Something quite remarkable happened yesterday. As Kate and I were working together, as usual, we happened to receive quite a few messages in quick succession regarding an article by another promoter and webzine Reyt Good Music. The article was entitled ‘Inside The Music Industry – Bands/PR Pitfalls’ and focused only on our business: Northern Exposure.
You can read it here: http://www.rgm.press/editorial-inside-the-music-industry-bands-pr-pitfalls/
(You wanted hits RGM and now you’ve certainly got them. We are gracious enough to let you enjoy them)
Cited as an opinion piece, it actually only focused on our company and the opinion of the writer, with no contrasting opinion from the staff and musicians that we work with. We do feel it’s in the interests of our clients, readers and fans to respond to these claims.
The article was looking at promotional packages – of which we offer here http://northern-exposure.co/promotions-2/
However, it constantly referred to our promotion package yet misquoted or quoted untruths, all of which we would like to address below:
‘In-house benefits also include an interview on the NE website, as well as a recorded live set, combined with representation by a company PR consultant. All for a total of “price on request”. Alternatively, their “band boost” package seems to offer everything bar the release pitch, for a defined price of £100 a month.’
We don’t even offer a band boost for a start. What you actually receive, which is stated on the promo info we send out, is as follows for one set fee of £100:
- A dedicated band page on Northern Exposure website and the brand to promote yourselves.(We get 25-40k hits per month on the website alone, 9k FB likes, 2k Instagram followers and 3.5k Twitter followers all of which are organic, genuine music fans)
- A dedicated NE manager to give help & advice with anything band related.
- Advertising on the site. (This alone could run into thousands with some companies)
- Photo shoot. (Again can run into hundreds)
- Priority with reviews, interviews and anything else you need covering. (We don’t charge for any of these but promo bands do get priority)
- Advice on the best ways to get press for your band.
- Help to navigate the maze that is social media and help up your presence.
- Help get your band get more gigs and more attention.
- Email/telephone contact available Mon-Fri 9-5 (All enquiries outside these hours will be dealt with in the next office hours)
- Emergency telephone contact for anything that can’t wait.
‘Reading through the webpage, the packages are decidedly vague. I tried to get into contact with Northern Exposure for a more detailed comment, but received no response.’
We offer one package only, benefits of which are clearly stated on the page. We speak to each band in depth before we take anyone on to find out what they require. Many bands work full-time and don’t have the time to do these things, so here’s where we come in. We receive a HUGE amount of emails every single day and it may well be that this one simply slipped through the net – if it was sent at all. The team at RGM know us all and know how to contact us via social media, phone and email. There was no excuse for not getting in touch before putting out an article of this nature. We have however received various emails over the past few months asking various dodgy questions about our promo packages which arouses suspicion.
‘As previously stated, most modern bands are perfectly capable of managing their social media by themselves, with the only obvious benefit of the listed package being the ability to piggyback off of the followers that the Northern Exposure Page already has. But for a minimum of £100 a month, this benefit seems expensive, and if the assistance offered by management boils down to just help with promotion and gig bookings, then it seems hard to recommend.’
First of all, we only charge £100 a month so this word minimum is very misleading and constitutes very poor investigative journalism. Their comment: This benefit seems expensive shows that this writer clearly has not done his research: a simple Google search would have quickly enlightened him to the cost of promo packages that sometimes can be anything upwards of £495 a month and do not provide a personal service such as ours. £100 a month is massively under budget for what we offer. Our management does not only consist of promotion and gig bookings – where they sourced that information from is anyone’s guess.
The Kavaliers, who are currently the only band we manage, had this to say:
“The last six months have been better than ever for us … Since we joined up with Northern Exposure, things have started to take off and Rachel and Kate are really helping us make the step towards becoming a semi-professional band. It means a lot to have people behind you who believe in you and want YOU to succeed in something you love doing which Northern Exposure do – they have our backs. We can’t wait to see what this summer has to bring”
‘Most modern bands are perfectly capable of managing their social media by themselves, with the only obvious benefit of the listed package being the ability to piggyback off of the followers that the Northern Exposure Page already has‘.
