Heart of Steel: Interviews

Industry Profile - Chipster Entertainment’s Jen Farhood

VP Tour Press Talks about the Public Relations Business

Interview By Keith McDonald

Chipster Entertainment has worked with many hard rock and heavy metal acts including KISS, Rob Halford, Megadeth, Tesla and others. They provide the publicity (PR) that so many bands need to excel in the music business. Getting interviews and CD reviews in magazines and websites is so crucial in a band hitting that platinum status. I had the opportunity to speak with Jen about this side of the business.

 

How did you get started in the music business?

My Aunt worked at Virgin Records as the Head of Publicity in Montreal, Canada. She invited me out to see one of her artists perform at a club, and that sparked my interest.

 

How long have you been at Chipster Entertainment? Have you worked anywhere else?

I've been here for 2 years. I've also worked at BMG Records, and many other radio stations and Indy labels in Canada that you've probably never heard of...

 

What exactly is tour press? How much different, if at all, is it from a regular press agent?

It is my job to create awareness in each market the band's perform in while they are on the road. Usually, this entitles dealing with major daily & weekly papers, local TV shows, and internet outlets in each city in the tour.

 

What artists are you currently working? Any well known artists that you've worked with before?

We've worked with everyone from KISS to Smashing Pumpkins to Limp Bizkit. A few artists we are currently working with include Iggy Pop, Rob Halford and Megadeth, as well as a few up and coming bands such as Nonpoint, Darwin's Waiting Room and Scratching Post. We also do movie marketing, the most recent being 'Rock Star' (Mark Wahlberg, Jennifer Aniston).

 

Do you travel on the road with these artists? Do you do press by each city? If so, how hard is that?

No, we don't travel on the road with the artists. Our staff will usually attend shows when they pass through Philadelphia and the surrounding markets (including NY).

 

What are the day to day events of a tour press person?

Follow up, follow through, and repeat.....

 

How has the Internet helped? Does this help you find new contacts?

Yes, of course. The Internet has played a major role in our business. It is extremely essential for communicating on a day to day basis (email, researching new outlets etc.)

 

What has been your best and worst experience so far? Are the artists usually easy to work for or very demanding? What about the record labels, are they demanding?

My best experience has been meeting new people. You learn something new each day in this business, and you can only learn by doing. This includes making mistakes. You learn from your mistakes, and move on from there. We have made some very good friends through dealing with the artists and labels. The music business is very demanding, but if this is the business you choose to be in, you must learn to deal with it.

 

Do you have any advise for an unsigned artist looking for press coverage?

Just keep a good log of all the press that's been generated on your band until you have an impressive press kit put together. This includes any CD reviews and press that's been written up on your band to preview shows etc. Make it attractive.

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