Photo By Gary Miller
Running a Dom Perignon PR Campaign on a Miller Lite BudgetAustin Convention Center, Friday 15
Young bands looking for pointers at this panel probably left disappointed, because even though they're the most likely candidates to be on a so-called "Miller Lite budget," this jaw session was perhaps more useful to young publicists looking for ways of doing business with major labels without breaking the bank. Yet, the emphasis wasn't so much on "how to." Rather, it was largely anecdotal, with the panelists -- David Dorn (Rhino Records), Howard Wuelfing (Columbia Records), Kay Clary (FrontPage Publicity), Bryn Bridenthal (DreamWorks), Jim Merlis (Big Hassle), and Matt Hanks (Shore Fire Media) -- proffering opinions on how to work bands both large and small in a tattered economy. It quickly became evident that there's a bit of a disconnect between publicists and music writers. In fact, Wednesday's "Attracting Media Attention" panel, in which most of the writer/panelists claimed they'd prefer mp3s to the normal avalanche of promo CDs they get from bands and publicists, would have made a good primer course for some of these panelists. Wuelfing claimed that music writers are susceptible to the "greed factor" and that saving money by utilizing technology would not fly in that respect, because writers want finished product. Dorn emphasized the benefits of digitizing publicity as much as possible, including making bios and photos available on band and label Web sites. Bridenthal had some ingenious tips for cutting corners on photography: Hire a photographer to come shoot stills during video-shoot downtime, or hire a hungry young photographer -- a friend of the band that will work on the cheap. The most valuable piece of information of the day, and one point on which everyone agreed, is that bands should remember that publicists aren't the ones working on commission, the musicians are. Asking your publicist to send a limo to take you 10 blocks to your office is the best way to cut into your own royalties.