Anyone with true knowledge and experience of working with bands knows full well that juggling a full-time job and a band is incredibly difficult and while some bands do manage it, we are there for those who would rather have our help and support. The Mojo Filters are one such band and had this to say:
“I’m extremely happy with Northern Exposure. I absolutely love what they do for us and have done in such a short amount of time. I love the insight the team is giving to us and the backing we are getting. Because of internal things happening, it has added pressure to me to the point I’ve had to ask a band member to step up to help (what with having to do shift work and running a band as well as having a missus) but it’s good pressure. Demanding more from us. We are extremely happy indeed and long may our partnership continue. We feel we are with the right team. We are starting to really pick up locally so we need a team like yours. It’s imperative.”
‘For the same price, an artist could just as easily pay for their own promotion through paid ads on sites like Facebook, and it will only be the inexperience of independent bands that will keep them from realising this.’
An artist could not achieve the level of support offered by us with Facebook ads. It’s news to us that Facebook personally attend your gigs, give you a photo shoot, are at the end of the phone 24/7, offer priority on interviews, reviews, updates, gigs and advice, deal with correspondence on your behalf, email companies, venues, promoters pushing your band and organise gigs along with festival applications! Literally you call us and we endeavour to help you in any which way we can. In all dealings with bands we share with them how we are promoting them so of course, as they grow with us they also learn the promotional journey we take them on. In time, if they feel they can manage things themselves, bands are not tied into anything and are able to dip in and out on a monthly basis as they wish. No one is pulling the wool over anyone’s eyes although this article insinuates this.
‘These packages seem to be nothing but a money-making scheme, rather than a genuine desire and/or ability to help bands reach higher levels of success.’
This is outright slander and directly targets the Northern Exposure’s package. The money we charge each month goes someway to supporting the work we do for each of our bands but by no means does this cover the expenses paid out each month to promote and support these bands fully. Myself and Kate work practically voluntarily as this is a labour of love. We barely cover expenses. If we are lucky enough to make any profit this goes back in part to paying bands to play and pay for their the travel and provide the riders for which we are famed for. We hold a VERY good and strong reputation for looking after any band that works or plays for us, as the following quotes at the bottom of this article indicate. It doesn’t surprise us that these quotes were chosen to be ignored by RGM. No attempt was made to list all the services provided FREE by NE over the last three years and no attempt was made to balance the article prior to publication. It does need noting that the article has since been very heavily edited, possibly in an attempt to avoid litigation.
This was clearly a malicious, pointless and unnecessary attack on Northern Exposure by Reyt Good Music.
There are dodgy promoters, labels and managers everywhere in the industry who are only out for themselves and to make a personal gain from bands. We are certainly not in that category. We are one of the very VERY rare ones out there who are in it for the MUSIC FIRST and genuinely want to help upcoming artists get somewhere. In an industry where people are working together in unison for the greater good of unsigned bands, it deeply saddens us that they felt the need to attempt to publicly tarnish our name. We are being publicly chastised for being paid to do the leg work on the promotional side for bands, like every other PR company anywhere does.
Clearly, they see us doing well and they are trying to piggyback on our good name by attempting to drag us through the mud. We have repeatedly asked RGM’s owner Carl to remove our logo from the piece as it has been used without permission to which he has responded with a ‘thumbs up’. After RGM posted the article on Facebook a number of fans and friends of Northern Exposure commented disputing their motives and suddenly things were then added to the piece in an attempt to make the article look a little more balanced.
We strongly feel the article was neither balanced nor fair but was a perfect example of how pejorative language is used to potentially sway a audience and insinuate our motives are anything but genuine. However, RGM continue to harp on about how they are the best in the business and obviously feel troubled about the impact NE are having in Sheffield and nationally. We aren’t a competitive company as our main aim is, as two busy females in the industry, mums who juggle life every single day, only to promote good music. It truly saddens us that anyone in the industry would attempt the derailment of a small company working 24/7 to further the careers of indie bands and their music.
