has signed a legacy act who just left their label deal. This agency is charged with distributing and promoting new music from this act, but there are several challenges in doing so. First, the lineup has changed over the years. There are multiple bios for the band, outdated promotional shots, a mashup of official and unofficial social media profiles, and all kinds of YouTube videos and SoundCloud streams scattered across the Internet. Second, charged with pulling all this together are multiple divisions within the new distribution company. There’s the digital marketing group, the radio promotion group, the retail and product management group, the tour marketing group, and consumer press/publicity. All need to work from the same collection of assets approved for use, but in many cases have little exposure to the activities of the other, so there’s always a concern that one group is working with different assets than the other.
Launching with Caroline MusicAs proof of the need, we’re pleased to announce that Caroline Distribution, one of the largest independent music distribution companies in the world, as our launch client. They’re not only using Presskit.to to create EPKs for all their distributed labels, they’re using Presskit.to for Business as the talent asset management system on the backend. It’s an honor to be working with them and we’re looking forward to seeing the long term results of them using our system.
One of the more interesting things about the Internet is that for every problem it solves, another is created. It’s why so many startups have emerged to “disrupt” this industry or that; and it’s why each disruption inevitably leads to the need for another solution. EPKs disrupted the process of artist promotion, and in doing so created the need to bring order to the decentralized environment that resulted. We feel we created the best, most sophisticated cross-platform EPK platform available in Presskit.to. Presskit.to for Business is the next logical step.
Make it happen!
To learn more about Presskit.to for Business and how it can help your company or to ask any questions, please contact Aidan Rush at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (303) 638 9450.
Back to Our Roots. Hands On, Personalized Services For YOU & Your Presskit!
Up until the time we created Presskit.to, we ate, slept, and breathed artist development and music marketing. While we’ve never regretted our decision to dive into the deep end to create a web app that helps thousands of artists instead of just the few on our roster, we’ve always missed that side of the industry. Now, with our feet firmly under us in the tech world, we’re very excited to announce that we’re getting back to our roots with Presskit.to’s new boutique service offerings.
Whether you need us to build or manage your Presskit, craft a press-worthy bio or pitch, tighten up your branding with a new logo or PDF onesheet, or just want to talk shop and figure out a strategy that’s best suited for the current stage of your project, our team is here to work with you to make it happen.
We’re looking forward to supporting your career in any way possible. Likewise, if you have any questions or specific requests that you don’t see listed on the site, please feel free to contact us.
If we can’t help, we most likely know someone who can!
- Ben, Chris, and the Presskit.to team
To redeem the coupon just include it in your email when ordering!
26 Angels Video Tribute
Today marks the one month anniversary of a tragic and horrific incident in Newtown, CT. in which a troubled gunman wreaked havoc at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 20 children and 6 adults. The incident shook not only the quiet Connecticut community, but the entire nation, bringing issues like gun control and mental health to the forefront.
This tragic incident has, however, brought together a slew of people across the nation who have stepped up to help in any way they can. For some this means volunteering locally to help victims’ families, donating time for those grieving to ease the pain. Others help by donating gifts, charms, and kind gestures to those who have lost so much. And for a few, like Director Ben Proulx and Singer/Songwriter Justin Cohen, the gift they could contribute was art shared through music and cinema.
The two directed and produced the “26 Angels Video Tribute”, a video made to heighten awareness for a campaign that will raise money to build the Newtown Memorial Park and the Sandy Hook Arts Center for Kids. All of the money raised will be going towards these causes. I am proud to have co-produced the video, and am now managing much of the fundraising and partnership efforts for the campaign.
Everything came together very quickly, with the video being shot on December 26th and released on New Year’s Day. We made the Presskit.to/26angels page to get everything up and running quickly, then setup an IndieGoGo page to start collecting donations.
We will soon be partnering with the Wish Upon A Hero Foundation to further collect donations after the IndieGoGo campaign has expired, and are partnering with a few local individuals to produce the Light The Sky festival in June marking the 6-month anniversary of the shooting (more details will be released as they become available).
It’s a privilege to have Presskit.to be involved in something so great. We wish all of the families and friends affected in Newtown our very best and most sincere condolences.
