Mike Cubillos of Earshot Media – Tour Press Equals Success – Q&A INTERVIEW

Mike Cubillos, who is the owner and publicist of Earshot Media, took some time to do an interview with us about his company and what they do. The interview can be read after the break.

Mike Cubillos, who is the owner and publicist of Earshot Media, took some time to do an interview with us about his company and what they do. The interview can be read after the break.

If you listen to bands like All Time Low, Reel Big Fish, Never Shout Never, and Taking Back Sunday, chances are that you have read interviews, concert reviews, etc, that were scheduled by Mike Cubillos of Earshot Media. In fact, a lot of the videos on our website were schedule through him. He is an publicist, which means most of you probably have never heard of him, except you may have seen his email on various band’s Facebook pages, lol. The reality of his job is that it is becoming more and more important as artists turn to touring as a main source of revenue. He handles press campaigns, which includes tour press. He makes sure that his bands receive press in every city they are playing in to help them draw more people to their shows! We were lucky enough to fit into his extremely busy schedule and do this interview with him…enjoy


Digital Tour Bus: Please state your name, company, and position?
Earshot Media: Mike Cubillos, Earshot Media, owner/publicist.

DTB: Can you give me a little background on your career in the music industry, specifically in PR?
EM: I started out as an intern at a record company that was part of BMG at the time. I was then hired on as an assistant in the publicity department and eventually moved my way up to handle my own accounts. From there I bounced around at a few other labels (both indie and major) and eventually went out on my own in 1998.

DTB: What are some of the bigger acts you have done PR for?
EM: We’ve been lucky enough to either spearhead or assist in some way on projects like  All-American Rejects, All Time Low, Avenged Sevenfold, Never Shout Never, Taking Back Sunday,  All Time Low, Boys Like Girls, Plain White T’s and many more…

DTB: What have been some of your favorite acts you have worked with?
EM: Too many to name, but Reel Big Fish holds a special place in my heart since they’ve been with Earshot the longest. Some other favorites: All Time Low, The Wonder Years, Transit, Man Overboard, Pennywise, Shonen Knife, Set Your Goals, all of the Rise bands…Really each project is cool in its own way!

DTB: Have you been hired to do PR for an artist only when they are on tour?
EM: Sometimes. Typically we’re usually hired on to oversee an entire project which would include tour press but yes sometimes we’re hired on specifically to handle a tour.

DTB: If so, can you explain how it is different than handling all the press for an artist?
EM: Basically, for tour press we are targeting all tour markets that the band is playing in which includes all the daily papers, weeklies, college papers, regional TV outlets, local blogs, that sort of thing. The goal is to line up as much press in advance of the show. We also try to get media outlets to come out and cover the show whether that is a live review, an interview at the show, live photos, etc.

DTB: Can you state any examples or favorite tour press campaigns you have done?
EM: The Rockstar Energy Drink Taste of Chaos which we did for several years was a blast. We handled national press for this too but in terms of tour press campaigns, this was probably the biggest we’d done prior to that and it was a huge undertaken. I think we rose to the challenge and that was a cool experience.

DTB: With more and more bands hitting the road these days, how important is tour press?
EM: It’s very important because it helps a band expand their fan base on the regional level. Coverage in a major weekly or daily can help generate interest and sell tickets.

DTB: Have you noticed a difference in the amount of press offered to a band (or the amount of press they are getting) when they are on tour compared to when they are not on tour?
EM: A tour is a huge part of any press campaign. If a band is not touring there is less of a “story” and it’s less likely that regional publications will cover them, aside from maybe a CD review. If said artist is coming to play in their own backyard, they are more likely to want to do a larger profile or interview.

DTB: Do you think a significant part of a band’s buzz comes from the press they get while on tour?
EM: The internet plays a huge role too of course, but I’ve seen plenty of bands who had all the “buzz” in the world with very impressive #’s of  “friends”/”likes” on sites like Facebook/Myspace, who couldn’t draw an audience to save their lives. I think it still takes getting out on the road and playing in front of “real” fans to generate any sort of substantial diehard fan-base.

DTB: What types of press can only be done while a band is on tour?
EM: In studio performances for regional TV shows, pre show meet and greets with writers/bloggers, show previews, live reviews. That sort of thing.

DTB: Do press outlets seem to prefer to do in person interviews with artists over phone/email interviews?
EM: I think when it comes to tour press the idea is to have an interview run in advance of the show to help raise awareness that a band is coming to town, so for that reason phone or email interviews are usually preferred. I find that blogs and smaller zines often prefer to do interviews in person so they can meet the artist.


DTB: Do you think tour press will continue to become more important to an artist’s career?
EM: Absolutely. Yes, its now so much easier to promote bands now what with the Internet and things like Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, Purevolume, etc. But the flipside of that is that there is a glut of music out there, so bands need to find ways to stand out from the rest of the crowd and tour press is just one way to help with that.

DTB: What are some ways you think artists can take full advantage of press while they are on tour?
EM: One thing would be to give the media plenty of advance notice that your artist is coming to town. Many outlets work weeks in advance and have crazy deadlines so it usually does them no good to know about a show a day or two in advance.

DTB: With the growing importance of social networking, do you think tour press is more/equal/less important than social networking?
EM: I think they’re equally important, but  lets face it, anyone can toot their own horn via their social networking sites. However, there’s a sort of legitimacy there when a trusted news source or respected publication or blog gives their seal of approval.

DTB: Do you have any examples of successful tour press that have worked especially well for your artists in the past?
EM: The band’s that generate the most tour press are obviously the bigger names, but I find that smaller bands can get a ton of press  if we have an interesting hook or angle to work with. It’s our job to work with the band, management and the label to figure out what that hook is.

DTB: Why is an artist having a publicist an important/necessary expense for touring acts? Would it be physically possible for an artist to get the same amount of tour press without a publicist as you would give them?
EM: I think new developing artists can definitely do a lot of the work themselves especially on the local level, but once a band gets to certain level and starts doing a lot of touring, they are not going to have the time and energy to devote to doing their own press. They also probably don’t have the contacts and relationships that a publicist has. You can hit up media outlets all day long, but unless you know specifically who to contact at these outlets, you’re going to get nowhere.

DTB: Do you have any last thoughts?
EM: Thanks for the questions!!