While many artists would like their work to speak for itself, we live in a noisy world. Even if an artist has penned the most masterful music since Beethoven, talent alone rarely parts the waves.
The reality is that to have success in the music industry, one must approach it like any other business. And a key component in business is marketing and PR.
These disciplines act as an artist’s voice, allowing them to communicate their values, perceptions, and talent unto the broader conversation.
However, just like with composition, marketing is a skill.
Therefore, Magnetic invited Dean Muhsin of Dispersion PR to give us the low down on strategies, and mindsets that artists can use in order to be heard.
Who Is Dispersion PR?
Dispersion PR was founded in 2007 by Julian Shay and Dean Muhsin. They are a UK-based, full service PR and marketing company. They handle radio and playlist placement, social media, track promotion to DJs, and public relations, among other things.
They have worked with Cocoon, Hotflush, Get Physical, Rekids, and many more.
Over the 48 minute interview, we discuss a myriad of topics and strategies that artists can use in order to propel their reach.
Here are some of the topics:
Chart Rigging, And Ethics In Music Marketing
We start off this interview addressing DJ Sneak’s recent abdication from digital media, where he chose to take back control of his intellectual property, forgoing mediums such as Spotify, Apple Music, and other digital distributors, to focus on selling his stuff directly to consumers.
Out of this shift, came a controversial statement from Sneak, where he claimed that it takes only 100 or so purchases to rank number 1 in the charts, and many of the labels are buying their own tracks for favorable chart position, effectively gaming the system.
Muhsin interprets Beatport’s stance on the integrity of these charts, and talks about how this is possible, but unlikely. He also speaks to the realities of getting on those charts, and how it depends on genre, and competition.
He also touches on the lure and consequences of artificially inflated social media, such as fake followers, and plays.
Spotify Promotion For Electronic Musicians
The interview continues, transitioning into Spotify promotion, and playlisting.
We talk about how artists can build their own targeted contact lists, and the procedures and etiquette that surround pitching them.
Additionally, he talks about the reality of buying your way into playlists, and the ramifications of doing so.
Pitching To Electronic Music Publications
This segways into how to pitch to electronic music publications, such as Magnetic. He highlights the best practices that artists should employ to make sure their music gets represented by these outlets, without becoming obnoxious.
Translating Press Into Gigs
We move into how to translate this exposure into gigs, and sales. While Muhsin says that this can happen, he gives some caveats, and advice on how to manage expectations. He also shares techniques artists can use in order to leverage press without coming off as being too career focused, or narcissistic.
Marketing Experimental Electronic Music
While Dispersion supports several mainstream “underground” producers such as Booka Shade, Radio Slave, and Michael Bibi, they also work with artists like Sophia Saze, who, rather than making club tracks, produces experimental vignettes.
However, she has managed to be on the radar, and in cahoots with many artists who have more rigid sonic palettes.
Muhsin talks about strategies that experimental artists can execute to attain the support of more mainstream artists, despite having a less traditional sound.
Different Genres, Different Monikers?
Many artists have multiple side projects for their various sounds. Then again, some just release everything under their original name. Muhsin talks about how this is a personal choice, and the advantages and disadvantages of taking this route.
Stay True To Yourself, But Recognize There Are Best Practices
Muhsin is very passionate about artists staying true to themselves, despite some short term consequences that may occur as a result. However, he emphasizes that most channels artists use are ubiquitous, such as social media, and that there are techniques they can employ in order to have the algorithms, and the audience respond in a favorable way.
He also talks about how on the industry side, there are industry guidelines that artists should adhere to such as when to submit music to distributors, timelines, and other things they should pay attention to.
Marketing Tools For Electronic Music
Especially in the beginning, artists generally don’t have the resources to hire professional marketing and PR help.
While Muhsin advises that artists concentrate more on creating compelling music, instead of marketing, he recommends some tools that artists can use to get the leg up.
Content Strategies For Electronic Music Marketing
Muhsin lays out the types of content that he sees performing the best, but cautions that it really depends on the artist, and their persona.
He talks about the importance of having a genuine voice on social media, and why it’s necessary from even an algorithmic point of view.
He also lays out the importance of search engine optimization for artists, and how PR can contribute to artists having favorable results when their fans search for them.
If you would like to know more about Dispersion PR, and the artists they support, check out their website.