Thursday, May 29, 2008

Writers and Editors Reveal Music To PR Ears

Music editors talk to publicists at
EPPS workshop in Hollywood.


By George McQuade
West Coast Bureau Chief

Send a CD of your artist’s music, put a Post-It on it to say if it's for radio and what music tracks to listen to because time is of the essence for music editors. "If the best song is No. 8, tell me, I do not have enough time to listen to the whole album."

That's advice from Kurt Patat, senior communications manager at AOL Music, given at the Entertainment Publicists Professional Society media workshop, “Working With Music Journalists in a Technology Driven World," in Hollywood on May 15.

Dan Kimpel is 'Song Biz' columnist for Music Connection

Music writer Dan Kimpel says he's “songwriter-oriented.” He looks for “somebody who understands how large that world is, but also how small that world is as well. I want a story that hasn’t been beaten up in the media. I am always thinking about who reads what I write. It is necessary that the things that are pitched to me are applicable to publications I serve.”
Kimpel has profiled Leonard Cohen, Green Day, Metallica, Fergie, Elvis Costello, Jackson Browne, and Maya Angelou. He is a “Song Biz” columnist and feature writer for Music Connection magazine and contributes to American Songwriter, BMI World and SESAC magazines.

This summer passengers will hear his interviews with recording artists and songwriters on Delta On Air, the airline’s in-flight audio programming. Kimpel can be reached at

MK & Martens at EPPS

Los Angeles, according to Todd Martens, “is not a songwriters town, it is a project town.” The Los Angeles Times producer said the “market is so flooded with music stories, we are usually looking for something two to three weeks out. "I cover a lot for the Times blog, and started out covering the Grammys and branched out from there,” he said.

Martens'duties are split between devising new content for the site and creating ways to present the paper’s material online.

Prior to joining the Times, Martens was reporter for Billboard Magazine, where he wrote the weekly column “the Indies.” He griped about receiving just press releases from publicists.
“I need a picture, a stream, because with music you just want to hear it, and you don’t really care about the story,” explained Martens ( “It can be an interesting read, but if you don’t like the music, then the story doesn’t really count. So I always look for the full MP3 and I like to be told that it is legal to post it on the site. I like to have meat and potatoes in my post.”

Call me, Kurt

Patat ( raised the typical beef about receiving unwanted pitches. “Visit my site before you pitch me,” he said. He recalled getting a pitch from a publicist for a kids’ music web site, while AOL doesn’t have such a site. Patat also got an email saying, “Dear Terry please put this on Yahoo Music site.” He replied that his name is Kurt and that he works for AOL Music.

MK, owner and
editor of Popbytes

“Do a little research so you can put your pitch into context, and send a short pitch like, 'Hey, thought this might sound good on Spinner,' and mention it is a good fit. That is going to get my direct attention, as opposed to just sending a blanket press release.”

Patat revealed that there are some 200 radio station formats and music platforms, so it is advisable to label which music genre and which track he should listen to on the CD when it is mailed to him. Streams and MP3s are acceptable, and he prefers getting the entire song, too. Publicists should allow for minimum of two to three weeks notice.

'Dont stress'

"When it comes to getting music first, you don’t have to be first," said MK, owner and editor of Popbytes, a music, film, television, celebrity gossip and entertainment news blog. "If your start stressing about being first you’ll go crazy."

“The day the CD comes out the story is dead, and if we haven’t gotten an advance CD at that point, then it’s fair game to go downloaded it and review it,” advised MK (

MAYO Communications niche: "We don't guarantee media, we just get it!"