Your Fantastic New CD “Content is King”
Several years ago, I produced a radio special starring Gustavo Dudamel that was hosted by David Hyde Pierce (“Niles” on TV’s Frasier).
Maestro Dudamel’s Mahler 9 recording with the Los Angeles Philharmonic was about to be released, and so this radio program was intended to create awareness of this recording – note I did not say “pitch.”
I was given some stern, external advice urging me to not only mention the new Mahler disc, but his other recent LAPO recordings as well.
Including the Mahler disc, we’re talking about 7 - 8 recordings that they wanted the Host and Guest to cover in this 60-minute program.
I pushed back.
“If we talk about that many recordings, we also have to play something from those recordings. And, playing only 30 seconds of excerpts will not serve the recordings, the conductor, the orchestra or our listeners. We would need to play at least 2 -3 minutes of music for each. It’s an hour-long show, and that would mean Mr. Dudamel won’t really have a chance to tell his remarkable story.”
Really long silence…
My point was this: once the audience got to know him, his story, his charm, his ability to talk about music and music making, CD purchases would follow.
Maestro Dudamel had just flown in to New York from Paris on a delayed flight and was whisked directly to the studio 15 minutes before the program began.
David Hyde Pierce’s Opening Line: “So Gustavo, I know you just flew in from Paris this morning; I guess you’re pretty jet lagged, right?”
Gustavo Dudamel: “Um…ahh...I…I don’t know.”
Maybe you had to be there, but it was funny, charming and delightfully authentic in the moment.
The program got off to a good start and continued in both an informative and entertaining way. I think it resonated personally and musically with the audience.
There are some artists I’ve interviewed who always found a way to insert the news of their new recording into almost every answer. It didn’t make them look good or come off in a likable way. “And so, when I decided to make this new recording….” Or something similar got mentioned throughout.
After this “shameless plug” happened a few more times with other artists, I started saying like this before the Mics were turned on. “I’ll mention your new recording throughout the interview and especially at the end. That way, you can tell your story about the music you chose, why you chose it and how you like to play it.”
What you’re doing, and who you are, are a better way to connect with your audience than doing what often is referred to as “shameful self-promotion.”
Why did you make this recording? Why did you choose this repertoire, and what does it mean to you? What did you want to accomplish? What do you hope listeners will hear — what should they listen for?
There’s little need for hype when (your) content is king and you are prepared to tell that story.