While we are not at all troubled by this article, as jealousy is an ugly emotion and we aim to ignore such tragic playground behaviour, this isn’t the first time we have had issues with this publication or the owner and so we felt we had to respond. From the tone of the emails I have received over the last couple of days, our experience with RGM isn’t unique. They clearly see bad press and upsetting people as a way to draw attention to themselves which in itself is incredibly narcissistic. The old adage ‘Any publicity is better than none’ clearly hasn’t been the case this time.
We have offered to meet with RGM and discuss what it is that has upset them so much about what we do but they have declined the invitation. This piece does not in anyway reflect what we do on a daily basis or the impact we are having.
We would like to thank everyone for their phone calls, emails, comments and texts of support over the past 24 hours. We are overwhelmed by this show of support. One comment sticks in our mind:
‘This article says more about RGM than it does Northern Exposure’
We are inclined to agree.
RACHEL BROWN & KATE O’BRIEN.
‘This is an opinion piece, please feel free to comment below with your thoughts.’
The Garage Flowers
‘Where can I start? The hospitality and the friendliness just completely blew me away when me and the rest of The Garage Flowers came down to Sheffield on the 16th Nov to play at the Frog & Parrot; it was more like meeting up with old friends rather than dwelling into the unknown, and that’s something you don’t get very often at all! This shows that with anything Northern Exposure do, they strive for excellence and will make you their friend whether you’re in a band or just down for the night. Amazing people to know and work with!’
‘We played a Tramlines Fringe festival set up and organised by Northern Exposure in Sheffield. For us it was one of the highlights of the year. There was a great atmosphere, good turnout and the event was well organised. The sound guy did a fantastic job and we had a great time playing. We’d be more than happy to work with Northern Exposure any time’
“It’s great to have the support of Northern Exposure, we played their stage at Tramlines Fringe Festival this year at The Royal Standard in Sheffield and we were made to feel so welcome and had an amazing time. The team are so passionate about creating a thriving live music scene and it means a lot to have them championing our music alongside all the other brilliant acts they support. The way they look after the acts they work with is brilliant! We are really looking forward to working with Northern Exposure in 2018!”
Bang Bang Romeo
‘Northern Exposure is a team really rather close to my heart. Female led, fearless, with a strong work ethic and genuine love for music. In a world where people wanna spread negativity, these guys spread only positivity and genuine exuberance for what they believe in, which is giving new music a chance. I think that is an amazing thing. BIG UP THE NORTH!’
‘It’s been a class year for us – Kate and Rachel have been brilliant for us our name is defo out there now. Bring on 2018 – can’t wait!’
‘Music promotion which puts the bands first. It’s refreshing to see a group of people putting the bands they work with at the centre of what they do. They’re only happy if the bands are happy’
‘The Northern Exposure team not only work tirelessly to promote new music, they also dedicate their efforts and passion for live music to aid charitable causes. They’re the most encouraging and supportive bunch with an ear for the music of the future’
‘Northern Exposure is the back bone of the Sheffield music scene to put a gig on is not just to rack up and play, it’s the hard work and prepping before hand. Kate and Rachel make sure you’re welcome and comfortable. They have a well organised and professional approach to all shows they put on’
The Time Sellers
‘We’ve loved being part of the Northern Exposure family this year & especially the work with Musicians Against Homelessness . To be out & about gigging is why we do what we do , but when you can combine that with helping others it makes things even more worthwhile . Here’s to 2018 … let’s do it all over again!’
‘Northern Exposure were great to work with, really organised and made us feel totally welcome and that they were grateful for our performance! Would recommend to any bands wanting to play outside their own city’
‘Having been on both sides of the NE stage this year, playing and watching, I can honestly say the are one of the best and most hard working groups of people we’ve worked with. Mental bands, mental fans and by far the best rider going! It’s been a pleasure to work with NE this year’