How to


How to: Pitch Music to Local Media

Music media is in many ways, a strange and niche world. Riddled with complex aspects, heady PR and, at times, agendas (and yes, broadly, everyone does know each other, especially somewhere like Ireland). It can be hard to grab attention for your music.

Personally, I’ve worked at a local, national and international level: at various times in my career, I’ve written regularly for NME and The Sunday Business Post, Bandcamp and The Fly. One of my most regular outlets, though, and perhaps the most under-utilised, has prompted this long-form post, which you’ll find in my email signature from now on.

I write, and have done for at least five years, a full-page weekly mid-length feature interview, and a side column, for the Dublin Gazette, a Dublin region paper which is read by approximately 300,000 people weekly, or 20% of the population of the city.

Most of my features are based on interviews, and I get a hugely mixed bag: we’ve featured acts with just a couple of singles out, and huge international names: Elton John, Stereophonics, John Lydon, Fontaines D.C and Glass Animals in recent years, which means all of those acts have deemed our audience worth tapping into.

I’m not going to talk excessively about the Gazette specifically here, but go much broader, on local media. I think musicians should engage with us more. But why, and how?

Why Target Local Media

First of all, the obvious reason: you get a large audience that is far less tapped into than most other markets: many of my Dublin Gazette features start out with someone asking to feature in another publication I write for. More often than not, bands don’t bother to contact local media themselves, and stick to targetting national level publications and music-specific publications. Both of which you should do, too, of course, but especially with general subject matter national publications (like the Irish Times or Independent), you’re far, far less likely to get featured. Especially as a less established band.

There’s more, though:

  • It’s stating the obvious, but if you’re looking to sell tickets in a city, local media is where to do it. You can guarantee close to 100% of the audience could hypothetically go to your gig. You don’t get that in national media.
  • Local acts are far more likely to get coverage. A new breakthrough act in a small city may get attention simply as something new and local in a regional paper. Unless there’s growing hype, you can forget that in the nationals.
  • Building a profile of media coverage is valuable for a band when it comes to things like booking shows and showing that people have an interest in what you’re doing. This is a good way to do that.

How to Use Three Pay As You Go Contracts to make ‘Free’ Charity Donations

I currently use a Three Pay As You Go mobile phone contract. After all, I use my phone like a lot of people do these days: almost everything is internet-based, and the few phone calls and texts I make don’t usually come close to the limitations of the €20/ 28 days all-inclusive package they offer. It’s a decent deal.

What I’ve noticed recently, though, is that I typically have around €15 of the €20 credit left at the end of that 28 day period. Essentially, I’m nowhere close to using all the credit, right up until Three start charging me for internet after the free period expires. At that point, the internet charges based on use are really quite extortionate, and so my money disappears and I’m essentially always forced to top up the same day that the credit runs out. This is where I spotted an opportunity.

That €15 I’d been handing over to Three at the end of every Pay As You Go Period – around 12 times a year, in other words – is of essentially no value to me. I’ll be restarting the ‘free unlimited internet’ credit period again the same day, anyway, so I’m just burning through the remaining credit for no practical benefit at all. They even notify me when I’m about to go out of the 28 days, presumably with the intent that I ‘top up’ in advance, but since I never get to the end of the credit anyway, that’s a rather pointless exercise.

Instead, I’ve started intentionally draining my credit towards the end of the last day. Instead of handing €15 to Three for essentially nothing, you can text away your credit to a whole long list of charities, here. You can pick based on keyword, and it tells you how much you’ll be donating by texting.

The net cost to me in the total spend on my phone each month has been essentially nothing, and I’m handing over about €180 or so a year to charities just by being smart about the timing of the donation. Just a quick ruse I thought might be worth highlighting, if a few people did this it’d add up to a lot of money.