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.