Tuesday, 25 January 2011

We've moved.

Hello all,

The last post from us on here as we're moving all our blogging activity over to our new website.

Keep checking it out for all information about stuff we've got coming up!

Outpost x

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Shad's Metro 'Hit List'

Canadian hip hop artist Shad (Decon/Black Box Records) was featured in the Metro's 'Hit List' column today. The piece below is the third appearance in the paper from the new artist to promote his album 'TSOL', available now.

‘TSOL’ is the third album from Vancouver based MC Shad, released on Black Box/Decon. Widely hyped in the US and Canada, including a nomination for the Polaris Music Prize, the album sees Shad at the top of his game; combining a strong lyrical flow with beats that reveal influences from a wide range of genres.

You can read Metro's review of the album here: http://www.metro.co.uk/music/reviews/848652-shads-tsol-a-more-cerebral-brand-of-hip-hop and for more infomration on Shad and upcoming shows in the UK go to www.shadk.com/.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Outpost Media MD David Silverman Profile Feature

Outpost MD & Founder David Silverman talks to Unicorn Jobs about the world for PR

In a band, and having promised the Arts Council he’d help promote new artists in return for a five grand grant, David Silverman found himself on the phone to a local newspaper securing coverage. It was then he realised he should perhaps quit the band and start a career in PR.

But the passion for music remained, so he moved to London and started working in music publicity. In late 2004 the entrepreneurial bug that had led to the aforementioned Arts Council grant returned, and he set up his own agency, Outpost.

Although probably best known for working with music clients, including labels, festivals, artists and DJs, David’s agency has gone beyond traditional music PR, working with brands like O2, Fiat, Red Stripe and Calvin Klein, though often utilising the company’s music expertise as part of those campaigns.

We spoke to David about his career to date, life at Outpost, and what makes a PR tick.

How did you first get into PR?

Well, it’s going to sound like a cliche, but I really fell into it. I was in a band and we applied for an ‘Awards For All’ lottery grant to set up a community-based record label. To our surprise, we were successful and they gave us £5000. We were on the dole at the time, so it was a lot of money, so we set about starting the label, and one thing that we had said we would do was set up a night to promote local artists.

The guy I was in the band with wasn’t really keen on getting involved with the events side, so I started promoting the night myself. I phoned up the local paper to start generating some publicity, mainly to get demos from bands interested in playing at our night. I got us in the music pages and, unbeknownst to me, had just generated my first bit of press. I didn’t even realise at the time that people got PAID to do that! The penny dropped and a PR was born.

Tell us a bit about the history of Outpost

Armed with my minuscule bits of self-generated press for my night, I moved to London in 2000 to work in PR, because it seemed my best bet of getting a job that I would look forward to going into everyday. By late 2004, I was an established music PR, having worked for a couple of different agencies.

The problem was that I was outgrowing the company I was with, mainly because they didn’t share my ambition, and I eventually became frustrated. So I decided to quit and start my own agency. Generally when you are offered an opportunity in life, that window only remains open for so long. So, when the opportunity came, I took it. And once you are committed to something, things start to happen that you could never predict. By our launch date in January 2005 I had four new clients. Within four weeks I had taken on Outpost’s first employee, and within six months we launched our online, radio and TV divisions.

Our culture is that we go into battle for our clients and we offer them the best service we can. We are also honest with them, and manage their expectations, something too often lacking in our industry. Sticking to these values allowed us to quickly create an excellent reputation for Outpost, and work started to flow in.

What kind of clients do you now work for?

We work with a range of clients. A lot of music companies, record labels, promoters, festivals, DJs, artists themselves. We’ve worked with so many over the years, Sony Music, Warner Brothers, The Big Chill Festival, Warp, !K7, Groove Armada, Skream, Terry Callier… I could go on.

We also work with consumer brands, mainly on their music projects. At the moment we’re working with O2 and Fiat, but in the past we’ve also worked with clients like Red Stripe, Calvin Klein and Coca-Cola. We’re also in the process of working with our first fashion client, Mr Jones Watches.

How does your work for music companies differ from what you do for consumer brands?

The terminology is different, and our actual clients within brands tend to be more experienced in marketing and communications, and to think more strategically. That’s not to say that’s never the case in music, the major record companies are very good when it comes to strategy.

But some of the smaller music firms, or when we are working directly for artists, those clients might find it harder to adjust to our way of thinking: after all, musicians are supposed to write and perform music, and not run businesses. In those cases, often we will have to explain the PR process to people.

If you’re working with a brand, then they’ve got a boss, who’s got a boss, and their job is on the line, so there is no messing around, which I prefer. As a result, you are judged on delivery of targets, and that more structured experience has definitely influenced the way we approach our music campaigns.

What is your typical working day like?

