Interview with Oleks of GRAND SOUNDS PR

Hello Oleks! Can you provide a brief overview of Grand Sounds PR and its mission in the music industry?
Hi there! Grand Sounds PR is a publicity (PR) company for Rock and Metal music, with strong connections to various media outlets, ranging from independent blogs to major magazines. This connectivity enables us to effectively promote heavy music. Since our establishment in 2012, we have collaborated on the materials of renowned bands such as Batushka, Hecate Enthroned, Kanonenfieber, Vader, Airforce (Doug Sampson (ex-Iron Maiden) feat. Paul Di’ Anno), Fleetburner (members of Dark Tranquility, In Flames), tour PRs for Incantation, Overkill, to name a few. Additionally, we have conducted promotional campaigns for a bunch of labels. Main coverage is in the EU, the UK, and Scandinavia, next are the USA, Canada, and Australia.
Our main directions include:
– Album/EP press promotion
YouTube video promotion
– Professional video production (Lyric Videos and more)
While reading this interview, feel free to check out some of our bands from 2023 HERE.

What led Grand Sounds PR to focus specifically on rock and metal bands and labels?
It’s quite simple – I’m a heavy music fan. In the past, having a music label and a music magazine since 2003, I gained enough knowledge and practical experience to work as a PR in the heavy music industry.

How does your agency tailor its promotional strategies to the unique needs of these genres?
Obviously, when working within a specific genre, you are in contact with the relevant press, radios, and so on, so there is nothing unusual, and I’m sure it works the same with any music genre.

Could you walk us through the typical process of how Grand Sounds PR promotes a new release for a client?
There is a specific promotional plan for each release, typically involving setting dates for press releases, announcements, and negotiations with relevant media. Following that, we proceed with music submission to the press, radios, and other relevant outlets.

What sets your approach apart in terms of delivering music to press, especially in magazines?
A couple of things set Grand Sounds apart. Firstly, there’s a 101% devotion and dedication to our work. Secondly, there’s an obsession with the quality of our work. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, we have personal business contacts with most of our partners. This guarantees that material received from Grand Sounds will be 100% checked and considered, avoiding being relegated to spam/trash tabs without being heard.

How has Grand Sounds PR developed and maintained strong relationships with press outlets, magazines, and other media channels?
Our approach involves years of dedicated work and maintaining tight communications. While it wasn’t easy, we have successfully reached a point where we’ve established and maintained these strong relationships.

In what ways do you ensure that the music you promote receives the attention it deserves from the media?
As mentioned earlier, the majority of our contacts eagerly anticipate materials from us, leading to a thorough 100% check and consideration of the content we provide. However, due to subjective factors such as “personal tastes” (acknowledging the highly subjective nature of music), not every album or EP may be accepted by the press. In the current landscape, where press receives digital promos, it differs significantly from the past when hard copy CDs or LPs were sent via mail, creating a sense of obligation for reviews. With digital promos, editors tend to select materials based on their preferences, contributing to a decline in negative reviews in recent years. For example, the UK’s Metal Hammer may not accept an album with famous musicians, but they will accept a new band from, let’s say, Chile (this is from my personal experience). So, once again, personal taste plays a huge role.

How does Grand Sounds PR stay updated on the latest trends and changes within the rock and metal music scenes? How has the industry changed over the years, and how has Grand Sounds PR adapted to these changes?
Staying updated on the latest trends and changes within the rock and metal music scenes is not particularly difficult when you’re immersed in the music industry. While there may be instances where we initially miss something, we ensure to catch up later. Adapting to industry changes is a continual process, and we remain agile in responding to shifts and developments within the dynamic landscape of rock and metal music.

What kind of collaboration do you typically engage in with your clients during a promotional campaign?
If you’re referring to the communication process, our collaboration involves several key aspects. Firstly, we always assist in creating the correct promotional plan, providing guidance and advice on various promotion strategies. We maintain constant communication, ensuring the client is updated on every aspect of the campaign. The level of engagement varies; for instance, with labels like Argonauta Records, the collaboration is akin to a ‘family’ dynamic; here, everyone is aligned in their goals, working together to explore all possible ways for maximum impact and effectiveness.

Do you have any specific requirements for bands or labels interested in potential collaboration?
Most importantly, we’re looking for good recording quality; and it’s important to get in touch with us several months before the material release date. This way, we can create a solid and effective promotional plan for your music.

Do you assist bands and labels in securing advertisement slots in major magazines?
Of course! Moreover, as mentioned earlier, since we have established business contacts with the press, we often receive special reduced prices for placing ads.

How does Grand Sounds PR measure the success of a promotional campaign? What should the band’s level of activity be during the publicity process?
The success of any promotional campaign is gauged by the number of publications, including articles, reviews, interviews, radio airplays, playlist additions, and more. Essentially, the more coverage achieved, the more successful the campaign. However, predicting the exact number of articles or reviews is challenging, as it depends on the personal tastes of editors. I often liken it to browsing through a music store where you may look at 20 albums but only purchase 2. Editors, being regular people, are unable to cover everything they receive. In summary, more articles equate to more success! Additionally, the band should actively engage on their social media platforms and welcome any feedback with gratitude, whether it’s a press release article, a Facebook/Twitter(X) repost, a review, or an interview. Bands must understand the importance of actively participating in the promotional process. Regular updates on Facebook, Instagram, signal to the audience that the band is active. Unfortunately, some bands neglect crucial aspects, such as responding to interviews or reposting reviews on their socials. This is unfortunate because it runs the risk of the audience forgetting about the band during periods of silence. Musicians must understand that in the present day, with an incredible number of bands, albums, and singles being released every day, gaining attention is not an easy task.

Are there any new services or strategies on the horizon that the agency is excited to explore?
Absolutely! We do have some new initiatives in the pipeline, but as they are still in the development process, I’m unable to provide specific details at the moment.

Quickfire Q&A:
Preferred social media platform – Facebook
Favorite music video GSP promoted – Hell:on “My Testament”
Biggest challenge in heavy music promotion – Not every band acknowledges the importance of promotion, how it works, and what it is for
Top emerging heavy music platform – Spotify. However, regrettably, Spotify compensates musicians with mere pennies for a substantial number of their music streams. I encourage fans to play a crucial role in supporting the bands by ordering physical CDs and LPs. Your support means the world to them!

Thank you for this interview and for your ongoing support of our releases!
Check out our official website, Facebook page and Twitter (X).
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