As regular readers of BlogCampaigning might know, I also write a music blog. That means aspiring artists, their labels and their PR people always email me new music. Some of it is good. Most of it isn't. Nearly all of the pitches I get are amateurish at best, and nearly all of them are poorly targeted.
However, one name has consistently stood out over the past few months for sending me music that I usually like wrapped in well written emails: Alastair Sloan from Spread The Noise. Curious to find out more about what he's doing, I wrote him an email and he was nice enough to answer some of my questions.
Describing his company as a "music marketing agency specializing in digital relations", Alastair explained to me via email that he got his start because his own music blog, Noise Porn, received so many poorly written pitches that he recognized a need in the market.
Alastair also mentioned that he doesn't have any formal marketing or communications training, but rather draws on his experience as a music blogger and from time spent working for newspapers and the PR department of a major organization. I think we'll see a lot more of this in the future, as PR education programs start to focus on production and internships rather than teaching the theory, while many more self-taught online communicators will have the skill and self-confidence to start their own companies or enter the working world.
Since I've always got an interest in how artists feel about giving away their music for free, I asked Alastair for his thoughts on it.
"It tends to be larger labels with an established position within the industry who are less keen to give away music", he wrote. "Sometimes I convince them; sometimes I don't. The important issue to point out here is that the business model of the record industry can have a 'free' aspect to it. Building your profile online can lead to more gigs, and more money. And building that profile is a lot easier if you're prepared to give away something to the bloggers." He goes on to mention that in a lot of cases, the artists he represents are actually paying him to see that their music is given away to the blogs, quite the reverse of the traditional model.
His parting advice for others wanting to reach out to bloggers and the online community is to be personable and not too formal. "Follow up your emails, and show you care", he says. He also adds that if you are a large PR agency, you shouldn't be sending the same formal news release to blogs that you would send to more traditional publications.
From what I can tell, this British bloke seems to be doing pretty well for himself, so go check out SpreadTheNoise.com to see for yourself.