It’s an unfortunate reality in the music business… professional musicians can hire the best publicist in the world and still not attract much attention. With over 60,000 songs uploaded to Spotify daily, the odds often appear stacked against aspiring musicians. It can be discouraging for an artist who pours their heart and soul into their craft.
Here’s a chance to remedy that, or at least a way to get to ball rolling a little faster …
A one-of-a-kind workshop is coming to Passim in Cambridge, MA on Saturday, July 9 at 1 PM. “Pitch Like A Pro: Grab the Attention of Music Journalists” is a presentation from Victoria Wasylak, a Boston-based music writer and podcaster.
“What I have crafted is something that can be helpful for musicians at all stages of their career,” Wasylak shared in an interview. “For folks who have never pitched before, it’s about where to start, how to start … I can understand that it’s kind of a daunting process. It’s also for people who’ve played for years potentially, and maybe aren’t getting as many nibbles as they would like.”
As a music writer, Wasylak is certainly “in the know.” She was named “Music Journalist of the Year” at the Boston Music Awards in 2019 and 2021 for her extensive work with Vanyaland, where she has published over 1300 stories since 2016. She also writes episodes of Disgraceland, the #1 most-downloaded music podcast in the world.
“I’ll be talking about how to stand out in an overflowing inbox,” continued Wasylak. “I get over 100 pitches by email every day so I want to help people understand that reality, and learn how theirs can be the one that sticks in my brain at the end of the day. I’ll help make sure they have everything they need so that a journalist can read an email take an interest in you and then potentially write an article without ever having to talk to you.”
“I like to think I’m bringing a unique perspective, I mean I’m literally the person you’re pitching to, so while I have never worked in PR, I absolutely know what works and doesn’t work for me,” she added.
Wasylak expects attendees at Passim will be mainly “indie” musicians but the session should appeal to all.
“I came up with this idea in 2020, obviously I was not able to move forward with it, I really wanted it to be in person.” After two years, “I was finally able to find a home for it and flesh out the idea completely,” she explained.
“There’s no one size fits all when it comes to pitching, but I’m going to give the most accurate ideas possible, showing people variables to consider when they are pitching. For example, if it’s print, then you need to tell them way more ahead of time than an online publication. What is their demographic, what are they going to be interested in, do they have older readers, do they have younger readers?”
All those ideas will impact how an artist should customize their pitch. “There are lots of variables which is why it’s going to be an hour and a half, there’s a lot to talk about,” she noted.
The workshop will take place at Passim, the legendary music club in Cambridge, MA, which has hosted such artists as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, and Suzanne Vega.
As Boston Music Editor for Vanyaland, Wasylak knows good music. She has witnessed numerous talented artists emerge on the scene. “I cover music from Boston and also national music as well. In a given month I’m doing show reviews, long-form interviews with bands and artists, and covering singles, albums, and music videos. I started with Vanyaland in 2016, I’ve written about 1300 articles for Vanyaland in that time period. It’s been quite the sprint,” she explained.
Wasylak is also on the board of the Boston chapter of Women in Music, an organization that supports women in the music industry.
“We did an event with a panel on women on podcasts, not necessarily music podcasts, but that definitely was the focus. There were a bunch of women who work on Double Elvis shows, some women from prominent podcasts in Boston … a lot of community and networking.”
“There are way more layers to a good pitch than people would expect, they’re going to walk away understanding all the things they can and should consider, what they should mention, what they shouldn’t mention. Your brain is going to be so full and happy.”