FAQ for Local Musicians 

Please take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the following FAQ. This helps us to better serve everyone, and helps you to get what you want.

So I play music and want to be in City Paper -- what do I do?
When is a good time to approach CP for coverage?
How does CP cover local music?
Which format should I ask for?
How much lead time do you need?
What about photos?
But I/we don't have a photo.
Should I send an e-mail or a physical press kit?
What should my press kit include?
OK, I have my press kit ready, and know what I'm asking for. Who should I send music to?
When should I expect a response to my press kit?
How do I submit concert listings?
But I don't want an article or anything -- can't you just listen to my music and give me some feedback?

So I play music and want to be in City Paper -- what do I do?
Great! We're happy to consider your music for inclusion in several areas. But before you send us a CD or e-mail, we ask that you take a few minutes to organize the relevant information, and figure out what you want from us and when. We're always baffled by that lone CD that shows up with no other information, and it happens more often than you'd think.

When is a good time to approach CP for coverage?
There's no hard and fast rule, and we're always looking for new music -- and interesting people -- to write about. We'd rather cover something fresh than a band that's been around the block a few times. That said, it helps if you're playing shows, have some music for us to listen to, and have the beginnings of a local following.

Here's something to keep in mind: With so many deserving acts to cover, CP can probably only write about you once or twice in a given year. So, think about the coming year, and when you will most need our help -- a big show, an album release, that sort of thing -- and contact us accordingly.

How does CP cover local music?
The CP staff covers local music in several formats -- please consult current issues to get a better idea of these categories.

  • Weekly local-music columns include time-sensitive news items, particularly local music-industry items.
  • Profile articles, from 250-750 words. These are almost exclusively tied to events, such as a CD release show, or other higher-profile event.
  • Short List. These short items highlight events and concerts happening that week, often with a photo.
  • Concert listings. These are free and open to everyone. Please see below for more details.
  • CD Reviews. These are non-time-sensitive articles about a specific release.
  • FFW>> Blog includes our weekly "MP3 Monday" feature (a downloadable mp3 by a local group), as well as quick updates on local concerts and follow-up pieces on groups we've covered.
  • Cover stories. We run cover stories on local music approximately four times a year. Subjects for these articles are chosen and researched months in advance, so please do not ask us to put you on the cover last minute. If we think you'd be a great subject for a cover story, we're probably already written about you, and we'll contact you.

Which format should I ask for?
When you contact us, please specify which categories of coverage you're most interested in, based on the above, and we'll do our best. Please bear in mind that starting small -- a Short List, CD review or blog post -- may be most advantageous for you. A few small items spread out over time may be more helpful for you if your group is still developing.

How much lead time do you need?
Our columns, Short List and blog posts don't require more than a couple of weeks of lead time, but the more the better. For preview articles, 1-2 months is best. For non-time-sensitive CD reviews, send it in and we'll handle it as time and print space permit.

What about photos?
CP does shoot original photos of local musicians from time to time, but photo assignments are few and planned out well in advance. Having your own reasonably high-res photo readily available online will help you immeasurably, and these days, it's pretty much free. If possible, host it on your Web site and send us a link; a MySpace page is also fine if you clearly specify which photo(s) you'd like us to use.

But I/we don't have a photo.
Yeah, we noticed -- why is that?

Should I send an e-mail or a physical press kit?
Please send both if possible. We receive a high volume of e-mail, and frankly, it's easier to keep track of a CD.

What should my press kit include?
Plenty of articles and books can offer you detailed suggestions and guidelines for putting together an effective press kit. Here's the basics:

Minimum:

  • CD or other medium with your music and all contact info affixed. (If you haven't received your CDs from the manufacturer, that's fine — send us a burned CDR with a printout of the track listing and details. Don't wait until it's too late for us to help you.) If you send vinyl or cassette, please include a CDR or a link to mp3s.
  • A sheet of paper that includes all contact info, where to obtain photos, a brief bio with the musicians' full names, and any press blurbs or interesting facts. Help us get to know each other.
  • Brief cover letter or press release explaining what, exactly, you want from us, and when. Playing a CD release or other big show? Please include all available show details.

Extra credit:

  • Copies of articles about you from other publications.
  • A list of noteworthy shows you've played in the past.

What not to include:

  • Pocket folders. These are a pain, cost you lots of money, and we throw them away immediately.
  • Gifts or offers of gifts of any value. No matter how well-intentioned, these are often unethical for us to take, and it makes us feel icky. Your CD, buttons and stickers are totally OK; anything not directly related is probably inappropriate.
  • Tickets to your concert, unless you've cleared this with us already. We'd hate for you to lose money by sending us presale tickets we're probably unable to use.

OK, I have my press kit ready, and know what I'm asking for. Who should I send music to?
Send press kits to:

Andy Mulkerin
Music Editor - Pittsburgh City Paper
650 Smithfield St., Suite 2200
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Use these links for e-mails:

Previews and Feature Articles
CD Reviews
Local Music News Items
FFW>> MP3 Monday

When should I expect a response to my press kit?
We do our best to go through everything once a week, but we are human. If you haven't heard from us in two or three weeks, feel free to follow up with an e-mail. If you wait several months before following up, you might want to start over.

How do I submit concert listings?
For music listings, the best way to submit information is through our online form, which walks you through everything you need to supply in order to get a listing in print and online. Bear in mind that this form sends us an e-mail so that we can fact-check and get the event into our database; the listing won't go online immediately. You must include a contact phone number with your listing; because of formatting issues, we can't run URL's as contact information.

If you need more information or if you're submitting a bunch of dates at once, it's acceptable to e-mail the listings department. If you can't get on the Internet, fax your listings to 412-316-3388, preferable with "ATTN: BIG LIST" or something similar near the top. If you're not sufficiently specific in addressing your correspondence, the Steel City Media Fax Monster may indeed eat it for lunch. If you're not using the Web form, look in the paper at the music listings and see what information we give — be sure to provide us at least that much information. And give us a phone number at which to reach you if we have questions.

Listings must be submitted by 9 a.m. on the Friday prior to the issue the event will be included in; if your concert is on a Saturday, that means just over a week before the date of the show. If it's on a Wednesday, it means nearly two weeks. Submitting listings 2-3 weeks prior to the show is the best way to assure your listing will get prompt attention and won't miss our deadline.

But I don't want an article or anything -- can't you just listen to my music and give me some feedback?
We'd love to, but there simply isn't time. Friends, other musicians, audience members and so forth are excellent sources for feedback.

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