Category Archives: The Business of Music and the Arts

How a Public Relations Agency Can Help You: Artists, Designers, Musicians

Kanye West at the Vanity Fair kickoff part for...

Image via Wikipedia

Are you still scratching your head, wondering whether or not you would benefit from the guidance of a public relations expert?

Many creative brands—artists, designers, musicians and more—question whether or not they can afford to retain a public relations agency.

To be honest, the real question should is: How can you afford to not hire a public relations agency?

Designers: Would you trust your landscaper to forecast next season’s designs?

Musicians: Would you let the pharmacy clerk write your next song?

Artists: Would you let your garbage man handle your legal matters?

Nope, so why take your public relations matters into your own hands?

For starters, enlisting the help of an agency will surely generate awareness for your brand. Our client, Lovie’s Letter Paper Co., has gone from just a handful of visits each day, to more than 600 visits at any given time.

One of the most obvious ways you can benefit from the help of a public relations professional is because of their relationships with members of the media. Publicists specialize in media outreach, which results in high profile media placements for you.

A public relations agency can also help you manage a crisis. Think about Kanye West post-Taylor Swift. Without the help of a seasoned public relations professional, it would have been nearly impossible for the rapper to have bounced back.

Other ways your brand can benefit from a PR agency, include strengthening community relations and supporting your existing public relations programs.

Last but not least, hiring a PR agency can leave you with more time to do what you do best: focus on your craft.


Inside the Industry…with DJ Geno

The Chicago music business is a complex industry, in which very few can actually claim success. DJ Geno,  protégé and former manager of one of the city’s best rappers, GLC, is one of the few to actually have penetrated this tough market. His credentials include being an internationally known DJ and the owner of a music consulting company. During a recent sit down with him, DJ Geno explained how he made it and what other Chicago musicians can do to boost their careers.

 WGeno, GLCith more than 12 years of industry experience under his belt, what better source than DJ Geno to gain invaluable industry insight?

 DJ Geno credits Nappy Boy recording artist Shawnna for giving him his first break in the industry years ago. After interning at Def Jam and Interscope, not only did he serve as her road DJ, but her manager as well. As a result of this experience, DJ Geno notes that branding is key for musicians hoping to establish a long-term career in the industry: “By branding myself as a go-getter, ready to do what it took to get the job done, Shawnna and others were ready to give me the opportunities to advance my career. All you have is your image and with so many people trying to ‘get on,’ it’s important that you stand out—in a good way,” he noted.

 He also says that networking is another critical piece to breaking into the industry. According to DJ Geno, “it’s all about who you know” applies to the arts and entertainment industries just like any other.  

 When asked why Chicago remains a second class city, compared to the likes of New York and Los Angeles, ever-faithful to his city, DJ Geno says “Chicago is a first class city, but our mentality has to portray that.  Meaning, we have to do first class business with each other. … We need to embrace each other and our resources.”

 DJ Geno gives Hollywood Holt his props for being ahead of the curve when it comes to marketing and branding in the industry. “He is smart because he keeps himself relevant even if he just DJing a party. So when you think of party you think of him.” Using the web is a great way to develop a full-fledged campaign for a fraction of the price of traditional campaigns, but with similar results. DJ Geno recommends that artists to take advantage.

 It’s hard to break into the industry, but not impossible. With role models like DJ Geno paving the way for up-and-coming musicians and industry professionals in Chicago, it’s now easier than ever.

Lupe Fiasco’s Recent “Concert”…a Fiasco?

Lupe Fiasco, Hovefestivalen 2008

Image by NRK P3 via Flickr

The Internet has been abuzz with the turn of events related to a recent Lupe Fiasco appearance at the House of Blues Chicago. Concertgoers were expecting a performance, but instead received a brief appearance, according to this blog post by WBEZ.

Later, Fiasco took to Twitter to say, among other tweets: “Come on chitown press & media. I said i was sorry for the HOB event & it wasn’t even my fault.”

Apparently, there was a mix-up between what the event promoters advertised and what was actually delivered.

Fiasco’s fiasco shows the importance of developing a positive reputation with the press before something bad happens. Coverage of this disaster has been minimal and it’s likely due to the rapper’s past favorable image.

But hey, Lupe, if you’re reading this, offer up a free concert to ticket holders. Every disaster offers an opportunity to turn negative publicity into positive publicity.

Publicity Stunt Inc Making It Happen in the UK

After a weeklong trip to Europe, the Publicity Stunt Inc offices are now open and back in business!

While there, we met with a number of movers-and-shakers in London, including Michael “Mykey” Rayon of Rayon-Inc, the owners of Instant Melodies music studio, two lovely reporters from Wink Ball, the UK’s #1 video news website, and last but certainly not least, the lovely young ladies of The Boxettes.

Miko Franklin and Lena Andoh of Publicity Stunt Inc in London

What a great time we had and now we are back in action! Stay tuned for posts featuring our new friends from the UK.

Beyonce’s Blackface Backfire

Photos of Beyonce Knowles have surfaced on blogs around the world regarding her recent “blackface” photo shoot. Blackface is a controversial form of “art” (for those who consider it art), that was originally used in minstrel and vaudeville shows to depict African American characters. It is more often than not considered degrading and offensive.

So what made this pop superstar choose to go blackface in her photo spread for L’Officiel Paris?

According to many reports, Knowles considered the blackface costume to be a tribute to Nigerian musician Fela Kuti.

Although Beyonce has been heralded as black America’s sweetheart, this blackface fiasco may relinquish that role.

Already, Twitter has been abuzz with criticisms about her choice of makeup:

  •  CandiReigns Candace Thomas: What’s up with Beyonce in blackface? #whack
  • lovelysarah1 sarah surigao: Beyonce, Blackface, and Fashion Don’t Mix
  • TTBoy28 A. H-Tecoy: Beyonce went “Blackface” with blonde hair. She says it was to pay homage to Fela Kuti. Couldn’t she have done it with “Black” hair?

And this isn’t the first time she’s come under fire for “color” issues. Just a few years ago, she was accused of lightening her images to appear white for a L’oreal Feria photo shoot.

I don’t know what the long-term effects of Beyonce’s decision to go “blackface” will be on her image, but one thing’s for sure, the short-term isn’t looking so good.

Industry News: Universal Music Group Promotes Jeffrey Harleston

Mary J. Blige posing for the photographer Mark...

Image via Wikipedia

In breaking music industry news, Jeffrey Harleston has been promoted to general counsel and executive vice president of Business & Legal Affairs for North America. The promotion is effective immediately.

Prior to joining UMG’s corporate legal team, Harleston was the executive vice president and general manager of Geffen Records, home of Mary J. Blige, Common, Snoop Dogg and other award-winning artists.


In the news: UnRated Urban Magazine article feature

Did you catch Bryan Sledge, also known as “BJ the Chicago Kid” in UnRated Urban Magazine’s digital mag?

BJ the Chicago Kid

Excerpt here:

A young, soulful voice with an appreciation for and the gift to write “good” music Chicago native Bryan Sledge, aka B.J. The Chicago Kid, has worked with the likes of Mary J. Blige, Mary Mary, Jamie Foxx and Musiq Soulchild to name a few.
Now on the verge of becoming a household name himself, Sledge took time to talk to UnRated Urban Magazine about his humble beginnings, aspirations and future plans.

To review the article in its entirety, click here.

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