Have you ever wondered how your favorite act magically wound up appearing at the local theater Friday night? Maybe you happened upon your ideal festival featuring nearly all of your favorite bands or you dial in to your favorite local radio or internet station and hear an amazing new song … do you ever wonder how they got hold of it? How did the local arts promoter discovered your favorite band?
There’s a method behind all that magic. For those acts and artists who are ready to get serious about sharing their music with the masses, there are folks like Melanie Wilson of Wilson Pickins Promotions who help musicians take their music to the next level.
What is a Music Promoter? Well, I got the inside scoop from Melanie. She told me that the technical term is Promotions and Media Director, “and I’m also a booking agent,” she said.
For Melanie, there are two sides of the same coin, so to speak. “They work separately, and together. For example, if I’m talking to a new band, I would definitely encourage them to work with the media and promotions program because doing that is going to lead to a successful booking program. As an example, if a band has a web page or social media page, but it’s not kept fresh and active, then it’s not really helping them gain exposure, or helping them get bookings either.”
What Melanie offers is a double decker program where the artist is able to better their chances at getting exposure to festivals and get more bookings. “The goal of any media promoter is to gain the maximum exposure possible for their client, not just with promoters, but the fans as well,” Melanie said. “I strive to keep the artists connected to the industry and their fans at the same time. I really want them to all feel like family. That’s how we all refer to ourselves anyway. This all makes the long term success for the artist much more possible.”
Melanie recognizes that the other aspect of this is that when a band gets busy, especially during festival season, they just don’t have time to maintain the business side of things properly. “It’s an up-keep and a follow-through thing. Up-keeping the web presence, and the social media feeds, and the emails … much less maintaining databases of contacts in the business end of it; it can all be overwhelming, and easy to let slide,” she told me.
Friend and musician, Edgar Loudermilk, encouraged Melanie to get into this business after witnessing her manage a local festival at which he was performing. “I felt like there was a void where I could bring my level of service in to help some of these musicians reach a new level in their career.” she said.
Melanie had been in Real Estate for over 20 years. She took that experience, along with her marketing background and extensive bluegrass industry research to create the program she now offers as part of WPP. “I was selling houses, and now I’m selling bands,” she mused.
Check out our expanded conversation on our podcast, Americana Music Profiles.