Linda Coogan Byrne followed her dreams in setting up Goodseed PR and bursting into a tough and specialized industry. It goes without saying, then, that the self-made PR guru knows a thing or five about what’s going on in our scene, and even about how she might go about influencing said goings on. Personally, I can’t even begin to imagine the frustrations of trying to promote something you love – or perhaps, occasionally, don’t – to the indistinct entity that is taste in music, so huge respect to Linda. Here’s what she had to say about her job, and where we are in Irish music right now…
How do you view the role of PR in music at the moment, and how does it effect what we hear about?
The role as I view it is to deliver music to the following people within the realm of the music media industry: tastemakers, music journalists along with producers and researchers in radio and TV who make the decisions to write about it, blog about it, air it and support it. Thus creating an infrastructure for the artist or bands music to grow from. To build this infrastructure can be rather time consuming for both established and emerging artists. So the role is also about knowing where to pitch the music, who to deliver it to, time management and creating a realistic time line campaign for the client. An important factor is how important it is for the client to understand that it takes time. No matter who you employ, it takes time to grow a successful business. And to be a professional musician/artist you have to trust those in the know and not expect to be famous in 3 months. It simply does not work that way. So communication is absolutely pivotal between your client and the media. The people responsible for choosing what music to air and support are those who affect what you hear about, not the PR.
In PR, your role is a mix of promoting Irish artists and promoting artists within Ireland. Obviously the music industry has changed substantially over the last few years and ticket sales seem to have overtaken album/ music sales for a lot of artists. How has this stuff affected the job?
It hasn’t affected the job or role of PR – you are still publicising and the elements of the job remain the exact same.
What makes an act easy or difficult to promote?
If you choose an act not out of passion and belief in their music but for money, then it makes it a hard sell. Because if you do not personally believe in an act or that they have the capacity to succeed then it shows and you can’t sell it as you would something that you are passionate about. Many within the music industry extort bands in this way. In fact most of the money made in the music industry is made from bands on the rise as well as bands that will never rise. It’s also the very reason why its so important to work with clients whom you believe in, otherwise you take on a hell of a lot of heart ache. That’s the negative. The positive reply would be to work with superb bands who make superb music. It’s THAT simple. I am not an advocate of this ‘Irish radio doesn’t support great Irish Music’. It does. Its just that most bands do not research the music played on specific national radio stations and shows and therefore have false expectations of the kind of airtime they can receive when in fact their music does not fit the stations remit that they expect to be played on!