Presskit.to Receives $10k Northeastern University IDEA Gap Fund
My team and I have for the last several months been a part of IDEA at Northeastern University, a venture accelerator program designed to support entrepreneurial endeavors in the Northeastern community. Along the way, we’ve met so many incredible people, from those obligated to be our guiding lights like our coach Ben Preston and mentor Greg Dalle-Molle to those who lent advice and knowledge out of pure kindness, like Dan Gregory, Bob Lentz, Chris Wolfel, Matt Saitta, and everyone else who played a role throughout the process. Thanks to their remarkable efforts and the hard work of my team, I am stoked to announce that Presskit.to has received $10k in grant funding from the NEU IDEA Program!
I’m confident that this funding is only the beginning of where our NEU IDEA experience will take us, and can’t wait to make the most of this tremendous opportunity we’ve been given. We owe a big thank you to everyone involved along the way, and are so excited to carry this momentum into the new year, for music and its future development!
Make it happen!
EVENT: Techies Got Talent (Nov. 29th @ Foundry24)
We’re excited to announce that we’ve teamed up with some really great tech startups in Boston like Kinvey, EverTrue, Boston Startup School and Saverr, to bring you TECHIES GOT TALENT! An epic talent show of some of the craziest antics around, held at Foundry24 - our office, studio, and collaborative working space with Strewnshank Studio, November 29th.
The lineup of performers is a virtual who’s-who of awesomely talented individuals and our panel of celebrity judges is sure to do a diligent job picking a winner for the night! All of us on the Indie Ambassador team will be competing as well!
Find more details and spread the word @ techiesgottalent.com
Exclusive: Joey Cape of Lagwagon (INTERVIEW)
Lagwagon has been on the punk rock scene since 1990 and is the flagship band for FAT Wreck Chords (next to inbred label mates, NOFX of course). Lagwagon has had their share of triumphs & disasters over the years but have managed to stick together and maintain relevance in the hearts and minds of so many punk rock fans around the world.
I had a chance to sit down on the bus with lead singer, songwriter, Joey Cape (also known as Caper) for an intimate conversation about what it takes to stay together as a band for so long, how his perspective on the touring industry has changed, what keeps the guys in Lagwagon busy between tours, and his advice for other artists looking to build longstanding careers in music. It was an organic interview with a guy I look up to, telling it how it is from his point of view. Enjoy.
Interview by Ben Maitland-Lewis
The Outlaw Roadshow at CMJ 2012
We’ve teamed up with longtime friend and music blogger extraordinaire, Ryan Spaulding of Ryan’s Smashing Life and The Outlaw Roadshow, to help promote his CMJ showcases on October 19th and 20th at The Bowery Electric in NYC.
Ryan’s blog is the first-stop for people seeking new music, festivals, and well written articles or interviews covering local Boston bands and regional New England acts. When he told us about the two-day showcase he was producing with friend and colleague Adam Duritz of The Counting Crows, we of course jumped at the opportunity to make a Presskit for it!
So alas, Presskit.to/TheOutlawRoadshow was born and here we are to tell the world, not only that there’s a great CMJ showcase that you should attend if you’re in the NYC area, but also that Presskit.to really can work for almost any project, initiative, showcase, or event you’re putting together.
Take a look at the Presskit we made with Ryan. It has the full lineup with set times, audio and video from the bands, as well as the RSVP link so you can get in the door. While you’re at it maybe you’ll get some ideas for how Presskit.to can work for you!
Epic Deal-ers! Get Started Here!
Hey there! If you’re here, chances are you purchased the EPIC DEAL from The Musicians Guide!
CONGRATULATIONS & thanks for checking out Presskit.to!
This whopper of a deal gets you access to 3 free months of our Presskit.to PRO plan, where you can make up to 10 Presskits for your various creative projects! With a PRO plan you can showcase all the media, information, and Wins you want into these mobile-ready portfolios. We also let you make stuff private so sharing your sensitive media and files is super easy.
We suggest that you put only your best foot forward! We’re dedicated to strengthening the communication between artists, industry professionals, and writers of all kinds, so it’s important to showcase only your most relevant and up-to-date information and media in your Presskit. Leave the rest for your website and social media channels.
There are three quick steps outlined below to get you started, but we also invite you to watch our brand new welcome video to learn more about Presskit.to and how it can work for you. If you have any question please reach out to us! We’re here to help and are committed to music & it’s future development.
Founding Alchemist | CEO
1.) Select the Presskit.to Pro plan
2.) Create your first Presskit
3.) Enter your billing info and the unique coupon code from the Presskit.to PDF that you received in the Epic Deal download.
