Creative Promotion: DIY Or Leave It Up To The Label?

IIn a recent, yet to be published Ultimate Guitar interview with Editors’ Chris Urbanowicz, our always wise Amy Kelly asked the guitarist a question that made me think differently about a very obvious thing which we hear everyday all over the Internet. Amy simply asked:

Do The Editors ever try to try the self-promotion route or do you leave it up to the record label/publicists?

And Chris‘ answer was utterly logical and predictable:

“We can’t really leave it up to the record company to do anything interesting!”

Indeed, who can? The labels’ reputation in general is so stained, the digital revolution has brought us so many tools for “DIY” approach, the music scenes are overloaded, and seems no one cares about you. You have to do it yourself, you have to be an entrepreneur and not only a musician in order to survive and make a living from your music, etc. While all that is mostly true, and was especially true few years ago, we have to remember that things are changing very fast these days.

Image credit: blam2002 on Flickr

I always say that living a stereotyped “rock n’ roll” and especially ignorant life is not affordable now as it used to be sometime in the past. Yes, you have to treat your band as a business and put a corresponding effort into it, and be creative not only with your music. But is it all really about doing it on your own? Fortunately, a skeptical reconsideration of DIY is becoming a usual discussion topic. Musicians need friends, on the one hand, and labels are mutating to provide their bands with more than just a “record deal.”

Publicity companies should be mentioned as well. The publicities I work with, especially the relatively smallest ones, bring something innovative and interesting to the table every day, trying to think outside the box. And this is really great, for everyone (bands, music companies, media outlets, and fans, of course).

Something exciting happens when creative, smart people from related parts of the same industries unite, instead of quarreling with each other.

Do you believe in labels and publicists as the creative force behind musicians’ promotional campaigns, or think that the most unique things can be created solely by the artists themselves?