I usually get up around eight and check my e-mails and then get into the office about 9/9.30, sometimes later, sometimes earlier. I am definitely not an “up at 6am, in the office at 7am” person, that’s just not me. I’ll go through emails, catch up on the news, and then I will have short individual meetings with the team. I’ll spend the day dealing with current campaigns and clients, and maybe follow up on some interesting projects that I think we would like to work on. I finish around 7ish, but then I’ll be out at an event or I’ll check e-mails later in the evening, I don’t switch off.

You have relations with all kinds of media. TV and radio have always been priorities for the music industry, but less so for other sectors. Do you represent your non-music clients to these media to?

That’s where our music experience really comes in to play. We’ve got contacts at a level other traditional agencies can’t compete with, and brands want to tap into that. We’ve had considerable success in getting coverage for non-music clients on radio and TV. For example, we recently generated substantial coverage for Fiat on Radio 4 and ‘Newsnight’ on BBC2.

You’ve been doing online PR for sometime, how has this part of your business changed as the internet has developed?

We started doing online PR as a separate service to printed press almost right from the beginning. It was clear the way the media was going. Online is constantly evolving, if you went away for a year you wouldn’t know what was going on when you came back. Press and radio pretty much stay the same, except for a few changes here and there. Online moves at a frenetic pace and the landscape is constantly changing. And the appetite for content is voracious.

Do you think the growth of online and social media has had an impact on your more traditional PR work too?

Well, I think from a communication point of view, it’s been great – a whole new kind of media came up from nowhere that needed to be serviced. Information is everywhere, as much as you can eat. It has meant that the number of printed publications we work with have decreased though, by about half I would say, in the last ten years.

However the essence of communication is still there, it hasn’t changed – whether it’s online, offline, paid for or non-paid for, there are still the fundamental elements of communicating with consumers that need to be adhered to: is it believable? is it genuine? is it truthful? These are the basic building blocks for communication, and that has not changed.

What’s the best bit about your job?

The best bit is when you come up with a campaign plan – a cracking creative idea that you tell everyone is going to work – and then you see it in the press and think “we’ve created that”. When your colleagues and clients look at you in disbelief and say “how on earth did you do that?”. That’s the ultimate buzz you get from being a PR, there’s a real punch the air feeling. If you’re not getting a buzz from those big media hits, or indeed not getting those media hits at all, then you’re in the wrong job.

Running the company, I also enjoy it when you work with new members of staff, train them up so that they can achieve the same results, and have their own “how did you do that?” moments. Seeing the next generation of PRs race out of the traps is another great buzz.

What’s the worst bit?

Clients who have unrealistic expectations. When you are presented with very limited budgets and are expected to, how shall I say it politely, turn a sow’s ear into a silver purse. In fact we turn down about 40% of companies who approach us to work for them – mainly for these reasons. Maintaining our integrity as an agency is important to us and is what works in the long term.

What advice would you give people considering a career in PR?

It’s a tough climate, particularly in the music industry. The only advice I would give is persistence, without stalking – there’s a difference! Also, you need to have good written English. And be good on the phone. You have to be good at cold calling, and that starts by calling the people you want to work for. Emailing is too easy, there’s a whole generation of people that think sending an email equals working – and it really doesn’t. Young people have grown up with email and texts and forgotten the art of the phone call. When they come to Outpost it’s like we have to gradually retrain their text messaged/email brainwashed minds! PS that doesn’t mean every aspiring PR should start calling me everyday!

Tell us something about yourself we couldn’t find out on the internet

I just bought my first ever car yesterday, an Audi A3 Automatic – because I can’t be bothered changing the gears.


Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Scientist Tour Kicks Off This Week

Tickets are available for the Fabric date this Thursday here: fabriclondon.ticketabc.com/events/rbma18-11/

You can download a track from the album via our friends at XLR8R here: xlr8r.com/news/2010/11/download-track-scientists-upcomi

multiverse-music.com | myspace.com/tectonicrecordings

New Gangrene Release: ‘Gutter Water’

Release Date: 17th January 2011

Famed producer/emcee The Alchemist and the left-coast rapper/beatsmith Oh No are collaborating as Gangrene to bring audiences the gritty opus ‘Gutter Water’ on Decon. Over the course of three years and a myriad of emails the two have built a project that celebrates their shared passion and distinctly different application for dusty breaks and lurid wordplay.

As an artist, The Alchemist cut his teeth making beats for NYC legends Mobb Deep and Jadakiss in the early 2000s. Both camps made appearances on Alc’s 2006 solo debut ‘1st Infantry’ and he has since become Eminem’s touring DJ as well as producing for the likes of Lil’ Wayne and Nas. Simultaneously, on the other side of the country Oh No was producing a plethora of tracks for Stones Throw, home to artist and Oh No’s brother Madlib, leading up to the release of his three solo albums. Gangrene’s ‘Gutter Water’ is the indie/mainstream middle-ground at which the two collide.

