Interview: Rob Carroll (Good Intent)

We’re now just a few weeks into the new norm of social distancing. No doubt you’ve spent a fair bit of time on House Party and attempting to watch the entire Netflix catalogue, while doing your utmost to avoid cleaning the house. But now is the time, friend, to pull yourself away from that iso-lyfe and start thinking about your own project and what you could be doing with your newfound downtime.

To help stoke a little of the motivational fire, we caught up with Rob Carroll, Artists Manager (Bootleg Rascal) and Publicist at Good Intent (Kim Churchill, Bag Raiders, Red Hook and Citizen Kay), to pick his brain and snag a few tips for new and emerging artists.

Muso (M): Working across both PR and management you’ve no doubt seen how a variety of managers and acts are responding to the current situation… Are you seeing a hunger from managers and artists to get music out there?

Rob Carrol (RC): There’s definitely a huge desire out there to increase the amount of music released. In saying that, we’ve also seen some people hit the brakes as they take a step back and reassess how they move forward from here. I think there are some artists and managers who want to see how things pan out for a bit, before rushing into releasing music, which is a totally fair point – everything is changing by the hour during this pandemic.

M: When you’re speaking with newer artists on your roster, what’s some advice you’ve been giving them?

RC: Keep the momentum ticking over and keep releasing and writing music, as much as you can.

M: For the more established artists you work with, where are they focusing their attention?

RC: Again, just stepping up the amount of music released and also focusing on creating strong content to support these releases and to maintain engagement with fans in general.

M: With many new and emerging artists finding themselves a little overwhelmed with what to do, what are some key things you’re doing with your roster both management and PR at the moment?

RC: I think the best way forward is to regularly release more music than you normally would (until artists can perform live again), so that’s what we’re advising them to do. We’re also heavily encouraging writing and recording, and coming up with creative ways to keep fans engaged through live streaming and content. We all really need to make the most of this time however we can.

M: For artists at this point who can’t afford to be spending money but are really keen to be getting their music out, what’s a few tips you can give them?

RC: If there’s absolutely no budget for promoting your music, then you better get ready to be doing some heavy lifting on the promo side yourself. If you’re an Australian artist making contemporary music, there’s some great platforms out there like Triple J Unearthed and AMRAP’s AirIt you can use to help in your efforts of paving a pathway to success on radio.

Identify which triple j / double j presenters and Unearthed staff might be into your music and reach out to them with a friendly and concise email, asking them to check out your music and if there’s any way they might like to support it. Make sure you make the effort to email them; definitely don’t ever pitch someone via their personal social media.

Community radio is a tough one, because there’s so many stations out there. Some of the more popular and influential ones include FBi (Sydney), 2SER (Sydney), 4ZZZ (Brisbane), 3RRR (Melbourne), SYN FM (Melbourne), PBS FM (Melbourne), Radio Adelaide, Three D Radio (Adelaide), RTR FM (Perth), 89.7 FM (Perth), Edge Radio (Hobart) and 2XX FM (Canberra).

When it comes to music blogs who support emerging artists, some good Australian outlets to check out include AAA Backstage, Acclaim Mag, Acid Stag, AUD$, AU Review, Best Before, Blunt Magazine, Complex AU, Cool Accidents, Eucalypt, Forte Mag, Futuremag, Hysteria Mag, Life Without Andy, Music Feeds, NME Australia, Pilerats, Project U, Purple Sneakers, Savage Thrills, Something You Said, Soniq Sounds, Sounds of Oz, The Music, The Soundcheck, Trouble Juice, Wall of Sound, Wickedd Childd and of course the Good Intent blog.

All these outlets vary in terms of the type of music they feature, so make sure you do your research before you reach out to them.

If you haven’t already, ensure you get yourself setup with Spotify for Artists and utilise their pitching tool for playlist consideration. Let them know you’ll be actively pitching radio and blogs to support the promotion of the release.

Rob’s top downtime tips:

Create a Spotify playlist

Creating a weekly spotify playlist is a great way of helping keep people on the platform. Firstly, make sure you add the playlist to your artist profile under ‘Artist Playlists’. Then curate a playlist that features artists within your community and share it across your social media platforms.

Once you feature these acts, proceed to reach out to them and ask them to give it a follow and if they can share it across their social media platforms. This will help build a following and awareness for the playlist, plus help boost engagement on your social media platforms at the same time. There are many benefits to featuring emerging artists, namely that they will be more incentivised to share and promote it, plus it’ll give your followers value in the sense of artist discovery, as well as helping develop strong relationships with your peers.

Build contact lists for new releases. Blogs, radio etc.

As mentioned before, if you don’t have a budget or looking to keep everything DIY, you’ll need to be prepared to do some hard work around promoting your release. One of the key attributes to running a successful release campaign on the PR side, is to ensure you have the right targets and contacts to coincide with them. Spend time researching who the right people are to pitch for each respective platform.

Get on top of your accounting

Definitely keep on top of your number crunching. As undesirable as accounting is, it’s an integral part of running a successful business. Make sure you get in touch with an accountant that specialises within the music industry. White Sky are a great company to talk to about this.

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