Inside the Industry with Rachel Martin
From being a music photographer/writer to becoming the digital project manager for some of the world’s up and coming and known artists, Rachel Martin has been on both sides of the music industry; She has requested things from publicists and is now the one approving requests as a publicist.
Come inside the industry with us to know all about Rachel Martin’s career from photographing to publicist!
Hi Rachel! Thanks for taking the time out of your busy day to talk to us about your job! To start, tell everyone what exactly you do in the music industry and who are some of the clients you represent.
Hello! Well, my official title is “Digital Project Manager” but I’m basically a digital publicist. I work for Total Assault, a third party company that gets hired on by labels and managers to represent their artists. Some of the most known artists I work with are Rixton, Shawn Mendes, ICP, Redfoo (from LMFAO), American Authors, Celeste Buckingham and more. I also work some amazing smaller artists, like Sinclair – she’s a gem.
What is a normal day in the life of your job/ your daily responsibilities?
I’m not really sure what normal is anymore. My “normal” is pretty crazy – one day I could be in the office sending follow ups from a press release, the next day I could be on set of a music video shoot or in the studio. Basically, I am responsible for pushing an artists content online, whether that be an album, a song, a music video, etc.
What did you have to major in to become the Digital Marketing Manager at Total Assault?
Total Assault actually didn’t even ask me if I had a degree, they just relied on my job experience! I’ve found that most PR jobs either prefer you have a degree in communications or PR, or equivalent job experience.
What would you say is the hardest and most rewarding part of your job?
I would say the hardest thing about my job is getting someone else to believe in something that I believe in. What I mean by that is, I have come across and worked with so many amazing and talented musicians that don’t quite of an attractive large social following or a household name, and a lot of times editors get so many emails a day that they will skip over someone they’ve never heard of.
On the contrary, the most rewarding part is being a part of an album release campaign, and seeing said album succeed. Rixton’s debut album Let The Road was just released after almost a year of working with the band, and I’ve never been more proud to be a part of something so great.
Not only do you do publicity for some amazing artists, but you’re also an amazing photographer. How did you you get your start as a live music photographer?
Thank you! I actually got my start so randomly. I always knew I wanted to do something music related, so I started writing for a blog (that has now shut down) called Inspirer Magazine. In 2010, I was supposed to conduct some interviews at SXSW Festival in Austin, and the photographer didn’t show up. I happened to have a DSLR camera with me that I had gotten as a high school graduation present, and I taught myself how to work it, and took some of my very first band photos! They were terrible, and because they were terrible I wanted to work harder to learn the craft and perfect it. I’ve been growing ever since and have had the chance to photograph people like Taylor Swift, Imagine Dragons, Sam Smith, and some of the biggest music festivals like Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits. I don’t shoot as much as I used to since I got into PR full time, but that makes the times that I do get to shoot more exciting. I’m actually shooting lots of great shows coming up, including Wango Tango and Taylor Swift’s 1989 World Tour. Stoked!
Do you think because you were a photographer/writer before, that it was an easier transition to PR and Marketing Manager?
Absolutely. I actually got my job now from covering a lot of artists represented by my current boss! I definitely knew how to write press releases and pitches – I got thousands of them a week.
How was the transition, going from a music photographer asking for credentials to shoot a band to becoming the person to approve people to shoot bands?
Haha well, I definitely understand both sides now. I used to get offended when I would get denied for shows, but now I know that I shouldn’t take it personal. A lot of times, approvals have to go through several people (management, label, the band members themselves) and not just PR. Also, sometimes a band will get 10 spots for press, and sometimes just 1 or 2, or none, so it’s all about who applied first and what publication is more important to the band/artist’s audience. I also know how bad it sucks when you apply for a ticket/photo pass to cover a show, only to get no reply after several follow ups. I try to ALWAYS reply to a request that comes in out of respect of the blogger/writer/photographer’s time.
Do you look at shooting bands and writing reviews differently now that you’re the person seeing all the press coverage and knowing exactly what a publicist is looking for?
YES. Although I always would write a review to go along with photos, I now know how important written reviews are for bands. I’m no SEO expert, but I’ve learned that the more words written about an artist on a site, the more likely it is to show up in a google search. If a band I saw played a show that I wasn’t able to attend, I usually google it the next day, and it’s nice to read a review/recap of the show!
What would you say is your biggest success during your time at Total Assault thus far?
I’m probably going to go back to the Rixton project here – this band is amazing and has such an incredible team working behind them. I have been so lucky to be a part of this album release, leading up to tours with Ariana Grande and Ed Sheeran. I know I am only a small fraction of this band’s success, their talent speaks for itself, but it’s just really awesome to go from only tiny and few sites wanting to cover them, to being on sites like Billboard every day.
What are some of your longtime goals that you have? Do you want to continue at Total Assault or eventually have your own company?
Total Assault is great. I definitely don’t think I will stay here forever, as the music industry is a place that’s constantly changing. I think I would like to dig into artist management at some point, as I love working directly with artists. I’m not sure if I can see myself having my own company, but that’s probably because I haven’t been doing this for very long! Who knows what will happen in the next year or five, but I do know that I am extremely passionate about music and watching an artist grow, so I’m in this for the long run!
Interview by: Nicole Lemberg
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