This section discusses the functions of a record label publicity department. At this point, you may also want to review the StarPolish dedicated section on Press and Publicity for more details and do-it-yourself publicity tips. In the real world, "publicity" and "public relations" can be loosely defined terms much like "marketing." But in the record business, publicity is a very specific area. The publicity department is responsible for securing press and television appearances.
The Staff
The promotion staff at a label consists of two tiers: the national promotion staff and the local promotion staff. The national promotion staff works from the main office of the label (sometimes the national staff is split between NY and LA), and is made up of "format heads." There are usually two or three people for each radio format, who concentrate only on that format. Formats are: Top 40, R&B, Crossover/Dance, Modern Rock/Alternative, Rock, Adult Contemporary (A/C), Triple A and College Radio. The local promotion staff can be anywhere from 8 to 20 staff members who are each assigned regions around the country. The "locals" are responsible for getting airplay at all formats at all commercial stations in their territory (urban usually has its own separate local promotion staff). Typically, the locals' territories coincide with where the regional sales branch offices are located. But sometimes the locals are in areas where there is no branch (like Miami or Denver) and they work from home. The locals cover all formats in their region and are responsible for getting airplay based on the direction they get from the national staff. Loosely speaking, a local has a different boss for each format. If you are a touring artist, you will spend lots of time with the locals while you are on the road. They will try to make the most of your visit in their market by getting you on-air radio interviews, carting you around to meet radio programmers, having dinners in your honor where programmers will be invited, bringing programmers to your show, etc. They will work you to the bone if you let them. Word to the wise: let them. Remember, at StarPolish we are firm believers that the harder you work, the better your luck gets.
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