Your Press Release Sucks!
Oh the thankless dog and pony show that is PR. As a “writer” for this paper, I see an in-box filled with enough bullshit to power the whole of North America for decades to come. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the people who work that end of the business are all used car salesmen pushing a sale to make that next commission (though I’m sure those exist). Everyone understand that PR is a game of hype that, for better or worse, has to be played by bands and labels if you want to “get the word out” but I’m not a full time “writer” who cares to play this game because…well, it’s just that these releases are by and large so predictable, so boring, and so… [raises head up 90 degrees and groans] “aaaaaarrrrgh!” Let me just put it this way; I’d much rather play Atari’s ET – The Extra Terrestrial to the end(!!!) than read one more press release.
The way it’s supposed to work is like this: a PR person hypes a band, the writer checks out the band, and if the writer like the band, they contact the PR person. But I welcome this like a flyer under my windshield wiper and give it about as much attention (which is none). If I find something cool while doing the weekly preview, I just go to the band’s website and find the contact info there. Statistically the number of PR people I have contacted back is infinitesimally small and never once was it based on the press release itself. Here, let me show you a sample of just some of the more annoying things to be found in press releases.
“is a recent finalist on NBC’s ‘The Voice’” - The Voice? Really? Let’s be very clear, shows like these are about people seeking fame. If I wanted to see mammals performing tricks, I’d go to the circus.
“will perform on Jimmy Kimmel/Fallon” – For folks like me who don’t watch much television this is hardly a selling point.
“has signed a management and label deal with” – OK, this one leaves me stumped. I don’t know what to say ask except for “…and I should care, why?”
“has been receiving a substantial amount of praise from” – Logrolling is only amusing when lumberjacks are doing it.
“[New album] engineered /produced by X who engineered/produced albums for [insert big name band here]” – Tell you what. Let’s take the worst band imaginable, let them write and perform their own albums in the studio, and put some incredible person behind the board. Voila, look at the gold leaf on that turd. Isn’t it exquisite?
[Picture of PR agent looking wild and crazy] – You! Yes you! Take the ball cap and sunglasses off, quit screaming at the camera, and stop looking like a douche. You know what? Don’t put a picture of yourself. Just don’t.
“[Pitchfork, Spin, etc.] premiere of new track/video” – Wouldn’t it be funny if YOUR paper got this premiere?**
Tour Dates (None in Houston) – Your town sucks and we’d never go there but let me show you where we will visit! Ha Ha Ha. (wiping tears of laughter) Oh God, we’re assholes.
**Update: Full disclosure, I recently committed this very sin in a local press release for my band that I personally sent out but, in my defense, my band’s label has a PR firm they employ and those folks don’t focus on Houston so I had no say at to where our video would be premeired.