Why does this company exclusively work with emerging rock artists?
Overall, many people are unwilling to work with artists before they’ve established an existing amount of symbolic capital. The issue here is that symbolic capital is largely “achieved” through immense financial privilege: being able to pay enormous fees to record labels, managers, agents, other publicists, etcetera. Carnival of Oddities is not about perpetuating that cycle of privilege. We solely work with emerging artists because they deserve to be worked with and aren’t worked nearly enough, it’s truly as simple as that. New voices and sounds deserve to be amplified on the basis of merit alone — not on the basis of how may followers or streams they have (those numbers never tell the full story anyway). Moreover, Carnival of Oddities only works with rock artists because rock has taken a bit of a backseat to pop, rap and, hip-hop over recent years. Therefore, it’s especially important to rally behind artists in an underserved genre.
What makes Carnival of Oddities different from other music PR agencies?
Carnival of Oddities is an agency started by a working journalist, so our approach to PR is rooted in strategy that is known to have a greater appeal to the media based on years of direct experience versus mere guesswork. We do this by personalizing the process as much as possible on both ends.
We don’t mass-blast press releases that were plugged into templates via platforms such as MailChimp. If we’re hoping someone may take some time to write about one of our clients, then the bare minimum we can do is take the time to send each contact a personalized, individual pitch. This is all done to illustrate that we’ve done our homework, and care about the time and expertise of the contacts pitched to.
We also completely reinvent the wheel for each client. Campaign strategy isn’t modeled on any sort of existing pattern, but rather their goals, objectives, and creative identity. In an effort to ensure that this is adhered to as much as possible, we maintain constant communication with clients throughout each step of the process and show them all promotional content created on their behalf prior to sending it out into the world. We do this to ensure that our clients feel good about what we put together. After all, they deserve to be included in the process.
And, of course, we’re a genre specific agency that exclusively works with emerging talent. We work with a very specific sector of artists, and don’t pad out our roster just for the sake of it. The music industry needs an agency with an independent focus, so this is it.
What is public relations and what can it do for me?
Public relations is the process of obtaining earned media. Earned media is coverage that occurs without a transaction, which means that you don’t (and shouldn’t, since payola is illegal) pay a publication or DJ to cover or play your work. In turn, this is what makes resulting earned media feel so exciting — it means someone covered your work because they genuinely wanted to and believed in it. Public relations is different from advertising and marketing because the latter two do involve transactions. For example, think of advertisements you’d see on the sidebar of a website or on public transportation. That’s advertisement space someone would have needed to purchase as a part of their campaign. This is what is called paid media, which is the opposite of earned media.
Public relations is the tool to help you get the word out about your work through articles, playlists, airplay, etcetera. In a highly saturated market where algorithms tend to screw over emerging talent, these services can help your work to cut through the fray and achieve the attention it warrants.
So, if I work with a publicist, does this mean I’m guaranteed coverage?
A lot of publicists try to sell the dream, and we won’t do that to you. In public relations, coverage is never guaranteed, and this is downed to the earned media aspect. Publicists can pitch media, but cannot force coverage to result. In turn, this makes coverage that does result all the more meaningful, because it means someone specifically went out of their way to do so out of pure belief. That’s irreplaceable.
Couldn’t I just use “artist friendly submission platforms” like Musosoup or SubmitHub instead?
These platforms are no replacement for a trained publicist, and they charge artists for what is essentially the same function as sending an e-mail. A public relations campaign entails so much more than simply sending out a link to the music — it entails the curation of press materials, the copy of the pitch, sufficient campaign strategy, and more. Media relations is a trained skill that cannot be distilled down to a snappy algorithm. After all, this is a field that requires experience and training in for a reason.
If I write a big check to Carnival of Oddities, can I force my child onto your roster?
The music industry offers plenty of avenues for people to buy their way into a career. This is not one of them.
Uh oh, Carnival of Oddities uses swear words on this website and on Instagram. What gives?
If you have to ask, you probably don’t work in the music industry. This is how we all tend to speak, and as a brand, it’s important to reflect that vernacular to connect with our clients and stakeholders in a way that feels natural and conversational.
How does Carnival of Oddities decide who to take on as a client?
It’s a matter of if we believe in their work and fall on the same page as far as strategy and approach go. Literally, that’s it. We don’t make people jump through hoops. If we dig it, we do it.