Melissa Taylor, managing director of Tailored Communication, the electronic music PR house representing everyone from M-nus’s Ambivalent to Hemlock’s Untold, gives an insight into what it takes to bring the music to the masses on a daily basis.
Place of work
Tailored Communication, Berlin, Germany.
Managing director and electronic music publicist.
How long have you had the job?
More than a decade…
Describe a typical working day
I get up and take my son to kindergarten then head into the office. I spend most of the day on email: pitching ideas, chasing up interviews, checking journalists received the music and whether they like it. I’ll make calls to some of the main editors I work with to talk through projects and see what features we can arrange, making sure the releases are high on their lists.
We always take time for lunch, usually meeting artists or visiting journalists. Listening to music is a big part of my day – we only take on projects that we love musically so that means the stereo is constantly rotating new music and there’s lots of banter in the office about what we’re hearing.
Highs of the job
Working with music and artists that we love, helping them to get their music out to an appreciative audience.
Lows of the job
Getting sent US dubstep/brostep records and/or Euro trance from overzealous managers and then trying to politely decline the work.
Has it become easier or more difficult to promote your artists and labels as electronic music moves towards the mainstream?
I would say that electronic music being more popular has opened the doors to more mainstream avenues than before but different genres are still subject to waves in taste and popularity. It’s a good thing that it’s more popular, so long as people still use their ears. I wouldn’t say it’s more or less difficult to promote our artists.
Who are the people who’ve had the biggest influence on your career and why?
I guess my friend Judy Griffith at Fabric, who I think is an exceptional woman and excellent promoter. She really cares about the music and the artists but she also has great strength and belief in her own taste. The way she has shaped and led the club with the music policy is, I believe, the main reason for its success. Working with her taught me so much and really shaped my attitude to how I get things done.
How did you get your job?
I trained at Slice PR after university and was then invited to join Fabric when they started their CD series, where I stayed for four years. In 2005 I left Fabric and moved to Berlin to start my own company.
How would we get a job like yours?
Being a publicist is all about your contacts. It’s not enough to have a list of email addresses. You need to know who those contacts are, what their musical taste is and what they’re writing about on a daily basis. The better and more established your relationship is with journalists, the more success you’re likely to have. Being a good clear writer is also crucial to presenting your clients and your ideas. You need to start at the bottom but quick learners with charm and enthusiasm get on fast.
You need to start at the bottom but quick learners with charm and enthusiasm get on fast.
Is university the best way into PR or is it better to spend three years working from the bottom, building up a contact book?
It depends if you consider university to be a vocational education or a life enhancement. I can’t imagine the kind of debt students have to put themselves in to get a university education now. I was lucky that my university education was free and so I had the luxury of studying a subject I adored yet has little to do with what I do now. Some people benefit hugely from university, gaining confidence and maturity there. For others it’s just another stepping stone on the path to their real life. Perhaps skipping university could be a head start, but perhaps the immaturity and lack of writing skills could lead to a longer time doing clippings and mailouts… Horses for courses!