On ‘Gutter Water’ both The Alchemist and Oh No and share production duties while trading verses over each other’s dense compositions. Both find themselves remarkably at ease amongst the threatening drums pounded out on endearing vintage equipment, flipping verses that run the gamut from literal to abstract, amounting to an incredible collection of head-nodders. A myriad of artists including Raekwon, Evidence, Roc C, MED, Twins Gambino, Planet Asia and Fashawn are featured.

Officially formed in 2003 after the success of their first feature length film and cult classic ‘One Big Trip’, Decon Records has become a leader in the independent music scene, home to legends and tomorrow’s cultural leaders alike. Operating as an artistic partner, Decon only signs 50/50 deals with their artists, bringing their strategic marketing and video production arms into the fold, fostering multi-media experiences with every release. Decon artists cross a wide spectrum of talent, and include the likes of Dilated Peoples, Freestyle Fellowship, Jurassic 5, Chali 2na, Aceyalone, Evidence, Rakaa, RJD2, Lyrics Born, 88-Keys, and recent partnerships with Jay Electronica and Nneka.

deconrecords.com | sewergravy.com

Your festival, your audience: How to interact

By Johnny Beverton, Online Account Manager at Outpost

Johnny Beverton is an expert in Online Public Relations. Here he gives his advice to festivals on how to get the most out of social media.

Strategy is the key

Social media is a key element to any successful festival. Keeping in touch with your fans will increase the awareness of your festival and maintain its profile during the periods when you need to translate tentative interest into confirmed ticket sales.

Your social networks will play a vital part in creating the momentum required to achieve this goal. Using Twitter and a Facebook page is a must - making sure they are kept relevant with regular updates. People spend a lot of their free time on their social networks (and for some, also a lot of their work time) alongside regular music and festival websites. You want to be sure that your social networking pages are a portal of interesting information for the discerning festival goer.

There are a lot of things you can do to grow these pages, build awareness and connect with your audience. For example:

Facebook - tagging competitions - those who join and tag themselves on your page are entered into a draw to win merchandise/CDs/tickets.

Twitter - retweet competitions - with those who follow you, inviting them to retweet a post you’ve made with followers scrambling to get a chance to win merchandise/CDs/tickets. This will give you an excuse to contact your followers with something they’re going to really be interested in.

Contact all your fans via Twitter and Facebook asking what they’d like to hear on your new monthly festival podcast – not only are you engaging with them but the podcast works as great promotional material to use for your PR campaign.

Interacting with your followers on a personal level will help to build the bond that will ultimately attract people to part with their cash. People will see your Twitter as a gateway to have contact with you, the festival organiser - take full advantage of this opportunity to engage with your fans and talk to them. If you treat them right they will do a lot of the hard work for you.

Facebook Places and Foursquare

Cheryl Cole’s doing it for her new album – why can’t you? Facebook Places and Foursquare campaigns are creeping into our everyday lives. Imagine a poster advertising your festival which invites fans to login to Facebook on their phone, join your page and register their location on Facebook Places. Those who do will be added to a prize draw to win merchandise/CDs/tickets, and you can set up Facebook to announce specific news of your choice about the Festival on their feed. Not only will people be aware of your marketing through the poster on the street but they’ll also be advertising it themselves.

People want content

Give your fans a reason to talk about your event - come to them with the goods. Artists available for interview, artists with new tracks, news and releases you can piggyback off will help you on your quest for talkability. Got something to say? You could do a video interview talking about the festival and make it available for all to see via your social networks, website and newsletter.

It’s all about synergy

Don’t call me cheesy – it’s true. Using Twitter, Facebook and various other tools alongside your other PR and marketing exploits will really bring your online presence together. It’s not about one network; each have their own strengths. Festival success will stem from keeping up with new technologies and using them to grow your communities. There’s never been more competition and the clued up people are the ones who can command results online. You want to be one of them, right?

Contact johnny[at]outpostmedia.co.uk or call 0207 684 5634 for more info.

O2 Your Country Live

The O2 Your Country Live Tour takes over Shepherds Bush Empire for four day residency.

On 8th November, O2 began the O2 Your Country Live Tour in London taking over the Shepherds Bush Empire for a four day residency before moving on to Liverpool, Birmingham and Glasgow for regional dates.

The tour kicked off with a Carribean event and performances from reggae superstar Tarrus Riley and DJ David Rodigan. Next was a night of African music headlined by internationally acclaimed artist Nneka, supported by Ghana's most prolific contemporary musical icon Samini and resident Scratch DJ Richie Pitch. Australian act Regurgitator lead the Antipodean evening with help from New Zealand hip hop artist Scribe, with Poland's biggest singer-songwriter Kayah providing the finale supported by Czech pop band Toxique.

The sell-out shows were part of a FREE annual live music event to reward O2’s international calling community in the UK, with tickets available for customers through the O2 website.

Visit facebook.com/o2yourcountrylive for more information on the tour, and upcoming events.