How it Works
Signing up for a PRO account as part of the Epic Deal will lock in our limited time intro pricing of $1.99/mo for life before we raise the price in the coming weeks. This means if you sign up using your Epic Deal code while the limited time pricing of $1.99/mo is in place, after your 3 free months are up, you’ll be grandfathered in at the discounted rate for the life of your account! Cool huh? Get going!
Note: You are also more than welcome to downgrade to our Starter plan before the end of your 3 month trial and you will not be charged at all.
Since we initially published this blog post we have increased the price of the Pro plan to $4.99/mo. All other terms of the special are the same meaning that you will never pay more than $4.99/mo for the Pro plan if you sign up now and you will not be charged at all for three months.
Presskit.to and The Musicians Guide Epic Deal!
In celebration of Presskit.to launching into public beta on September 4th, we’ve decided to participate in a 100-hour long EPIC DEAL going live on September 1st that gives everyone who participates early access to our system and a whole bunch of other goodies.
Our new friend Marcus Taylor of The Musicians Guide has gathered together some of the industry’s top players to offer up a $1,250 package of services, products, and consulting for only $69.
Every musician can benefit from this package. Even Derek Sivers, founder of CDBaby says, “This is a great deal.” We’re thrilled to have Presskit.to involved in this package and have offered up 3 free months of our PresskitPRO account (10 mobile portfolios with public/private sharing) to those who participate.
Check out the EPIC deal here and spread the word!
Movin’ On Over! An Update From BML
All of us at Indie Ambassador couldn’t be happier with the increasing excitement surrounding our flagship web app, Presskit.to. Ever since the soft launch at SXSW in March we’ve been super encouraged by the feedback from musicians and industry professionals using Presskit.to in their daily business operations.
In the coming months we’ll be working hard to make the app an invaluable tool for all of your B2B dealings and as a result we’re shifting a lot of our focus from IndieAmbassador.com over to Presskit.to. This won’t affect any of the great articles and videos on IndieAmbassador.com as they will remain archived on this site for your reading & viewing pleasure.
But moving forward we’ll be publishing content, though not quite as frequently, on the Presskit.to blog. We’re excited and hope you’ll join us.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Make it happen!
Ben! and the Indie Ambassadors
How To Approach & Contact Music Press
Interview by Ben Maitland-Lewis
Ben sat down with PR man Adam Ritchie, of Adam Ritchie Brand Direction and guitarist for Boston-based, The Lights Out. Adam has been at the pulse of the media industry for nearly a decade. His work spans from big name brands to budding bands.
"Everything has to have some kind of a hook in it. Everything should relate to something and it’s never too early to bring that into your creative process.” -Adam Ritchie
As musicians and professionals operating in a creative industry, we attempt to create art drawn from emotion, inspired by our surroundings and experiences. While this can be hard enough for some, promoting it and getting press for it is an art in itself. You can sit in a cube, rehearsal space or studio, writing, creating, or building anything you want, but when it comes to getting covered in the traditional or indie media, what makes it stand out from the rest? What makes someone want to write about it? How is it that some bands get full page spreads in ‘zines while others don’t even get a blog mention? What lies on the other side of that big stone wall of media? How do we break through?Have you had some success with the press? Leave a comment below!
- Give yourself plenty of lead time. That is, time to approach press. The magazine that you’re reading on stands today was conceptualized 3 to 4 months ago.
- Know what you’re pitching and know what section you’re going for, i.e. concert previews, mp3 of the week, etc. Look at who writes those sections and send material specifically to that author. If you send your materials to an organization’s generic mailing address, you’re sending them to a black hole that is bound to end up in a landfill. You don’t want to litter do you?
- When sending materials to press accounts, your packaging is very important. If you see a creative, colorful envelope sitting next to a blah, manila envelope which one are you going to open first?
- The biggest icebreaker you’ve got is a sense of humor. No one likes a form email that sounds canned. If you write something specific and funny to that person you’ve already taken the first step.
- Be careful to not burn your bridge before it’s built. You can’t really hound Indie media (blogs and social media), from 9 to 5 like you can traditional media because it’s probably not their day job.
- If you’re written up in a publication (physical or online), you should maintain a professional relationship with the author, but don’t over do it. Be sure to let them know you appreciate their piece, but it’s best to wait a few months before pitching additional article ideas to them.
- When the time is right, it’s important to build your team and bring on experts and specialists to contribute to your career accordingly. Ideally, you should be focused on making music, so when responsibilities start creeping in you can silo those off and put them in hands that you’re confident in.
- Always remember that you’re a band and your product is fun. Be creative!