For musicians and bands, there are many questions you need to ask yourself when it comes to the direction you want to go in when it comes to the best way to succeed in the music industry. You can go in on your own and hope you get somewhere; you can luck out and get signed to a record label who will do what they see as the best direction for you and your music; or you can use a Public Relations firm who will bridge the gap between the label route and the Do-It-Yourself route. For two decades, The RMG Management Group, just one of the independent PR firms out there, has been working with many different artists to help them gain a stronger foothold in the music industry. Throughout the company’s history, they have helped over 2,500 individuals and bands. Recently, however, the company decided to change a few things around. That realigning was big enough that it was decided that a new name was in order. So after 20 years, The RMG Management Group has rebranded itself. The company is now known as Whiplash PR.
This is where I come in. For more than five years, I have been associated with the company as a reviewer who as written reviews for bands who have taken advantage of the company’s various PR plans. When I learned of the rebranding that had taken place within the company, I reached out to the company now known as Whiplash PR to ask about the changes that were made. What follows is the interview that took place:
Rock and Roll Report: I want to Congratulate you on making it 20 years in this crazy biz! It’s not every day a company in any business makes it that long.
Whiplash PR: Thank you! It’s been quite the roller coaster ride and very unexpected.
Rock and Roll Report: Throughout your time in the business, you must have seen a lot of things change. What has changed the most for you as a publicist working mainly unsigned artists and indie labels?
Whiplash PR: Well, I have branched out a lot, I now work with many bands outside of America. The music in Canada is great and what’s coming out of Australia these days is amazing. There are pockets in Europe producing some pretty cool stuff from The UK, Spain. I go where the music is. It’s pretty funny that I started working with a Boston based band last month called PALE MONSTERS and it was the first band from Boston (where I am based) in 12 years or more.
Rock and Roll Report: You recently went thru changes with your company as well? Tell me about that?
Whiplash PR: I literally fell into working as a PR agent in 1997 when an up and coming band, Guster, asked me to help them out. I never had the time to really come up with a creative name. It was always Rhonda, The Publicist. I had boiled it all down to RMG Management Group. It was so, so boring! I took a break last July and said, I can’t stand my name, my logo, I just think it all needs to be refreshed. And that is how Whiplash PR was born. But, it’s such a work in progress because I have been working on diversifying my rates and adding other services such as Music Publishing etc. Just have not had the time.
Rock and Roll Report: I know you adopted a baby boy awhile back and are now married. I am sure that makes you very time sensitive as well as choosy when picking the bands/artists you want to work with?
Whiplash PR: My objectives have always been to keep it simple as I am a minimalist by nature. I have ALWAYS posted my rates on my website and have always kept my rates reasonably priced. I wanted my campaigns to be cost effective, get proven results without all the meetings, conference calls and special reports that so many other companies do. It’s a waste of time and money. They actually charge you for all of those hours. Either you are getting quality reviews, interviews, adds on internet radio and blogs or you are not.
In answer to your question, I look for a variety of things when deciding to work with a band. And they are not what you would think they are. I have found that if I work with 100 new bands per year, a good % will come back for second and third and 4th campaigns. About 95% of them are very happy with the results. It is the 5% that I worry about the most. I have found that when I talk to those bands that are not impressed with what we did for them it is usually in the end about unrealistic expectations or money. Many bands just don’t have the money but they know they have to do something so they sell a guitar or borrow it. This is never a good situation. So, I am doing my best these days in my pre -qualifications to find out if they are going to experience any financial distress because that paid us.
Rock and Roll Report: You mentioned things you look for in a band. What are some of the biggest and most important things that make a band right for your particular agency?
Whiplash PR: Obviously the music has to be something we all like and feel that we can be successful with. I can’t market music to my editors and reviewers that is sub-par. They quickly will not return my calls. I am also looking for bands that have done some work themselves. That helps a great deal. I will not partner up with an artist or a band until we have had at least one long conversation. I want them to have realistic expectations and I really don’t want this to be a financial hardship for them. It is also important that we get along. As YOU know, I can be quite tactless sometimes and a little bit impatient. But, I always have a sense of humor about it all. I want my clients to share that quality as well.
Rock and Roll Report: For those artists and bands out there that are currently looking at taking the publicist direction for their music and career instead of trying for a label, what would be your advice to those who are just starting that search?
Whiplash PR: Bands hire us to go out and get validation for them in the form of press. Most labels, bookers, music publishers like to see that they have a bunch of reviews before becoming interested. They want to see that others like them as well. I would advise against trying for a record label at this time, however.
Rock and Roll Report: So to wrap up, what would be the best way to get the ball rolling for artists who are interested in your services?